(Feel free to heap accolades, thanks, sycophantic remarks, and promises of your firstborn children for Holly in the comment box!)
1) The most common problem I saw this round was the use of vague or cliché expressions in the place of real details. I think some writers do this because they think it creates intrigue. It doesn’t. When you say something like, “Linda needs to come to terms with her past,” this tells me nothing. Did she cheat on her first boyfriend? Was she abused by her father? Was she a mermaid who sold her voice for the chance of love with a guy with unusually perfect hair? YOU MUST BE SPECIFIC! All stories are pretty much the same without the specifics. The specifics are what makes it SPECIAL!!!
2) A few of you started off with the need (YAY!) For those of you who didn’t, please remember that readers engage with the character’s need, not their goal. That’s why I tell you to put it first. For example, start your logline with, “All Harry wants is to belong,” and I am in for 7 books, 8 movies, and a theme park. Start it with, “All Harry wants is to find the sword with the magic powers,” and I’m mildly interested, but I’m not paying $39 for a fake wand.
3) For those of you who completely ignored the rules of a logline, I’m going to guess that you’re also ignoring this post. If you aren’t, please please please remember that this is not the time and place to try to break the rules. If you can pull it off, please go ahead and break rules and conventions and stereotypes with your story. But don’t do it in your logline. You’re trying to show agents that you are a great writer who will be a pleasure to work with for years to come. Screaming, I DON’T FOLLOW RULES is not really the best way to accomplish this. Yes, you may be the one person who manages to pull it off, but you are a lot more likely to be one of the 99 who doesn’t.
Feel free to email me if you have further questions.