Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 1 #8

TITLE: Time Bender
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

When a stranger offers seventeen-year-old Birdie Orin the financial means to leave Atlanta's cruel streets behind, she jumps on it, despite the odd strings attached. Trapped Viking souls, a cursed amulet and an ancient battle seem more like the ramblings of a lunatic than any real threat, until Birdie’s dreams confirm the inescapable reality of the stranger's words. With new friend, Grey, by her side, Birdie must choose between fulfilling a sworn oath and protecting the one she loves.


  1. I think you've got a really compelling idea here. I like your hook and your idea. I think as a logline you could still trim a little bit. There are things here that are compelling, but don't support your very core pitch. For instance, the 'odd strings attached' aren't mentioned like that again, so that could go.

    And while Birdie's background - wanting to get out of a poor lifestyle - is compelling, it also doesn't mingle with the rest of this logline. Maybe something more like:

    Trapped Viking souls, a cursed amulet and an ancient battle seem more like the ramblings of a lunatic than any real threat, until seventeen-year-old Birdie Orin’s dreams confirm an inescapable reality. Now Birdie must choose between fulfilling a sworn oath and protecting the one she loves.

    I hate to see you cut so much compelling information, but for a logline you'll want to focus on succinct as well as intriguing. (BTW, I'd totally read this).

  2. I like this premise! It sounds intriguing and worth a read. I'm unclear on who she's protecting, though. Grey? Someone else? And why would her saving that person run in opposition to her mission with the Viking souls/amulet/battle? What exactly is her mission? To save the souls by retrieving the amulet from whoever has it?

  3. Definitely a good pitch/hook here. I do agree with above, that this needs a little bit of a trim. The "despite the odd strings..." can go since you explain what the strings briefly are in the next sentence and call them "ramblings of a lunatic" which is good. We can kind of gather from the first sentence that "a stranger" will have strings attached to this deal.

  4. I really liked the first sentence and the first half of the second sentence (up to the second comma). But I'm a little confused about how dreaming about things makes them "inescapable reality." Also, the last sentence is a little vague--why does choosing to honor the oath mean she can't protect the ones she loves? And who are the ones she loves?

  5. I like the first line. After that, I'm kind of lost. Are the souls, amulet and battle challenges she must overcome in order to get the financial means from the lunatic? If so, this needs to be more clear.

    "confirm the inescapable reality of the stranger's words" -> this is one of those vague cliche things that tells us nothing about the story. What "words" are you talking about? Are you saying that he gave her money but told her that she'd have to face the challenges above if she took it but she didn't believe him until they smacked her in the face? If so, tell us this before or as she faces them. (For example, she doesn't believe his warnings until X, Y, Z...")

    Finally, what oath and who does she love? This seems to come out of nowhere. You said her goal was to leave the streets of Atlanta. Is her goal actually to keep an oath and save someone? If so, you need to re-write your first line so that the consequences are directly connected to the goal.

    Good luck!

  6. I think this is almost there. I would suggest cutting 'the odd strings attached' and instead say, 'despite his odd ramblings about Viking souls, a cursed amulet and an ancient battle.' But as she ------ (fill in the blanks with how she's living now that she's got all this money and is off the streets) and then go into her dreams but be specific rather than vague. (Present the actual problem)

    And as Holly taught me last year with my own log line, (Thank you, Holly!) choosing isn't big enough. When she makes her choice, will the story end? Probably not. Instead, get across the consequences of her choice - what did she choose and what does that mean for her - i.e, WHat is the sworn oath and what does protecting it mean? Or, who are her loved ones and how does protecting them affect her?

  7. I second Barbara's comments. Also, it might be stronger if you don't use Grey's name and instead describe what he means to her if he is central to the stakes.

    And I just want add that this is an super cool premise!

  8. Love the story. Needs trimming of course, but you have lots of great advice already, so I just thought I'd say it sounds like an action packed plot, with romance. So in other words - great! :)

  9. This story sounds intriguing! Agree with Ruth that it needs to be trimmed down, but the basics would definitely entice me to read on. Great job :D

  10. Great title. I suggest moving the specific threatening ramblings from the second sentence to the first sentence and cutting "despite the odd strings attached." You could then omit the remainder of the 2nd sentence. I think the stakes are clear.

  11. Is Grey the stranger? If not, that character seems a little randomly dumped in there. Otherwise sounds great.