Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Logline Critique Round Three #39

TITLE: Don't Fall Down
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary

When twelve-year-old figure skater Chloe cusses out the judges at a competition, her coach dumps her and she's kicked out of her elite skating club. Stuck training at a rink full of skating's misfits, Chloe must convince the judges to give her a second chance, or all the double axels in the world won't get her to Nationals.

22 comments:

  1. Very good. I like the logline, it's concise and intriguing. What I don't like is that she cussed out her judges. Really? Would someone who already knew about, and wanted to get to, Nationals, risk that? I'm thinking you need to revise the setup.

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  2. I'm sorry, but this one doesn't really work for me. The way you set this up doesn't really give me any sympathy for Chloe.

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  3. I agree with the comments about needing more sympathy for the mc. Maybe like this:
    "Stressed out because of her parents' upcoming divorce, 12-year-old Chloe completely falls apart and cusses out the judges..." Not that exactly, but something to give the sense that she's really likeable, but blew it this one time for an understandable reason.

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  4. Ooh - I like skywriter's thought. Give me something to identify with, and a reason to root for her.
    Love the idea of ice skating though. Most kids are not a part of that world - it would be fun to get a peek into it.

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  5. I agree you need a reason for her blow up. Otherwise, it's a great logline.

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  6. I took the liberty of a rewrite below:

    When twelve-year-old figure skater Chloe gets kicked out of her elite skating club for bad behavior, she is stuck training at a rink full of skating's misfits. Chloe must convince the judges that she has changed her ways, or all the double axels in the world won't get her to Nationals.

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  7. Honestly, I disagree with all of the other comments about the lack of sympathy your character engenders. Narrators need an arc. They need to start somewhere and end up somewhere else. I think the set-up is perfectly fine. Not to mention it's refreshing to see contemporary, reality-based writing for younger readers.

    Your logline gets the job done. I think when one person mentions something in a comment, everyone gets in line behind them and you have an avalanche of the same opinion. Whatever you do, don't let this concise write-up lose its edge by weighing it down with a ton of exposition.

    Two cents. ;)

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  8. I agree with the comments above. We need a little more sympathy for Chloe and with this log line I'm not feeling it. I think if you give us something Chloe is struggling with (parents' divorce, a friend stop being her friend, etc) we'll be able to connect with her more. I'm SURE that this is the case in your novel but I am not getting that from this logline.

    Best of luck!

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  9. Just saw we were commenting at the same time. Another thing I wouldn't let happen is for your decisions to be undermined while the jury is still out.

    It's rough to put your stuff out there and then to feel like you're kind of under attack. Just let it sit. You're in for a lot of ephemeral feedback over the course of your career as a novelist. Stay strong.

    That goes for all authors.

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  10. This one is mine. No worries! I'm thrilled to be getting so many constuctive comments. :)

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  11. I too like the fact that you show Chloe inistantly with her character flaw - very brave to start out with that (I too have a MC that no one liked at the beginning). If you do tweek it a bit, I'd concentrate on the latter part of the logline to show us why the second chance is so important ... there's a deeper reason why she wants or needs to get to Nationals ...
    A word of caution, too - MG characters cussing is a turn off for many, many folks ...even if you don't use the w**d. Good Luck!

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  12. I think JaneDoe's rewrite works. Ice princess behaving badly may not necessarily be new (The Cutting Edge) but we love it for a reason--it's pure fun.

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  13. A lot of people disagree with the "cuss out" but for me it makes me want to know why the bad behavior. I've worked with very difficult kids before so kids cursing is nothing new to me.
    The sympathy lacking for others was there for me.
    I think your log line is tight and to the point.

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  14. A very good logline. The whole point of your plot seems to be redemption and second chances. I would like to read how Chloe becomes a better person. Good luck.

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  15. Good, concise logline. My question is what makes the other skaters misfits? I realize you need to be concise, but giving a couple short examples might give the reader a little more flavor of the book. Also, I wonder if the story could be for maybe upper middle grade or young adult? Not knowing the story it's not for me to say, but if it's about getting along with coaches and other skaters and a lot about skating competition, it might be more appealing to a slightly older age group. Good luck!

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  16. You have a great set-up: MC with problem and goal.

    What is her obstacle other than her melt-down in front of the judges? (And I would definitely replace "cusses out" with another term.)

    I'm not understanding the misfits. Are they delinquents? Poor skaters? Just poor? If it's behavioral, she belongs there. If she's a snob, there's lots of room for her to grow.

    Very concise log-line!

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  17. I like this. The only think that would make it stronger would be if the obstacles were more specific than her trying to convince them she's not bad. How does she actually try to of this?

    Good luck!
    Holly

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  18. Strong logline, but I agree to make the MC more likeable from the outset. I wrote a MG with a snarky main character. She was too full of herself, and although she grew and changed through the course of the novel, ultimately my agent feedback told me that my readers were not rooting for her in the way that they should! Skywriter's advice is good. Tell us the REASON for her outburst and ban from the elite training rink.

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  19. I love this logline because it brings to mind Tonya Harding, one of the best-ever female skaters. She was the first female to do a triple-something-jump in competition, upping the bar for all and changing women's skating to be more physical and less dainty.But Tonya was truly a misfit in the land of rich, ice skating youngsters because she came from the extreme wrong side of the tracks. People love to root for the underdog, but in her case, that didn't usually happen because she can seem, well, not so likable.

    Her knee-whacked competitor, who was sleeping with her married manager (he later left his family to marry her),was loved and adored, because she was a. rich and b. had better outside manners. So the moral of the story is- appearances, even if fake, trump all.

    No, not really. The moral is we generally need to find something to sympathize with in our MC, especially in that age group, and then we'd understand WHY the outburst.So I guess I'm in the "make her more likable or give us a reason for the outburst" logline camp.

    But I think the story sounds great!

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  20. I love this concept! I really dig the idea of kidlit that focuses on competitive sports because so many kids can relate (or dream about/live vicariously through in books).

    My only suggestion is the phrase "cusses out." It may be exactly what happened, but we don't know the context in a logline, so she kind of sounds like a jerk. If there's a way to spin this, like "when Chloe has a melt-down in front of the judges after x happens at a competition" that shows a bit more how she handled it poorly.

    Good luck with your story! Seems very promising.

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  21. All the elements for a great logline are there. The goal is clear, the stakes are high and there is plenty of room for character growth. Good luck with this!

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