Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Logline Critique Round Three #21

GENRE: Contemporary MG

When a mischievous thirteen-year-old accidentally sends a classmate to the hospital with his latest prank, his parents surprise him with the threat of boarding school. He runs away to his Dad’s piano-delivering punk rocker cousins, but gets grounded on their delivery trip with the elusive task of proving himself less selfish.


  1. This sounds like a fun middle grade story but the log line needs to have specifics. The line about "the elusive task of proving himself less selfish" is vague. I can't tell what the MC must do in order to get what he wants. Keep at it though! Good luck :)

  2. This reminds me a little of the Enid Blyton books I used to read as a kid. I agree with the above comment -- "elusive task of proving himself less selfish" is vague, and I'm not sure being threatened with boarding school is a surprise. Maybe just his parents threaten him? Sounds more serious that way.

  3. Awesome! Seems like I see a lot of agents looking for contemporary MG w male protagonists, so I bet you could do well with this one!

    I liked the threat of boarding school, loved everything up to the "elusive task" part, actually. I agree that it gets just a little too vague there. That's the only thing I'd change at all, otherwise I think this is great.

  4. Others already mentioned the "elusive task" part being vague, so I won't. I did find the language a little odd where it says "gets grounded on their delivery trip." Maybe it's me, but I'm not sure if this means that the kid is grounded, and if so, who is doing the grounding, and what delivery trip, and why is this delivery trip important? I also don't get a real sense of what's at stake. Also, sending a classmate to the hospital sounds SERIOUS. I would suggest putting something in the pitch that gives a better impression of the protagonist, beyond mischievous. Even if it's accidental, if he sends someone to the hospital, shouldn't he at least feel terribly guilty? I hope it works out. It sounds like there is a lot of fun packed in those pages. Good luck.

  5. The first problem with this one is that the main character is not sympathetic. You are trying to create a logline that makes the reader root for the main character, but this one makes me think he probably belongs in boarding school. Is he trying to achieve something noble when this prank goes wrong? Does he still want this same thing throughout the novel (otherwise, the only goal I can see is to get away from his parents)? It almost feels like you are using the internal arc (of him becoming less selfish) to carry the plot while it should be the plot that forces this internal change.

    Good luck!

  6. Ok, the others have given you good suggestions, so I'm just going to focus on a silly pet peeve nit! The word "gets" doesn't have a lot of meaning in most situations and in this case, could have conflicting meaning. Is he grounded as in "no TV for you young man" or does he become grounded in his understanding of the real world and what's important? A stronger word would clear this up. But I bet these punk rockers are a ton of fun!

  7. Thanks all. Not likely that you'll see a revision, but here is one try--especially on the sympathetic character:

    A charismatic thirteen-year-old expresses his creativity with school pranks, but his latest one accidentally sends a classmate to the hospital. Stunned with his parents’ threats of boarding school, he runs away to his Dad’s piano-delivering punk rocker cousins, but soon finds himself assigned to their delivery road trip with the totally unfair task of demonstrating unselfishness or he’ll be wearing a uniform soon.