Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Logline Critique Round Two #10

GENRE: Historical Fiction

DONOVAN is about an empathic Irish immigrant who kills a bank robber, then falls in love with his sister. But the girl had been beaten and raped by her brother, and he finds himself fighting to save her sanity.


  1. Please do not tell us what your story is about. You need to focus on what the character wants and why he will have trouble achieving it. I'm not sure what it is here. It sounds like it's saving the girl he loves, but I'm not sure what he is saving her from. Sanity is not a tangible thing (a sanatorium is).

    Good luck!

  2. While this is an interesting concept, your logline reads more like a plot outline than anything.

    Try introducing your character to us (your description is already quite good), deciding what is at stake for your character, and then presenting us with a problem.

    1. Somebody
    2. Wanted
    3. So
    4. But
    5. Now

    Also, the logline ought to be written in present tense. Just so ya know (:

    Best wishes,

  3. A good start. My questions:
    - empathetic? Or in love? Also, I understand that the immigrant falls in love with the robber's sister - but it could be read that he falls in love with his own sister.

    - why does he kill the bank robber? is he caught in the cross fire?

    - what is the immigrant's struggle with himself?

    - instead of saving her sanity - I think you can just say save her.

  4. "Empathic" almost lead down the SF path - that the guy is an empath. I'm not sure what his relationship to the sister is - it sounds just sympathetic but it also sounds like he's going to a lot of trouble for someone he just feels sympathetic about. If he's fallen in love, just say love.

    I was also confused by the sister reference.

    And sanity can mean a lot of things - PTSD? Does he want to save her so she has a chance at a normal life or because he wants her spend that life with him? I'm not sure what the goal is. veige's a


  5. I think this needs some work. First of all take out "about" and jump in with "Donovan is an empathic" or "When donovan kills..."

    It's ambiguous who Donovan falls in love with as written. I thought he fell in love with his own sister at first. How about something like this:

    "When Donovan kills a bank robber, the last thing he expects is to fall in love with the robber's sister, and the lengths he'll go to save her from the insanity of her abusive past."

    I would change "empathic" with something more descriptive, such as Donovan's job title

    Good luck!

  6. I, too, stumbled on empathic. And you are wasting words saying "Donavan is about." Just tell us "An Irish immigrant..."
    I never like the phrase "finds himself." Be more definite.

  7. I read this as the immigrant falls in love with his own sister. It didn't even occur to me that the sister was the bank robber's until someone else mentioned it!

    Since this is historical, I suggest adding in a year or a definable era (Irish immigrant to where? When?).

  8. Thanks for your input, everyone. Here's a re-write:

    When Adam Donovan, an empathic Irish immigrant, kills a bank robber in the Arizona Territory, he never imagines he’ll fall in love with the outlaw’s sister. Nor does he realize how difficult it will be to erase the scars of her brother's abuse and convince her to accept his love.

    (Note: empathy or "Second Sight" is a well-documented belief in Gaelic cultures.)

  9. Your second version has some great details--you say Arizona Territory and I'm already on board with a visual.

    The Second Sight thing--is it a slight hint of "knowing" like ESP or a full-on ability? Just curious how much that weighs into the story.

    I think that last line still needs more of a hook; realizing something is difficult isn't quite enough. What's his call to action? He must do what in order to convince her to accept his love, and what is the threat? (murder by the outlaw?) I think you want a little more concrete plot details in there, the big story arc of what he ultimately needs to choose.

    I think you're on your way!

  10. His empathy is critical to the story -- in fact it's one of the central foci. Trying again, how does this one sound?

    When empathetic Irish immigrant Adam Donovan kills a bank robber in the Arizona Territory, he never imagines he’ll fall in love with the robber’s sister. But before they can build a future together, Adam must ferret out the secrets she is hiding and heal the scars of her tragic past.

    Thanks again for your input!