Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #3

TITLE: Gombay Dust
GENRE: Fantasy-Allegorical tale

When a principal Wind-God is given a crucial order, which will save his rapidly deteriorating Community, he struggles with whether to obey at once, or follow his conscience and manipulate the command to help his three young daughters gain immortality. If he chooses the latter, he will have to, among other things, sabotage his only son, and accept deadly consequences.


  1. *trips over all the commas and crashes into the screen*

    Okay, to the contents of the logline rather than the commas - I read "principal" as "guy in charge of a school" and had to backtrack.

    There's a LOT of vagueness in here. What's the order? How can he manipulate it? What is the "Community" and why does it have a capital "C"?

    Why would he choose to sabotage his son to help his daughters (what a dirtbag!) what "other things" and what "deadly consequences"?

    From the sound of it, he's got a decision. If he follows his orders, the only thing that happens is his daughters don't get to be immortal (from a lowly human standpoint? boo hoo).

    If he CHANGES the orders, he's disobeying, he has to hurt his son, other things, and "deadly" consequences.

    I want to feel the torture that he must surely feel for this to be a book. Why is this decision so hard for him?

    Also, the entire book probably isn't about him deciding whether or not to make the decision (head spins). If he does make the decision early on, feel free to reveal it!

    When a Wind-God manipulates an command (from someone?) in order to grand his three daughters immortality, he [CONFLICT].

    If he doesn't [GOAL] (what's the goal here? making the decision?) then he'll need to OTHER THINGS, sabotage, and DEADLY CONSEQUENCES.

    (Egads, I'm CRIMINALLY rambly this morning on these logline crits.)

    *tries to focus*

    The current logline is all about him making a decision. I would like to see him being more active if he's our hero. What does he DO, not just "what does he sit around and think about".

    I do apologize for the scattered-ness. *blush*

  2. Yep, lots of commas. And I would think "following his conscience" would mean "save the Community" not the more selfish "grant immortality to daughters."

    It seems like his choices are - save a community OR help his daughters become immortal while sabotaging (that's vague) his son and perhaps die. I'm not really getting why he would choose the latter? Sure, it would be nice to give your daughters immortality, but at what cost?

  3. I love the concept of a Wind-God and would like to know more about this world and what he's specifically supposed to do to save his community. What are the stakes if his daughters don't achieve immortality? Are they in imminent danger of dying? It's definitely not clear why he would choose to risk death.

  4. This is a bit confusing, and I think maybe that's because we don't get a clear sense of the Wind-God's motivations. Who is giving the order? Is duty important to him? Why does his community need saving, is _that_ something important to him? Why does he feel like sabotaging his son to make his daughters immortal would be the right thing to do - to me, it seems dodgy at best.

    Maybe cut out the part about the order altogether to make it more simply about the choice between taking an action that will save his community (from what threat?) and one which will give his daughters immortality, harm his son and, presumably, doom his community.

  5. This is very vague. Perhaps say what the community is deteriorating from, that way we know what is at stake, and/or say why the god would sacrifice his son for his daughters. Definitely add some motivation.

  6. I think that you are trying to do too much with this. Maybe something-like

    Torn between conscience and duty, the Wind-god must decide whether to save his community or give his three daughters what they most desire--immortality.

    I don't know the exact plot, but I would try to keep it as simple as possible.

  7. I like Mel's suggestion: try to eliminate some of the detail and boil it down to:
    1) who he is [wind-god]
    2) what he is trying to do [save his community whilst making his daughters immortal]
    3) what/who is going to stop him [the command or whoever it is who is giving the orders and is in charge of these deadly consequences]
    4) what is going to happen if he doesn't succeed [his son will die? or he will? or his daughters will?]

  8. Thank you for all your comments. If I am to judge by what you have said, my logline is not simple enough, but then again, it's too vague and and too full of commas, because it is too complicated, so I have rewritten it more on the lines of Mel(the 6th comment)

    Torn between conscience and duty, an aging Wind-God must decide whether to save his community or help his three young daughters who are unaware their lives are in danger.

    Please note, only one comma in use.

    hopefully, this is better.

  9. The revision is great. You still have some room to explore what happens in the story - what is threatening the community?

  10. I won't harp on what other people have said so far, especially since you did a revision. However, I don't think the revision is quite there, yet. For one, it could be boiled down to: "Torn between love and duty, an aging Wind-God must decide whether to save his community or his dying daughters." No need for the extra language, and you need to be clearer. Quite frankly, both of his choices are a matter of conscience, so that's not something he's torn between. It's affection for his daughters. Also, your revision raises a lot of questions. How is a god aging? Isn't he immortal? And why aren't his children immortal? If this is something unique to your story, tell the reader! That's part of the hook. Also, I'd like to know what the threat to the Community is (is the Community his worshipers? or something else? details will help set the tone/scene) and what the threat to his daughters is. Is it the same threat? If so, there is absolutely no need to be vague about it. Being vague can ruin a hook. I'd recommend something like this (and I don't know the plot of your story, so none of this may be right, but it's just meant as an example):

    "When a rival pantheon threatens the gods' domain, the aging Wind-God faces an agonizing decision: obey orders and save his worshipers or follow his heart and save his daughters." Something like that gets in more of the external conflict, while maintaining the presence of the internal one.

  11. The revision is much clearer, but I would drop "who are unaware their lives are in danger" and add back in "gain immortality" because I think that adds a little some excitement. Just my two cents. ;)

  12. thank you everyone for your comments, I know see the light and realize its okay to tell you what the story is, even though I am trying to condense 200 pages down to 2 lines. So hear it goes: my second revision:

    When the possibility of extinction threatens earth, an aging Wind-God faces an agonizing decision: pass on his gift of creativity to his esteemed son, as ordered by the Source, or pass it on to his daughters in the hopes their immaturity will not destroy his vision of females becoming indispensible.

  13. I still think you're missing the mark here, even with the second revision. For one, how does passing on his gift of creativity save Earth from extinction? Two, how does this include the immortality/daughters are in danger thing? Three, tackling something so broad as females being indispensible...I worry that it's too much. And I think you're looking at this too broadly. You're not trying to condense 200 pages down to 2 lines. You're trying to get in the inciting incident (whatever threatens Earth's extinction shows up), the character goal (presumably save Earth/family), the motivation, and the main conflict. ALL of these elements need to be in the first three chapters or so (about 50 pages). So, in short, your logline should condense the first 50-ish pages. Think smaller. You're only trying to tell what the book is about, what the hook is. Think concrete. From the vast changes made in your three different versions, it's easy to see that you're conflicted about what to put in this logline, but narrowing your focus can really help.

    Try: When [inciting incident] threatens to destroy Earth, an aging Wind-God must [goal: presumably includes saving Earth] because [motivation/how he can save Earth], but [conflict/stakes]. External conflict. Seriously, think external...not just what he's deciding to do, but what he must physically do. You have interesting material, you just have to present it in a way that makes it exciting and enticing.

  14. What does this mean, "sabotage his son"?

  15. I liked the revision but I honestly missed the "sabotage his only son" part as that's what really hooked me about the first one. It's just one opinion and everyone else doesn't seem to miss it. I just thought I'd point it out. Good luck!

  16. Well I think it sounds exciting and interesting and would love to know more (which is how I assume a log line is supposed to make you feel?). Bravo 'Gombay Dust' author :)