Having just completed a fantastic online course through #WFWA by the brilliant and talented Laura Drake and Kathryn Craft. Wow. Talk about eye opening. Perhaps that is why it is now day 32 into my query process and still no requests for partial or fulls.
For me, it was back to the drawing board for all three, plus some re-writes of my story. I can’t (or won’t) convey the entire class, but I can offer a tip or two along the way that I learned.
Today let’s talk about log lines. Elevator pitches – whatever term you want to use. Why do we need them? Ever have someone actually ask about your book while in an elevator? I have because I live in a high-rise building. Without having to talk like you’re on speed, can you describe your story? On the street talking to someone? You have about thirty seconds to catch their attention for your book.
Wikipedia says “A log line or logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot and an emotional hook to stimulate interest.”
The same applies to books. The basics – try to get the plot and the hook down to 25 words or less.
Your log line should show four things. Protagonist, Goal, Motivation, Conflict.
Example: Protagonist wants Goal because Motivation but Conflict gets in the way.
I have a very, very short one for the manuscript I am querying that I have used in the elevator several times. It doesn’t really show the plot, but it gets a conversation going.
“My book is about international adoption that goes all wrong.” 10 words. Your thoughts? Doesn’t fit the formula, does it?
And I have a too-long one.
“A barren Louisiana woman adopts a Russian child to fill her desire for motherhood, but when the child turns life into a nightmare, she does the unthinkable and gives her away. When the child’s life is in danger, she realizes her mistake and must save her.” 46 words and two sentences. If I stopped at the end of the 1st sentence, I’d be close to my word count limit of 25, but it did not convey the total plot.
Would either of these log lines want you to know more?
I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions. And send me your log line. Can you do it in 25 words or less?