Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #22

TITLE: Shorty
GENRE: Middle Grade

When seventh-grader Tom Sullivan's growth plan (think green drinks and medieval torture racks) is plastered all over the school by class tough guy Pete Willowby, Tom snaps and embarks on a scheme to take the bully down. The consequences of Tom's transformation from nice to nasty force him to choose who he really wants to be by executing his "Do or Die" plan--or what he suspects might really be "Do and Die".


  1. The first part hooked me, but then kind of fell flat at the end. I'd rewrite your last sentence and be very clear and straightforward. It sounds like a coming of age story where the picked on kid decides to take down the bully but then realizes he's becoming the bully himself and has to decide who he wants to be. If I'm right, then I'd just say that very clearly. :)

  2. I agree with Robin. By the end, I don't really know what's going on here. I want to like the MC, and for a middle grade, that's especially important. You need to clearly show us what's going to happen, and reassure us that we'll like the MC in the end (a must in this age-range).

  3. The first line is excellent! The second line feels a bit long, and I wonder if you could remove "The consequences of" so that it doesn't feel like a moral.

    I'm definitely intrigued.

  4. I agree with the others. The first line is really strong but it peters out with the second. I think you're trying to put too much into the second sentence. Focus either on the plan who his transformation.

  5. Great voice here! I want to read this, on your first sentence alone. I agree with the others to hone that last sentence; it's too vague. Good luck, sounds like a great read!

  6. I agree with everyone else. The first sentence is great, the second flounders.

    Perhaps change 'The consequences of Tom's' to 'But his.'

    And instead of saying his "Do or die plan', say what that plan is.

  7. green drinks are healthy when they're made of grasses or salad greens, so you might want to change that if you're talking about the color of the drinks...

    Sounds like Tom isn't exactly a nice guy himself, so I'm having trouble seeing how he's somebody to cheer for; or maybe I misunderstand the first sentence; if so, maybe clarify?

    And who is short? if Tom, Maybe, Tom "Shorty" Sullivan's growth plan? Oh, now I get it..he's short and is thinking of stretching himself on the rack. Another reason to put "Shorty" in the blogline, no?

    Cute idea, though...

  8. I agree with the other comments that the first line was really strong, but the second didn't work as well. For me, I think the problem with the second line is that it was kind of vague--I don't get much from "Do or Die" plan.

  9. I think you are giving too much detail about what the bully does. We don't really need to know the colour of the drinks. What we do need is a more solid goal. What does "take the bully down" mean? Embarass him? Beat him up?

    The ending totally confused me. Is he going to kill the bully? Is anyone going to try to stop him?

  10. I liked the green drinks and racks. They gave me a feel for the main character's voice and told me this is a fun story, not serious.

    I thought the words consequences and transformation sounded out of voice compared to the rest of the logline. Perhaps, simplifying the last sentence down to something short and snappy that your main character would say would make the logline stronger.

  11. So close! I love the title and premise, but have to agree it starts out strong and kind of falters at the end.But I still think it's darling!

  12. Being a person of small stature, I can relate to this one! And I think you've got a great plot with Tom going through a complete transformation, but this log line is too wordy. It kept me from being sympathetic towards your MC. You've got everything you need here and more. Tighten up Tom's voice and personality,chop down some of the fluff (i.e. In order to take the bully down, Tom's transformation from nice to nasty could make the phrase, "Do or Die" a reality.)
    and you've got it. Good luck!

  13. I hope it isn't too late to weigh in! I haven't read the other comments, so hopefully this will be a fresh take.
    I like the idea of the story, that a nice kid resorts to nasty tactics to get even, and then questions what he has become. Great coming-of-age stuff. However, I think the problem is you've got too much detail about elements that don't really matter. The growth plan, for example. Do we need to know what's involved? Although that's cute and hints that there is humor in the story, I think it detracts from the real hook, which is Tom's response to the bully and then his own questioning. You can infuse humor into the blurb by bringing in the voice of the story or character, which will give the reader more flavor of what the story will be like.
    One small note, you don't need to state the name of the bully in the blurb. "Class tough guy" is sufficient.

    Hope this helps!