Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 1 #10

TITLE: Day 10K
GENRE: Science Fiction

Ensign Nakajima knows the colony on the planet below may see their civilization collapse within hours. Their computers have only been using four digits to calculate the days, and when Day 10,000 rolls around, they may see it as the nonsensical Day 0000 and all go down at once.

Nakajima insists his ship should do more to help, and he gets booted down to the planet for his trouble. But when his landing craft gets shot down by the colonists, a teenage girl tells him the planetary government will use the crisis as an excuse to give itself tyrannical powers. His allies are few: A hard-luck fellow ensign who is more concerned about not getting caught for his gambling pool on how bad the collapse will be. A hard-bitten senior lieutenant who wonders if her judgment is slipping after all these years. And the teenage girl.


  1. I'm a bit confused. The colony has only been on the planet for 27 years, according to the marking of days. Why did they choose a 4 digit marking system back then? What did they do for marking between 1-1,000 days? And is Nakajima's original thought (that the civilization will collapse at sight of the number) still true once he gets down to the planet or is the end result now to dissuade a more powerful government from taking over?

  2. The premise doesn't make sense to me, but the guy trying to help and his allies sound fun. If you can come up with a better premise (unless you're going for absurdity, like Hitchhiker's Guide), i'd definitely read this.

  3. This needs to be a bit more concise. I like that you are playing off the Y2K idea, but maybe instead of going into detail about *why* the systems will fail, you could just say that "the colony below may have a technological meltdown" or even say "is on the verge of" to make it sound more desperate, to hook the reader.

    And then just sprucing up the bottom paragraph to more briefly explain his allies and their mission will probably help this too. Is the government trying to create the technology crisis in order to rise up? Or is it a different reason entirely?

  4. I think you could simplify why the planet is going to collapse. "When [description of who main character is] realizes that lowly planet [name of planet] is going to collapse, he demands to be allowed to help--and is rewarded by being stranded on the doomed planet. Now saving it has become a lot more personal." OK, so that's terrible, but hopefully you get the point. You can still include his crazy band of helpers, but I recommend trying to boil down the descriptions and maybe try to make them entertaining.

  5. "may see their civilation collapse" is a watered-down consequence. If you want to incite the main character to act, give him something clear and connect it to him. Right now, I see something that may happen to a planet he doesn't even live on. So what? Why does he care and why does he need to save this planet? If he doesn't care initially but ends up there because he shoots his mouth off, make that more clear and then immediately give us the reasons why he starts to care.

    After that, you can list the things that will make it hard for him to fix the computers (goverment wants to stop him) as well as the challenge of only having a few allies.

    Finally, you should wrap up with the big consequences as they apply to the main character. What happens TO HIM if he fails?

    Good luck!

  6. Okay, I'm liking the idea of turning Y2K into a sci-fi/conspiracy story. That said, I think you spend too much time explaining that before getting to the real meat of the story. You might sum it up as "When Nakajima tries to help a colony in the face of an imminent world-wide computer crash..." or something of that sort. The focus should be on his attempt to stop the government - which, as others have said, requires that he have a good reason for wanting to help them in the first place. I also wouldn't mention all of the allies; too many characters clog up a logline. Referring to something like "a few unlikely allies" should be sufficient.

  7. My thought is to cut the first parg and work more on the second. You never tell us what Nakajima intends to do.

    WHat is how goal? To get himself back to his ship? To save the planet? To fix the computers? Tell us what his goal is, what or who stands in his way of achieving that goal, what is his motivation for even trying, and what will happen if he doesn't reach that goal.

  8. Thanks for the comments. Really. Very helpful. I was going to do the more abbreviated description of the crisis, but for some reason I thought everyone would want more detail for the logline. Now I can go with my first impulse