Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Logline Critique Session Two: #6


Suddenly unemployed, Veronica jumps at the chance to save money and grab some R & R by house-sitting a home on a peaceful country river, but she soon finds out nature isn't as quiet as it seems when ghosts start to appear in her bedroom, the wrong man sets her hormones on fire, and a body floats in with the tide. Convinced her friend is being framed for the murder, Veronica uses clues from the ghosts and help from the hot guy to search for the real killer, completely unaware he wants to find her first.


  1. This ... is sounding more like a paranormal mystery (if hot guy is the killer) or paranormal romance (if hot guy is great in bed) than "Women's Fiction". It's entirely possible I'm way wrong on this, as I don't read any of those genres often except the Paranormal Romance one, but it might be worth making sure the genre's right. It would suck to pitch a great book like this to agents who only deal in women's fiction and refuse it because it's got ghosts.

    Right, right, this is a logline critique. Um.

    I like it enough as-is to want to read the book, but I think it could be polished a bit.

    Loglines are supposed to be short and to the point. This one's got some unnecessary additives which hint at the writer's style but don't otherwise move the logline itself forward, like the "peaceful" details.

    I love the list of conflicts ranked by growing alarm.

    I think what's missing here is the consequences. Why is Veronica the one hunting down the killer instead of the cops and what's at stake if she fails? (Or if she succeeds, I suppose, based on the final line which may or may not mean that the killer wants to be found)

  2. I liked this, but log lines aren't something I'm very good at, and I wonder if it might be too long. (Mine's just as long.) I mention it because the majority of those in the last batch seemed to be shorter. But it did satisy me as to what it was about and where it was going, and did make me want to read it.

  3. I also likes this, but I agree that it seems too long, almost like this is the first paragraph in a query. I'm going to try and scrunch this one a bit, so forgive me if you're not a fan of the results...

    Recently unemployed Veronica takes a job house-sitting, but when a body floats in with the tide, she teams up with a hot guy and the ghost of (???) to find the killer, unaware that she's next on the madman's hit list.

    Okay, even I think that's garbage. But hopefully you see what I mean. There's a lot of information in yours, and it's all important to the story, but not necessarily in a log line.

    Good luck.

  4. This reads like a paranormal mystery not Women's Fiction to me (focus of logline seems to be on solving the mystery not the romance with the "hot guy" which reads as subplot in this logline. If the focus is really on the romance maybe shifting how log line reads to reflect this.).

    This has a lot of great aspects and sounds like a lighthearted fun story. To help it stand out, it might help to find a different way to label/indicate the "hot guy" other than that (e.g., who is he (cop, bartender, gardener, mailman)? why is he the wrong guy? why is he helping her? Obviously can't include all this in the logline but these are just thoughts to remove the "hot guy" label).

    While you tell us "Convinced her friend is being framed..." to me that's not quite enough to show why the main character feels she has to solve it instead of the police (she could just give the information she has to the police and let them work it out). Plus the friend came out of nowhere (i'm assuming its the friend's home she is watching but its not clear).

    I agree the log line could be trimmed, perhaps at the beginning. "Jumps at the chance" is cliche. Most of the details of the first sentence don't seem to add much (even the river could be dropped).

    I really liked this and hope you get it published so I can read it. Best of luck!

  5. Thank you all for your comments so far. I agree with you 100% on your objections! Yes, it is long (96 words) and I like Walter's abbreviated version enough I'm going to play around with it and see if I can make it work. My problem is I'm trying to get my voice in, to show it's not just another killer stalking a chick flick but has some humor, adventure and romance as well, something that makes it stand out.

    And ghosts, which I know is supposed to put it into the paranormal range, but what about those of us who think ghosts are normal? :)

    As for genre, I did have it originally in mystery, but I was never comfortable with that. There's so much more to the story than just the murder, and looking ahead, sequels might not even have murders (I'm a wimp- I don't even like killing bad guys). I was thinking it was along the lines of Janet Evanovich, but really it's more Jennifer Crusie, only with ghosts (which her new novel has). I admit to being genre-confused.

    Now off to read some others, which were looking really good!

  6. I like Walter's abbreviated version as well. As for voice, I don't personally think this is the place for it. Your voice needs to be in your query and it needs to ooze from your first 250 words. The logline itself should stand out concept alone. (Again, this is just IMO).

  7. What about calling it romantic suspense? It's not really women's fiction, which usually doesn't deal that much with romance.

    When I first read "set her hormones on fire" I thought you meant she was taking hormones or birth control pills; maybe clarify that e.g., Set her aflame with lust. And is the man a ghost? And what does a body floating in with the tide have to do with hormones on fire?

  8. Too long, too many empty or general phrases: "She soon finds out," "nature isn't as quiet as it seems," "hormones on fire." Condense and streamline:

    Unemployed Veronica is housesitting on the river when a body floats in with the tide and she must use clues from the ghosts that appear in her bedroom and help from a hot guy to keep her friend from being framed for the murder.

    This is clumsy - and I'm not sure how you should introduce the "hot guy," but see how you can work it all into one package without extraneous wrapping?

  9. How about this for a new lighter version? Fewer words, less filling and maybe fits better in the fiction genre? You'd think reading the great examples from others on here would help me, but ugh!

    Veronica finds out being unemployed is hard work when the ghost of a nun pops into her life and tells her she’s got work to do, as per an agreement signed in a former life. Now Veronica must find a missing girl, prove the innocence of a friend, and help lost souls gain their way to the next spiritual level, all while fighting her feelings for an engaged man and running from a possible killer.

  10. I'm going along with team Walter.

    I thought is was great as is, but too long for a logline. Loved it, though.

  11. Liked the logline, esp. the sense of humor peeking through. I'd suggest a hint to link the ghosts to this murder(otherwise they just seem out there for the fun of it).
    She can't be unaware he wants to find her (if she's tracking him, it stands to reason that he will want to find her) But I like the 'on the madman's hit list' part.

  12. I like your newest revision! I enjoyed the new details about what's actually going on and what's at stake. A way to cut your old version down would be: "Suddenly unemployed, Veronica jumps at the chance to house-sit, but when ghosts appear in her" and go on from there.

    Good luck with this!

  13. I definitely agree that this is paranormal mystery, not women's fiction. You have to think like a publisher as to what your novel should be classified. Even though ghosts may seem normal to you, they're not to 99% of the population, and that 99% tends to determine how books are marketed.

  14. Sounds like an interesting story, but this reads more like a query pitch paragraph than a log line to me. The revision is better, but I still think it's too long.

    For instance, the first sentence could be tightened to:
    Unemployed Veronica finds out she’s got hard work to do when a nun’s ghost pops up to remind her of the agreement she signed in a former life.

    I tried to figure out a way to tighten the second sentence also, but there are just too many plot points and I don't know which is most important to your story. As is, none of these things seem connected to each other or the nun's agreement.

    And if you have actual ghosts as characters, I think this has to be classified as paranormal.