Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 1 #27

TITLE: The Haunting of Elle Castle
GENRE: MG/paranormal

When eleven-year-old Elle Castle’s Grandmere is suddenly taken ill on the family’s French vineyard, CastleHomes, Elle learns the estate is in danger of being sold. With a little help from a curiously acquired
talent for drawing, Elle knows she’ll lose her wonderful summers in France if she can’t reveal the sinister man and his schemes for taking over the family business.


  1. You say this is paranormal, but there isn't really any mention of what is paranormal about it. I think you need to make those elements clear. (I'm guessing it has something to do with the talent for drawing, but I don't think that's enough.)

    Also, how will this drawing talent help save the family business? I think we need a connection here so we know WHY it's only Elle that can save the day. If you need to shorten this to make room for these additions, I suggest cutting the part about the grandma and just saying Elle learns that the family vineyard is up for sale.

    Good luck!

  2. This is good. I'm a very big fan of "kids save the day" sort of plots and yours sounds very interesting. However...

    Your second sentence is throwing me off. How is a talent "curiously acquired?" I'm intrigued, but more confused. And then there's a disconnect between that half and the rest of the sentence. Could you try, "To save her family's business and her wonderful summers in France, Elle will have to use her talent for drawing to reveal the sinister man's schemes."

    Also, who is the sinister man? He wants to buy the vineyard? The sinister buyer? Sinister realtor? Or maybe move it all together to the first sentence. "...the estate is in danger of being sold to a sinister, scheming man." I'm just playing around here, but do you understand my point?

    You've listed this as MG paranormal, but I'm not seeing the paranormal element... Could that be worked in somehow?

    You're very close. Keep at it! :)

  3. This has good elements but I agree that it doesn't read very paranormal, I assume it has to do with the drawing talent but not enough is said about it to make us understand that there's something paranormal about it. I also don't feel enough tension, I understand the vineyard is at stake but what's so important about it that it being sold is a big deal? Obviously you can only say so much in a logline but maybe you can re-word it in a way that makes it more enticing.

  4. The sinister man seems to come out from nowhere - what sinister man? Also, are there higher stakes than simply losing wonderful summers in France? :)

  5. Why is the talent for drawing "curiously acquired"? Who is the sinister man (just a buyer)? I'm assuming the "family business" is the vineyard, so why is it being sold rather than passed down through the family? And where's the paranormal element in this?

  6. 1. You don't need to name the vineyard nor should you put a capital on grandmere.
    2. "is in danger of being sold" is too vague and too passive. Who is going to sell the vineyard?
    3. I agree that I don't understand how a talent can be curiously acquired or how this will help her reach her goal.
    4. Finally, I agree that the sinister man comes out of nowhere. Also, you need to connect him to the vineyard's ownership not to just the family business.

    Good luck!

  7. Hmm, curiously acquired talent for drawing hints at paranormal but I'd recommend making it a little clearer. Is there a ghost? That's what the title hints at. How does Elle's drawing talent factor in? It's kind of hanging there now, so I'm not sure how it plays in foiling a sinister man. Love the setting though. Sounds like there is good potential for an interesting story.

  8. I agree with Iris that the peculiarly acquired talent is the hint at paranormal, but I think it's used incorrectly. As is, it's just a normal drawing ability that she acquired in a strange way. But perhaps you mean the drawing ability itself is curious or strange (perhaps her drawings come to life?) If that's the case, move the modifier. It also says her drawing ability is what let's her know she'll lose her summers in France, so you may want to rewrite the whole sentence.

    Also, perhaps say why the place is being sold (they can't pay the taxes). ANd, yes, who is the sinister man? Perhaps he needs to go at the beginning with a bit more description.

  9. I pretty much agree with everyone here. Interesting premise, just needs a few tweaks. Take out the name of the vineyard. Expand on her "curiously acquired talent" as that threw me off guard. And maybe introduce the sinister man and his intentions earlier so that the reader is suddenly questioning "who? Where did he come from?"

    Good job!

  10. I read this through three times, and still ended up confused by the end each time. How will her drawing help her save their estate and where did the man come from? This needs more info.

  11. I agree with Holly, but will add that you need to include the paranormal aspect


    when eleven-year old Elle learns that her family's french vineyard is up for sale, she'll do anything to save it. With her new ability to conjure ghosts by drawing, she enlists her new friends to help her unmask the mystery buyer and save her home.

    that's a bit wordy, but you get the idea

  12. I don't think you need the name of the vineyard, it breaks up the flow of the sentence. I'm not clear on whether her Grandmother's illness is the reason the vineyard might be sold, or whether it's just the catalyst that reveals the threat. Also, it sounds strange to say 'With a little help... she'll lose her summers'. Does her drawing talent give her some special insight, or is it the thing that's going to help her keep the family vineyard?

    Lastly, her fear of losing her wonderful French summers sounds a little selfish when her grandmother is sick. I almost feel like these stakes aren't enough - presumably she has a non-summer home, so it's not like she'll be left on the streets. I think you could present the stakes more dramatically, eg. Elle must fight to save her family's ancestral home, or something. Obviously you could do a better job and include more specific detail.