Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Logline Critique Round Three #28

TITLE: Only a Harbor
GENRE: Adult Fiction

To avoid dealing with upheaval in their own lives, three college grads sign up for a year of volunteer service. But when living and working together in inner city Baltimore exposes their wounds and failures, they find they can’t hope to save the world unless they save each other first.


  1. I like the premise a lot. Lot's of post-college kids do this type of thing and there isn't much written about it - so a great subject. What needs word:
    - wounds and failures is very vague. I can't imagine what was exposed. Can you be more specific? Give me something to picture.
    - saving the world is a bit of a cliche. I get your drift but, again, can you be more specific. They need to save each other from what? And what are they doing on volunteer work?
    A great start! Keep at it and good luck.

  2. I like the premise here, but with no specifics I'm not feeling hooked. Try naming the characters for a start, and then hone in on what the issues are. Good luck!

  3. I really like the premise as well, and to go with the previous comment, the first thing that struck me as a bit vague was "upheaval in their own lives." I'm ok with the last line, even if it does sound a little vague. I get the feeling this is literary fiction, revolving around psychological issues and unresolved past wounds then on action. What maybe the pitch doesn't quite answer is "What's at stake?" I think, as was said, "saving the world" is a cliche phrase that may be too "compass all" and it might be better if you told your potential readers what is really at risk. Good luck! It sounds good.

  4. If the students' motivation for volunteering is important to the story, I'd be more specific in describing it up front here. Then, it'd be clearer what they're saving each other from.

  5. I like strangers being pulled into a crisis. Each one exposing their strengths and weaknesses!

    Good Luck!

  6. This one is suffering from a lot of vague and cliché expressions. You need to be specific about what incites them to sign up for the service (upheaval is too vague) otherwise we don’t have a clear need or goal. You also need to tell us how having their wounds exposed stops them from meeting whatever this goal may be. Finally, you end by saying that they need to save the world. I’m assuming this is another cliché expression unless there is something going on in Baltimore that is threatening the whole world. Try to focus on what exactly these students need to do here and use the internal struggle as an obstacle to the plot.

    Good luck!

  7. This is rather general. I think the premise is amazing - I'm a sucker for stories about groups of people and how they interact. But we need more details about the nature of the volunteer work. Right now, I feel that the pitch, with a few words taken out, can be applied to so many novels. How does this pitch reflect ONLY your novel? What's the conflict? What's the goal?

  8. I like the overall gist...and I am interested. I am curious about what their "upheaval" is...something they have in common I hope...from a common past crisis? Lots of diverse individual incidents can get WAY complicated, and I do catch a whiff of very involved interpersonal dramas, which makes me a little wary of a can of worms. Is this true? If not, try to simplify--get narrower and more specific as to the CENTRAL conflict that your characters collectively encounter. Otherwise I'm going to put tail between legs and bolt. GLUCK!

  9. Nice title and interesting premise -- reminds me of The Wire a little. What exactly are the "wounds and failures" that these college grads are hiding? Are they physical wounds or emotional ones?

    And how do they go from volunteering in Baltimore to saving the world? Why does the world need saving?