Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Logline Critique Round Two #35

TITLE: Falling Up The Stairs
GENRE: Family Saga

In upper New York State, a father deserts his wife and children and joins the Army in World War II, claiming to have no dependents. The alcoholic mother leaves her seven small children in abusive foster homes and orphanages. Each of the children suffer a life of unthinkable cruelty and neglect in "the system," while traveling a rocky road to adulthood. Thirty-five years later, fate and unusual circumstances re-unite them..


  1. I would cut the backstory and go straight to the goods. Maybe something like:

    Thirty-five years after their parents deserted them, fate and unusual circumstances (I would make this more specific!) reunite seven siblings for the first time since WW2.

  2. This sounds more like a summary than a logline. Characters, conflict, stakes. Keep it lean and clean. I would rewrite this.

  3. I have to agree with the first comment, there is way too much back story. Until the very end I had no idea if this was a story about the father, the mother, or the children. The focus should be on the main character(s) and what happens to them with less emphasis on what put them in their initial situation.

  4. What is accomplished by the siblings' reunion? Healing? Forgiveness? Understanding? Acceptance? Humor?

    How difficult is it for them to be together?

    Will there be an improved life post-reunion for this lot?

    If this were a documentary, I'd watch it in a hot second. I love crummy-childhood-survival stories.

  5. This reads more like a plot synopsis and back story than a log line. I don't know what the stakes are or the driving conflict of the actual story. Do the children need to come to terms with each other? The system? The way they were put into the system? Or something else entirely? And what happens if they don't?

  6. Where does this story start -- with the reunion years later? Or even if that is where the story ultimately leads, the focus should probably be on how that reunion plays out. If this is ultimately about the kids as adults, what their parents did is backstory, which doesn't fit in your logline, and we certainly don't need to know it takes place in Upper NY. Look at like a Tweet in 45 words or less. A strict word limit like this will help you clarify and make the hard choices.

  7. This is interesting backstory but it doesn't belong in the logline. You need to focus on what happens in this story now. First, who are the main characters? I can't imagine you have 9 of them. If you do, you are going to have to focus either on the main one or on their common goal. If their goal has something to do with them getting along with the parents, you can sprinkle the backstory as conflict.

    Good luck!

  8. You wrote that the genre is "family saga." Is the story adult, young adult, middle grade, historical fiction or what.
    I had no idea who the main character is, if it's the father, mother, or one of the children, what the main character's goal is, etc.
    This seems like it could be an interesting, if complicated story.

  9. Living in Upstate NY, "upper New York state" just felt awkward to me. Beyond that, while I know the situation, I have no real sense of what to care about. From this they could all end up having tea or just punching one another out, and either way, there doesn't seem to be much story there. So, like others, I want less background and more of the heart of this.

  10. Agree with others. This happened to many families in the past. Why would I want to read this story? What's the conflict? Is there a conflict?