Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Logline Critique Round One #28

TITLE: Revelation
GENRE: YA Historical

In order to secure a comfortable life for herself as a free woman of color in 1825 New Orleans, Angelique (17) must sign a contract with a wealthy Creole gentleman . . . not as his wife, but as his mistress. When she falls for her poor piano instructor, she foregoes comfort for love, until yellow fever threatens her mother's life.


  1. Nice historical subject. Many Americans don't know that there were free blacks in the Antebellum South.

    Suggestions: Consider eliminating the first two words. Change "must sign" to "signs." Maybe reword the last line to create a more stark choice. The way it's worded could be read as if she has already made the choice.

  2. I agree with Magnanimoe.

    This is great. Good subject matter. I'm just a little confused about timeline. Does she sign the contract and then renege, or does she fall for her piano teacher before she can sign? Does she try to keep both lives, or does she lose the mistress position all together and then tries to get it back when her mother falls ill?

  3. I think this sounds strong. I would suggest replacing the word poor with maybe a more descriptive word; impoverished maybe, or struggling, or if this piano instructor is also free maybe mention that.

    I think you need one more thing after the yellow fever. What is her call to action?

  4. I agree to exchange "must sign" for just "sign" and I'd consider removing her age. You can say she's a young woman of color perhaps, but "(17)" breaks up the flow. I think it's nicely written and the parentheses stand out. That it YA tips us off what her age is. Nicely done.

  5. I am in love with this. My only question would be how the yellow fever changes things. I'm sure I'm safe in assuming she needs money to care for her sick mother, but maybe that's something that should be mentioned, to show how she needs to risk losing her happy life in order to get medical care for her mother?

  6. I'm not really sure where this story starts or what this character wants. At first, it sounds like comfort but then it's love but then it's her mother's health. You need to focus on the single, over-arching goal that carries the main plot.

    Good luck!

  7. There are a few conflicting ideas in the logline. She's not a free woman if she signs a contract to be a mistress. And she doesn't actually sign that contract if she chooses the piano instructor she loves. Why couldn't she have chosen to be free with the piano instructor in the first place?

  8. You know I love, love, love this story. The time period is so rich and the story is full of conflict and passion!

    I think you hint at several of the stakes in this logline (love vs money, freedom vs comfort, duty vs independence), but something more explicit might be clearer and hook us a bit better.

    Angelique wants her piano teacher, but things stand in the way. The contract, her mother's expectations, and the yellow fever (although you need to tell us how this is related--can't really tell from the brief logline). So she'll have to choose, right? Maybe looking at it from the perspective of her choices will help you focus in on what's most important.

    Good luck!!!

  9. I love the premise and the setting here, but this logline feels a bit disjointed to me. The part about her mother contracting yellow fever seems to come out of left field, and it's not clear how or why that changes her relationship with the piano teacher; does she have to leave him to go take care of her mother? Or is it that she has to go back to the wealthy man so she'll have money for doctor bills or medicine?

    Also, putting the character's age in parentheses after her name doesn't look right to me -- my guess is that since you certainly wouldn't put something like that in a back of book blurb, it's not appropriate in a logline either. I'd recommend either saying 'seventeen year-old Angelique', or perhaps adding 'at seventeen' in at some logical point in the first sentence.