Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #12

TITLE: Darkfall
GENRE: YA Fantasy Dystopia

When a technological plague destroys all electronics and civilization crumbles back to the steam age, seventeen-year-old selective mute Kate Hayden agrees to use her telepathic powers to help stop Darkfall - Hell on Earth. After she leaves the safety of a pacifist colony to assist a team of psychic sleuths tracking an angelic killer claiming to be a god-reborn, Kate learns that her partner, a repentant fallen angel, may have been involved in the death of Kate's family.


  1. Is the technological plague actually the inciting incident here, or is that just worldbuilding?

    It sounds like the plague is what caused Kate to agree to use her powers to stop Darkfall.

    Learning that the partner may have been involved sort of skids the whole logline to a halt instead of propelling the story forward.

    Also, what does Darkfall have to do with the angelic killer? Is the story about Darkfall or the killer?

    I like the idea of the psychic sleuths very much, but I'm not getting a sense of what the story is actually about here. If it's tracking down the killer, what are the stakes and what are the conflicts?

    "If she doesn't find the killer soon, more people will die" or "after CONFLICT, CONFLICT EVEN WORSE, and finding out that her parter may have been involved in the death of her family, Kate needs to GOAL, or else CONSEQUENCES"

  2. What stood out most to me was all the adjectives. Perhaps cut a few and give yourself more room for more important info.

    Perhaps say what Darkfall is. Hell on Earth is vague since we all have our own ideas of hell on earth. Tell us what yours is.

    And as written, it sounds almost like two stories, and I wonder which will be at the forefront - stopping hell on earth or resolving the issue with the angel about her family.

  3. Yikes - author here - I agree this is too long. how about...

    After a technological plague destroys all electronics and civilization crumbles back to the steam age, seventeen- year-old selective mute Kate Hayden is asked to use her paranormal powers to help stop Darkfall - Hell on Earth. She agrees but wants to use her powers to find out who killed her family.

  4. This is quite complicated. You need to narrow this down to the basics: who is this about (17-yr-old Kate the telepathic mute), what is she trying to do (stop angelic killer. Is this her goal or is it to stop Darkfall? I can't tell.) who is going to stop her from doing it (not sure...maybe partner?) and what happens if she fails.

    And, please please please, kill all of the adjectives except maybe the ones used for Kate.

  5. OK - author here again. Many thanks Holly!

    Here's another go using the formula...

    When seventeen-year-old selective mute Kate Hayden joins a team of psychic sleuths looking for an angelic killer, she learns her partner may have been involved in the death of her family. If she doesn't help him stop the killer, the group may fail to prevent Darkfall - Hell on Earth and Kate may never learn the truth about her family.

  6. A lot going on here. Hard to follow. Maybe try to identify her main goal and go from there. What will stop her getting her goal and what are the stakes? I woudl defintiely cut the safety of a pacifist colony, it's not necessary info. I bet the novel is interesting, though.

  7. Okay, Author, this second try is sooo much better. It has everything I need to know before deciding whther I want to read it or not.

  8. I'm still a little confused, even by the second one. "If she doesn't help him,"- is the 'him' her partner? Is he one of the psychic sleuths? And I'm not understanding the connection between the death of her family, the angelic killer, and Darkfall. Were her family members angels?

  9. Sounds like a cool book - but too much here! You could use either of these two sentences but not both.

  10. The revised version is much better, but I still have a couple of comments. I wasn't sure at first if the "angelic killer" was an angel or killed angels (though I think you mean the former. In the second sentence, you need dashes on both sides of "Hell on Earth" to set that phrase off. Finally, I think not stopping Darkfall would be a much more dire consequence overall than not learning the truth about Kate's family, but the way it's worded implies the opposite. (I usually consider the final thing listed the most important.) Consider switching them around. Hope this helps!

  11. I can tell you have a lot going on in your story and that you want to convey that. I would read it simply because I love involved stories. But I would suggest sticking to the main MAIN element (the very basic, leaving out many details) when writing this type of synopsis.

  12. I would stick with the second sentence as you logline. It gets straight to the point. The only issue is you don't have a consequence. So what that he might have been involved in the death of Kate's family? What is the consequence to Kate? Her family is already dead. That's in the past. What do we need to worry about, in the story, when it comes to Kate in the here and now?

    The other thing is genre. Dystopia is fantasy. Just call it YA dystopia. Otherwise it's like say YA fiction novel. See what I mean. Fantasy is redundant. ;)

  13. The second version is better but I'm still confused by some parts.
    -If her partner is involved in killing her family, doesn't that make him the killer? If he's an accomplice, why would she help him?
    -"may never learn the truth about her family" is vague. Do you mean that she may never learned who killed them? But doesn't she know it was her partner and/or the killer from above?

    I think this will be much better once you clarify these things.

    Good luck!

  14. Would have to agree w/ all the above comments...cut the adjectives, visualize in your mind the precise conflict and Kate's goal, then find the words to convey that - short and simple. Also, is Kate's condition of a 'selective mute" literal? Does she choose to be mute sometimes? Like "selective hearing?" If we know that, we'd know more about her personality - just my thoughts.

  15. Author here - thanks so much for the help. There are personal stakes for Kate - she has to overcome selective mutism, a psychiatric disorder in which suggested are unable to speak in some or most social situations , so she can work in the group of investigators and with her partner to find a fallen angel who is a suspect in a series of murders that are linked to an attempt to bring about "Darkfall", in which fallen angels rule over the mortal realm. She suspects early on that her partner may have been involved in the deaths of her parents and younger brother, but the evidence isn't conclusive and she doesn't want to risk a false accusation. She also suspects that their deaths were a part of the effort to bring about Darkfall and agrees to keep working with him in the hopes if finding out what the link is and how he was involved, using the resources she has at her disposal. So she has three goals - overcome her mutism, discover the truth about her family's death, and help prevent Darkfall.

    Which stakes should be included in the logline? I've tried to include all three and show how they interlink.

  16. This is not perfect, but maybe it will give you another idea to work from:

    After the death of her family, seventeen-year-old selective mute Kate Hayden joins a team of psychic sleuths to find the killer--a fallen angel. If she can't overcome her mutism in time to stop him, the killer may bring about Darkfall - Hell on Earth, in which fallen angels rule over the mortal realm.

    I'm not sure if mutism is the most important thing she has to overcome to stop Darkfall, since I don't know your whole story. But whatever that main obstacle/conflict is needs to be mentioned.

    My other suggestion is to use the first sentence from your original and then add: But when she discovers her partner may have been involved in her family's deaths, she... (whatever she needs to do/overcome).