Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #15

TITLE: Mystery Meat
GENRE: Mystery

After botulism kills five of his company's customers, disgraced ex-FBI Agent Gil Becker pokes around a small California town to find a killer, and maybe save his job driving a promotional vehicle shaped like a canned ham on wheels.

16 comments:

  1. I thought the botulism was related to him becoming disgraced. I actually had to read it three times before I caught that the botulism is why his current job is in danger and how it's related to the truck he's driving and the killer.

    His stakes of "or else he loses his job driving a canned ham" don't seem very dramatic. What are the conflicts in here? How does he look for the killer? Why is HE looking for the killer instead of the police?

    "But after THIS, THIS, and THE OTHER THING, he realizes there's more at stake than losing his job driving a canned ham ... he might also lose his life!" (or something)

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  2. Sounds like it has humorous side.

    This tells me some back story, introduces me to the protag, and tells me the stakes but I'm not sure if it is enough conflict to hook the reader.

    I would cut the word 'company'.
    Is driving the, er, canned ham his job? Or does he own the company?

    I think I need additional info before wanting to read more.

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  3. It sounds like it could be hilarious. If that's the case, then lead with the canned ham truck and put the ex-FBI part near the end. I think the stakes here work if it's a funny novel, but then I'd make the tone clear in the logline. :)

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  4. "canned ham on wheels" gives me a great sense of the humor of in your manuscript (also love the title). But I agree with some of the other comments that I'd like to have more sense of the consequences of Gil failing to find the killer.

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  5. The lead in makes me think he owns the company, but other than that, it does say what the story's about.

    But it doesn't make me want to read more. The stakes are - he might lose his lousy job. It's just not compelling, even if it is humor. I think it's because he's an ex FBI agent. You'd think he'd want more in a job.

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  6. cute title, see this appears to be a humorous mystery. is it hardboiled ham too?

    i'd say just that he has to drive around a meat truck pretty much sums up the disgraced part, but i'm assuming he's not ex fbi because he retired willingly.

    there is one thing i have an issue with, however. canned ham is something manufactured and sold to the masses. botulism would be a greater outbreak than just 5 people or 5 deaths. only 5 deaths would make it questionable that the source came with tampering at the store level and not the company level. so i suppose this could explain why Gil was itching to investigate. yet it could say something about the popularity of canned ham. : ) though i hear it's popular in the state of HI.

    i'd read more because I really like the tounge in cheek quality of this entry.

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  7. What Mystery Robin said. Lead with the canned ham, and work in the ex-FBI another way. It does read like he's the owner of the company, so leading with his unique job will dispel that. I would totally read this!

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  8. Is the killer he is trying to find also the person who caused the botulism? This isn't clear. Also, I agree that the "disgraced" part sounds like it is an effect of the botulism (which doens't make sense because why would a FBI agent have a canned ham company?) I'm also confused about whether or not it is his company. It sounds like it is until you say his job is driving a ham car.

    I'd suggest you clarify who he is and what happens right from the start. Then tell us what he needs to do (find killer) and what/who is going to stop him.

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  9. I really hope this is a comedy. Your structure is off here, because "his company" is followed by "ex-FBI," which implies that he killed off five FBI "customers."

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  10. Death by botulism makes me think someone at the company wasn't doing his/her job properly, not that the deaths were murder. Still, I like the humor here. I wonder if there's a way to tighten up the last part; perhaps something along the lines of "driving a canned ham car" might work.

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  11. Sounds like a great story. I did assume since you say "his company" that the main character was the company's owner not an employee. Other than that I like it.

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  12. So this is what Mystery Meat is about- still hooked! I'd like a bit more clarification, but my only real problem is that I didn't write this story first!

    I also think there are many things in canned ham/spam that will kill you beside botulism. You ever read the ingredients? The MSG alone will do a strong person in. But I can't wait for this one!

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  13. This was funny and well done. I wouldn't read it because I'm not into humor, but I still thought it was well executed.

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  14. Sounds like a funny story, but I agree with the others that the way you've structured the logline is confusing. And when you say he's disgraced, I assume some of the stakes have to do with why he left the FBI and possibly overcoming that, but it isn't clear here. If that isn't important, then maybe just say ex- or former FBI agent, and leave disgraced out of the logline.

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  15. This has been nitpicked to death. Overall - I like this. Sounds cute and daring at the same time. A little bit of jumbled-word-fixes and you're good to go.

    Great job.

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