Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Logline Critique Round Three #21

TITLE: The Dane
GENRE: Historical

When a trusting young farmhand gets cheated out of his wages and accused of rape in 1890 America, he flees in the night and lands in the Chicago stockyards rather than return penniless to his love in Denmark. Near death on a winter’s night, Andreas is rescued by the mysterious Enzo who talks him into heading even farther west — the goldfields of Colorado.



14 comments:

  1. This sounds intriguing. The fellow has already risked so much and landed face down. But now he has the opportunity to gamble even more. I like how the previous failure sets up the story for bigger stakes.

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  2. I like this, it sounds like a compelling story. I wonder if some words could be pared ("in the night," and "on a winter's night") so you'll have space to show he's trying to make his fortune before too much time passes, and his love falls for someone else. A quest for a higher reason (love) is hinted at, rather than just trying to make money, but you could bring it home with more urgency to return to his love in Denmark.

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  3. I like the specifics of the period that you've successfuly squeezed in--immigration, Chicago stockyards, and gold fields.

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  4. You've included several intriguing details, interesting historical background, and high stakes. This young man has fled an unjust situation and faces unknown dangers. Will he redeem himself as he carves his new future or always be haunted by his past? Strong title, evokes the determined character that built this nation. I agree though that you should eliminate the first night reference - tightens it.

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  5. I love the history. Good characterization of protag. But IMO clarify his quest? Then who/what stands in his way?

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  6. I love American historical fiction & this sounds great! But I do wonder what the stakes are. You've done a great job showing the setting, but I don't know what choice Andreas must make, or what he stands to lose or gain by going to Colorado. What is his goal?

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  7. Sorry. What does "IMO" mean?

    I'm thinking of adding on --"where the body count rises with the altitude" but I don't want it to sound like a shoot-em-up. It's not!

    Length is a concern, but could I also end with a question? i.e. Will Kirsten wait another year?

    Thanks for the input everyone!

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  8. IMO = In my opinion, sometimes written as IMHO, in my humble opinion.

    I would not use a question in a logline or query. It's frowned upon, at least according to several query guides : )

    I'm liking the "body count rises with the altitude," but you're right, it does convey a bit of a shoot-em up feel. Maybe some other hint at danger, or the same line, but the addition that your mc is going to have to live by his wits, since he doesn't carry a gun. Then he's clever and plucky, not a gun totin' cowboy/mountain man type:
    Because where he's going, the body count rises with the altitude -- and he doesn't carry a gun."

    And YES, the line about Kirsten waiting another year is great, but turn it into a statement. Something along the lines of: He can only hope that Kirsten will wait another year.

    And magically squeeze it all into 75 words... : ) Best wishes, this sounds like a wonderful story.

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  9. This is more of a plot summary than a logline. You need to tell us what he wants and how he will get it. As written, it sounds like he is escaping from what happened but I don't see any motivation behind this escape nor do I see when it might end.

    Good luck!
    Holly

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  10. Thank you, Skywriter, for the specific comments.

    I'm going to take advantage of the back and forth.
    Here is a 75 (yes, exactly 75)- word logline.

    When a trusting young farmhand gets cheated and accused of rape in 1890 America, he flees and lands in the Chicago stockyards rather than return penniless to his love in Denmark. Near death on a winter’s night, Andreas is rescued by the mysterious Enzo who talks him into heading even farther west — the goldfields of Colorado, where the body count rises with the altitude. His greatest fear: Kirsten will marry Niels before he can return.

    Your thoughts???

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  11. I think Holly is right, it is reading like a mini-synopsis. If you focus on your mc and his love interest, and hint at the obstacles, it will be smoother and more compelling. Also, it's a bit of a name-soup with Andreas, Enzo, Kirsten and Niels. : ) Maybe a more general approach, along the lines of this:

    When a trusting young farmhand gets cheated out of his wages and accused of rape in 1890 America, he flees and lands in the Chicago stockyards rather than return penniless to his love, Kirsten, in Denmark. Near starving, Andreas heads even farther west, to the goldfields of Colorado – where the body count rises with the altitude. Danger follows him, but his greatest fear: Kirsten will marry someone else before he can return.

    If you want to include Enzo, you can still keep it simple, we don't need to know that Enzo rescued him on a cold winter's night. Maybe:
    "Near starving, Andreas is befriended by the mysterious Enzo, and together they head further west, etc." But perhaps less is more.

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  12. Thanks, all.
    Back to the drawing board!

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  13. I'm voting for Skywriter's revision, minus Enzo! Good luck!

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