Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Logline Critique Round One #23

TITLE: Paths through the Garden
GENRE: Women's contemporary fiction

Alternative healer Leyla Jo Jared struggles with infertility and explores natural botanicals for a solution. Her passion for a child leads to a conflicted crossroad...choosing a husband's health over their desire for a child. When the archaeological exhibit the couple curates is compromised, their role in the professional , scientific community is threatened. Now she must explore her path through the garden to travel her biggest journey.


  1. Lots of seemingly unconnected backstory with almost no stakes. What could possibly make you have to choose your husband's health over having a child? As stated, I have no idea and am not even curious because nothing mentioned has been that unusual. The "when the..." sentence comes out of nowhere and doesn't feel like it fits. I thought she was an alternative healer? Now she's an archaeologist? I don't get it.

    Also, "explore her path through the garden to travel her biggest journey" conveys absolutely meaning whatsoever.

  2. You're spending too much time on back story. Pick a conflict, and focus on that. Also, don't be vague, what is her biggest journey? Why does it matter?

  3. This is quite confusing. She's a healer and an archeologist? What does her husband's health have to do with her getting pregnant? And what does this whole garden have to do with anything? You have to give us tangible obstacles and stakes. Is their marriage or his life at risk? If so, these are tangible. Things like "reputation" are not obstacles to getting pregnant.

    Good luck!

  4. I am a bit confused. She's a healer and an archaeologist? Yes, she can be both. But it's not needed for the sake of this logline. I don't know what the plot is. Is she desperate for a baby? Does she want to cure her husband? Or is it the compromised exhibit? One of these is the plot, the others one simply subplots. I think if you stick to describing the plot, this will come together nicely for you.

  5. I really liked the first two sentences. You had me up until the archaeological exhibit. Not sure of the connection between the exhibit and them wanting kids.

  6. I agree with Leah's analysis of the problems here. You need to ask yourself the basic questions:

    What does she want?
    What are the obstacles she must overcome?
    What are the consequences of failure?

    Use the answers to tell us about the main conflict, and leave out the backstory and subplots.

  7. This is very ambiguous and makes little sense. How is her husband's health compromised by her desire to have a child? What does the archaelogical exhibit have to do with her goal of having a child? You gave us her goal, which is good, but you haven't given us the stakes.

  8. I couldn't figure out how the 1st 2 sentences connect with the 2nd 2 sentences. I think the story is in the 2nd 2 sentences, so I would focus on those and tell us more about what the conflict is, and what Leyla's goal is.

  9. http://makeyourbookamovie.com/building-the-perfect-logline-for-your-book-screenplay-or-other-story/441/

    I don't know if this is your first novel or your 20th, but it reminds me of my own struggle to be REALLY strong with an unusual voice in order to stand out in the commercial jungle. You might want to refine your genre - sub-genre sounds like mystery or suspense(?)

    I'm wondering if the protagonist's conflict might not only be with herself - is it more important to have a baby or save her husband's life - as well as what I assume is an internal conflict vis-a-vis natural solutions versus fertility drugs? Sounds like you're writing from experience and may need some distance. I've tried both remedies myself.

    Loglines serve a bittersweet purpose - they help us realize our plot isn't working. I've been there and it sucks. But don't forget that all the work you do now is a learning experience. Nothing you ever put down on paper is EVER wasted. Revisit your novel. Who's the antagonist? Get this entity introduced as soon as possible. Hope this helps. You can do it. Just become your best critic.

  10. You had me at the first two lines, and lost me at the last two. Leyla's internal conflict feels stronger than the external one presented in the last two lines, but only you can decide which conflict to focus on.

  11. I agree with the others... Decide what Leyla's main problem is... the main plot... and stick with that. Is it the infertility or the compromised exhibit? Also, the last sentence is very confusing... is it a play on her botanical work representing her journey in life? Either way, it could use some clearing up and a few specifics. I think once you've taken another look at the story, decided on the central conflict, and rewritten, you'll have a much stronger logline. Good luck!

  12. Just adding my voice to the crowd warning that the elements don't seem to connect smoothly in the logline. HOWEVER, there looks like a lot of interesting stuff in this book, so I'm anxious to see you succeed in distilling it down!

  13. You've included both an internal and external plot that aren't connected. (They may be in the story, but they're not in the logline).

    Usually, the log line will be about the external goal, because that can be measured. We can see the MC getting closer and closer to their goal.

    Perhaps focus the log line on the compromised exhibit. Tell us how it is compromised and by whom or what, and what does that mean for your MC. What's at stake? What will she do to rectify the problem?

  14. Yeah, Barbara. I see what you're getting at. We haven't heard back from the author, so I don't know how all of this is sitting . . . yikes.

    I think the infertility should be a sub-plot and because it's front and center in the logline, it's probably the main issue in the novel, but the exhibit should be front and center.

    I hope she/he writes back and isn't discouraged.

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