Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #14

TITLE: The Shoebox
GENRE: Women's fiction

When Hungarian immigrant, Anna Toth, receives a shoebox containing mementos from her bittersweet childhood, she's compelled to revisit the mysterious disappearance of her high school friend in the hope of finding her. While uncovering the truth, she slowly drifts away from the life built with her husband and daughters, so by the time she finally comes to terms with the past, it may be too late to mend the damage in the present.

12 comments:

  1. I love the first part about the friend's death and the immigrant revisiting her past. You kind of lose me in the last half, but that could be my own bias against stories where women drift away from their families (being a mom, myself). I think this would be more powerful if you didn't say "slowly drift away" as though she's just not paying attention. I'd just use stronger language here so we get the idea that she's pulled into the past and possibly back to Hungary and is so caught up in this past mystery and memories that when she surfaces, she realizes there's work to be done in the present, or something like that. Otherwise she doesn't feel sympathetic to me.

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  2. I want to know what compels her. What makes her dive into something so unpleasant and what makes her believe her friend is still alive? After all, she's known this all her life. How does she get the shoebox? Is that part of the mystery?

    Perhaps rephrase the last half - While uncovering the truth . . . .
    It reads like that's an addendum to the story. After she solves the mystery then she has to fix her family relationships, rather than resolving them 'while' the story is happening.

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  3. I agree that you need to explain the "compelled". Does the shoebox tell her the friend disappeared or does it just suddenly occur to her to do this? Also "revisit the mysterious disappearance" is not really a tangible goal unless the entire book is about her journey to that one place. Is she trying to find out what happened to the friend? Who killed her? Be specific.

    The last line is a bit too much about what happens in the novel and is not really focused on what it means if she doesn't reach her goal.

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  4. I think you could tighten "compelled to revisit the mysterious . . .her" to something like "she knows she has to investigate the disappearance of her old friend."

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  5. Keep the first sentence (and maybe work in her age or how many years have passed since high school) - and ditch the second sentence. The first one has all you need and would make me want to read the manuscript - the second trails off into generalities.

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  6. I think the problem in the last sentence is easy to fix. The stakes--losing her family to her obsession with the past--are implicit, but would read better if they were stated overtly. Something like, "But will she lose her family to her obsession with the past?" Only you can do it far more gracefully than that, I'm sure. :)

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  7. This sounds like a lovely story. I think the logline would be stronger if "revisit" was clarified. Is she going back to her childhood home, snooping on the internet . . . maybe she's doing several things, but it would be nice to what this means.

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  8. Hi, this sounds like an interesting story. I'd be interested to know why receiving the shoebox compels her to revisit the disappearance of her high school friend - my question would be, why after so long does a box with mementos trigger her to take action she may not have taken in the past? Also, what suddenly makes her think her high school friend is alive? I'd agree about "slowly drifts away", I think it takes away some of the impact of the last sentence. I do like the second part of the last sentence.

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  9. I like the story idea. What's stopping her from finding her friend? The second sentence needs to be clearer.

    Also, it seemed wordy. Maybe drop some adjectives.

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  10. Not my genre, but brings back all sorts of memories of lost high school friends - which makes me want Anna to find her friend, or at least what happened. Since this is adult, you might need more powerful or compelling words to entice the older audience. Good luck!

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  11. I agree with the comment that the first sentence may be all you need. If you really want to get the family thing in there, then go with Kathleen@so much's suggestion above for the second sentence. The current second sentence is too wordy and vague.

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