Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Logline Critique Round Two #31

GENRE: MG Historical

Twelve-year-old Bella of Tuscany’s attempt to recover her dead Papa’s Book reveals her identity to his oldest enemy. To keep out of his orphanage, she must return a stolen relic to Constantinople before Mamma is falsely condemned.


  1. Great locations. It might be helpful to include a hint of era. There seem to be two mentions of stakes (keeping out of orphanage, Mom being condemned)...perhaps choose the more pressing one. I think the first sentence reads a bit awkward. Could you try starting with 'When'? (e.g., When (inciting incident), twelve-year-old Bella of Tuscany has to *** or else ***)

  2. I would keep everything relevant to the plot. I wonder if her being from Tuscany is relevant for a logline. You don't have much space to entice a reader/agent so everything is valuable.

    So the villain runs an orphanage? I'm having trouble making a connection between the enemy, the book, and her mother. A bit more clarity would help.

    Also, "Papa's Book," doesn't need to be capitalized.

  3. Agreed, you could make this a little more linear by leading off with When. Something like: "When...tries to recover...his oldest enemy becomes aware of her existence."

    Seeing Papa and Book in caps side by side made me wonder what a Papa's Book is. If you're simply referring to her dead father, "papa" doesn't need to be capitalized.

    I'd agree with Cristin, choose the more important of the two stakes and go with one. You probably have space to give us a shade more detail about the nature of the relic.

  4. Why does she want to recover her papa's book? What's at stake if she doesn't recover it? And how does the stolen relic and Mamma relate to the book? It sounds like this isn't really the story goal at all. If recovering the book is merely the inciting incident, then dispense with it and give us her real goal--returning the stolen relic to save Mamma, if that is the goal, and tell us what stands in her way.

  5. John CC raises an interesting point. Does the inciting incident belong in the log line or not? The official non-formula says:

    "When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn't [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES]."

    Are there certain kinds of inciting incidents that belong in the log line and others that don't?

  6. I have to say that I got stuck on the orphanage part. If her Papa and Mamma are still alive, why would she end up in an orphanage, let alone her parents' orphanage? And even if she doesn't, why is that bad?

  7. Sounds really interesting and unique. I'd rework the first sentence, though, to make things clearer. I also agree with the comments about including what's at stake? Otherwise, excellent work!

  8. The first sentence needs to incite the goal, but it has not done so. You have implied that the oldest enemy wants to put her in an orphanage but you need to flat out state this and that she doesn't want to go (this is her goal, I assume). After that, you need to connect these obstacles to the goal. Why will returning a relic keep her out of an orphanage (and how will she end up in an orphanage if she has a mother?)

    Good luck!

  9. There's plenty of intrigue apparent in this premise. After careful reading, I think it's the stolen relic that's throwing me off.

    Here's what I get: Papa died. (backstory) Bella exposes her identity to an enemy when she tries to recover her dead father's book. (inciting incident)

    Returning a stolen relic to Constantinople (this must be the main story action, but what does it have to do with the inciting incident?)

    Consequence of failure: Mamma is executed; Bella is sent to the enemy's orphanage.

    Okay, maybe it's the inciting incident that gets me off track. Maybe the focus should be on Bella's effort to return the stolen relic.

    Good luck with this story--it sounds like a wonderful and dangerous quest.

  10. The first line is terrific! But I think you're trying to cram too much into the second one. Perhaps

    "To escape him, she must return the relic to C or her Mamma will be accused of the theft."