Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Logline Critique Round Three #13

TITLE: The Haunted Serpent
GENRE: MG Mystery

12-year-old misfit Spaulding Meriwether sets out to win the approval of his paranormal investigator parents by proving there’s a supernatural explanation for strange events around his hometown. But when he uncovers a conspiracy involving a ruthless entrepreneur who would kill to protect his occult business secrets, Spaulding knows it’s time to stop playing kid detective -- except the game’s already afoot, whether he wants to play or not.


  1. I actually love this. You've got character, obstacle, and stakes. Perhaps the stakes could be made a bit more clear, but I love the punchiness of the last line, and it definitely makes me want to read the book. Kudos.

  2. I like the premise here and I think you have all the important parts but the long sentences read somewhat clunky to me. Can you break them up a little.

    Also for the purposes of a logline I'm not sure you need the part about winning the approval of his parents. Cutting that might tighten things a bit.

  3. The "game" that's afoot is not a contest but an animal. It's a hunting metaphor that predates Conan Doyle and his sly visual pun of the deerstalker hat.

    That said, it's an interesting premise, but I'd like to know just a bit more about the world - in particular, is the paranormal not accepted by most adults, and is the antagonist doing something interesting like pretending to use the paranormal while actually defrauding people through trickery, say?

  4. The first sentence has the required elements but they are not presented in the correct order. The character must have a NEED before the incident incites the goal that will fulfil it. You cannot incite a NEED. It must be set deep in the character's skin before the story starts.

    As for the rest, it sounds like you are saying that he wants to give up on his goal, but doesn't have that option. The problem with this is that we cannot engage with a character's goal unless he REALLY REALLY REALLY wants it until at least the climax of the story. It can (and should) get harder to achieve and he can temporarily think he is not going to make it, but he can't give up on meeting the goal or the need will go unsatisfied.

    Good luck!

  5. I love the premise of this, but I agree with the other comments about the last sentence. Saying that he can't give up is much less powerful than saying he won't, and makes me feel like he's being tugged along by the events in the story, rather than taking control of them.

  6. This sounds like fun! I think the game's already afoot is a bit too cliche and didn't add new information. But I love that he wants to show his parents he can do what they do.