Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Logline Critique Session Three #16

TITLE: No Other Tart Will Do
GENRE: Historical Romance

In Regency London, a former courtesan who yearns to be a part of her daughter's life must silence the blackmailer to protect her respectable family and prevent her ex-lover from learning she sold their baby to the bride he abandoned. The notorious rake is back after years of spying for the Government, and armed with guilt and his wife's suicide note, he's hunting for his daughter's birthmother to avenge his wife's death.


  1. Very confusing..seems like a cast of thousands and no idea how they are all linked.

  2. Wow, that was a lot of information. Who is the blackmailer, and what is his relationship to the courtesan?

    Maybe simplifying to two or three characters max would make this less confusing. I do love your title!

  3. You seem to have two stories, his and hers. Which are you telling? Give us that conflict and logline. Either is compelling. Focus.

  4. The title hooked me. Then, the logline (blurb?) confused me.

  5. Who is the main character? Give me a name and focus just on her.

    In fact, I don't think you need the second sentence at all. The first sentence is intriguing enough and offers (check out Holly Bodger's site - Authoress posted a link) the five things needed in a logline: main character (need name - creates familiarity), inciting incident, goal, conflict (a bit iffy, but I could figure it out), and consequences.


  6. There's way, way too much going on here. We have a former courtesan protecting her respectable family (contradictory, or an unclear pronoun) with a daughter and a blackmailer who has something against the courtesan and/or the daughter. An ex-lover, an abandoned bride, a suicidal someone, and a wife. Who is married to whom here? Who killed themselves? Too many characters. I can't discern a plot at all. Pare this down, we don't need both the ex-courtesan's and the rake's goals/conflicts. Focus on one character and their goals, motivation, and conflicts, as well as their inciting incident.

  7. Yeah, TOTALLY confused. Focus on the main character and what she wants to do here. We don't need to know about the details or the backstory.

  8. reading some regencies, i loved the title, it's hilarious.

    if you have one MC, i'd focus on just that MC in your logline. if you have alternating POV betwee the H/H (hero/heroine), then i don't know what advice to give, because i can see the urge to want your log to contain both POV so people know your story does.

    any advice from seasoned loggers about stories with alternating POV?

  9. Is this a dual narrative? shifting povs? I think you should pick one character and focus on that person's conflict. Having said that, I think the rake's sentence is stronger and more interesting than the courtesan's.

  10. This was tough for me because although I don't think this is all that smooth of a log line, I do think I got the gist of your story and I liked it a lot. The log line doesn't do it justice.

    Perhaps focus on just the courtesan for the log line and try to make this clearer.

    Yeah, I know. That's not much help, but I couldn't figure out how to get it all in two sentences either.

  11. Thanks so much for all your input. I've narrowed the logline to this:

    In Regency London, a gently-bred lady with a sordid past watches her daughter from afar and hunts for the blackmailer to protect her family and prevent her ex-lover, who is raising their daughter, from learning she's the masked courtesan he has vowed to destroy.

    Thank you!

  12. I too got the gist of your attractive story.

    Your logline technique reminds me of the multi-protagonist stories common in the late 1800rds. But even so, clarity is necessary up front and you don't need to show your multi approach in a logline except in a later paragraph of the query. Having said that, multis are hard to sell these days. Okay I just probably wasted your time. You're writing a dual POV or such, I guess.

    I'd read on because I love tarts.

  13. Most romances are dual POV, so don't sweat that.

    I liked your second try until "hunt the blackmailer" led back into the confusion. So just keep paring and simplifying. She's hunting a blackmailer to protect the baby she gave up. Check. Now he's a rake, ex-lover, possessor of the baby, revenge-seeking earl? Ton leader?...who doesn't know he's being blackmailed? Might just go with baby's father who blames her for wife's death. Why does she need to be the one to go after the blackmailer?

    This is a tighten, distill, tighten some more exercise to let agents & editors know you know what your story is about and it's about something.

    Good luck!

  14. I love the title, but I'm a little confused on the plot itself. What I'm getting is that a former "tart" has given up her wanton ways for a stable family, but is being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger thanks to her shady past. She bore a child with a former lover? patron? client? and then gave the child away to the lover/patron/client's wife?

    If that's the case, I'm kind of unclear on her motivations for giving the child specifically to a woman who would generally be considered her rival.

    And then her rival kills herself? And for some reason her former lover/patron/client thinks our "tart" is to blame and wants revenge?

    Why would he jump to that conclusion and how is he planning to go about his revenge?

    There's a lot going on here and I'm not entirely sure if I'm getting everything or understand the characters' motivations.

  15. Your new logline is certainly clearer, but I'm still getting a little lost. Who is the blackmailer?

    Maybe something like, "A gentle-bred Lady with a sordid past watches over her daughter from afar while hunting down the blackmailer who threatens to expose her secret identity as a courtesan."

    I don't think you even necessarily need the ex-lover. I'm sure she wants to protect her daughter from this fact too, right?

  16. Amada hit the nail on the head. The second was definitely better but I would go with Amanda's version.

  17. The second was better, but saying 'the blackmailer' implies we have knowledge of him already. It could also be read that she is hunting for the blackmailer in order to get him to protect her family. I think Amanda's version, or something similar, is enough for a logline, and you can expand on the details in a query or synopsis.