Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Logline Critique Round Three #ALT-1

TITLE: Edgefield
GENRE: Magical Realism

Edgefield has captured Dean Adams—literally. A journalist, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown, is staying at a hotel that used to be a county poor farm. Every time Dean tries to leave, he is overwhelmed by severe anxiety attacks, and only the hotel’s whimsical murals and the poignant tales of former residents (told by Thomas, an old black janitor) give him relief. Freedom comes only after he solves Thomas’s own surprising secret.


  1. The description of Thomas as an "old, black janitor" made me stop reading. You're describing a stereotype--the uneducated black man, a menial worker with surprising wisdom to impart to a sophisticated protagonist (who I assume is white, since Dean wasn't described as 'a black journalist').

  2. Your first sentence is confusing until you read the whole thing. I thought Edgefield was a person. The use of the word "literally" isn't really necessary either.

  3. The first sentence is confusing and I think unnecessary. Maybe start: Dean Adams, a journalist recovering from a nervous breakdown...

    I get where you're going with this but I think you're giving us too much information. The last sentence tells me he escapes. If you tell me the ending then I don't need to read the book.

  4. This sounds more like a summary of what happens. A logline should focus on the main character and what propels him into his goal as well as what obstacles he encounters whilst trying to reach it.

    Good luck!

  5. I like the stuff you have, perhaps some trimming and shaping up? The line that caught me was "old poor farm". Three ordinary words that could be organized better or replaced with more powerful words?

  6. I must confess that I too was stopped dead by "old black janitor." However rich and three-dimensional your characters may be, the story as presented here, with a blue collar storytelling POC and a (white?) educated journalist who solves the POC's secret is troubling.

    Also, I don't know what exactly you mean by "poor farm", but again I am a little uneasy that the story seems to be implying a connection between a "poor farm," whimsy, and poignancy.

    You will, of course, tell the story you want to tell; but others (including agents) might also be thrown by these details.

  7. Primarily, this is not a logline in form. I know from painful personal experience that when an agent asks for a logline and gets something else, they kind of move on, thinking the writer is not ready yet. This site has good examples elsewhere, but here is a pretty decent logline structure:

    On the verge of a (Something that needs to change), a flawed protagonist has (catalyst happens) and (decides to enter Act II). But when the Midpoint happens, he/she must learn the (theme of book), before the All Is Lost, to defeat (or stop) the flawed antagonist (from getting away with his/her plan).

    In other words, you must pick your hero and stick to him. You start with Edgefield, then Dean is kind of passive and finally Thomas has something to do. Try writing the whole thing with Dean being the subject of every sentence.