On Writing · Publishing

Anatomy of a logline

Look, I’m not the first writer to say she doesn’t like writing loglines. Okay, it’s not that I don’t like loglines, it’s that I LOATHE them.

I’ve spent that last three weeks working on a logline for my YA novel for the Baker’s Dozen competition that I’m entering on Tuesday (like, two days from now Tuesday. GULP.).

I’m feeling discouraged.

I’m feeling frustrated.

I’m feeling like I’m applying for a job that terrifies me, and yet, I know I’m totally qualified to get.

I’m feeling like this is the cover page of my resume – and I never liked writing cover pages and I never liked writing resumes. EVER.

But – I get it.

I get that this is the bid-ness. These are the rules. This is the game. And for now, I have to suck it up and play it if I want to make the team.

But one line? I mean, a novel is pages and pages long. To have to ‘sum it up’ in one line (or 60 words OR LESS) is no small feat. It’s next to impossible. At least that’s how I feel.

The hubby says to me: People go see films based on how the poster looks. This is the same thing. You’ve got one chance. This is your poster.

Okay, Mister Smarty-Farty Pants Guy. You write it then.

AHEM. He proceeds to ask me some questions, then PRESTO! He writes a pretty kick-ass logline for me. WTF.

I don’t steal it. I coddle it. I roll my eyes at it. I tweak it. I add my ‘me’ to it. And then…I am mildly satisfied.

I’d like to show you the stages that my logline went through, just to show you how I got to where it is. How it got to the point that I feel is submittable to a contest I’ve been waiting years (literally) to enter.


Submitted to K.T. Crowley’s BD One Last Change Logline Contest 

Rachel knows in her heart that rumours about Tom killing his parents in a house fire are only embers of broken truths – truths that she will uncover and embrace as she moves through a fiery series of firsts in a courageous fall into love. 

I get great feedback from readers in the contest. Mostly pertaining to the ’embers of broken truths’ and what the H-E-double hockey sticks that means. GUH. I actually really liked this first go at it, but it didn’t seem to ‘catch fire’ with the readers.

THE SECOND ATTEMPT –  Submitted to K.T. Crowley’s Last Call Logline Critique

Rachel must travel to a small university town with her older brother Alex, and live with their quirky Aunt Millie for the summer. Armed with her favorite book, her journal and a healthy supply of chocolate, she knows that the summer will be one of the worst yet. Until Tom sits beside her on the bus. Tom – a loner at her high school rumored to have killed his parents in a house fire. Tom – a janitor by day, murderer by night. But those blue eyes. Those full lips. Are they really the makings of a cold-blooded killer? A kiss proves to Rachel that there is much more to Tom than anyone knows. Her body is drawn to him as much as her mind. Turns out, he’s going to the same town she is. The truths that Rachel will uncover and embrace as she moves through a fiery series of firsts – first kiss, first make-out, first sex – with Tom exemplify her courageous fall into love.

You can clearly see that I’ve digressed with this second attempt. IT’S WAY TOOOO LONG. But, having read the feedback from the first call, I felt like I needed to put all this information in…And I felt like cramming everything into one line was like helping cliche come to life. I felt like everything I was writing was cliche.

THE THIRD – AND SOON TO BE SUBMITTED – ATTEMPT – That I will submit into the Baker’s Dozen competition on Tuesday

When first love strikes suspicion it sets 16-year-old Rachael on fire. A burning affection for Tom, the blue-eyed loner rumored to be a cold-blooded killer, ignites a series of firsts in a courageous fall into love.

As I read it over and over again…I dislike it more and more…and that’s probably the best thing I can say about it because I really liked my other attempts, and they weren’t very successful.

All this in a very dedicated, very hard-working, very hopeful attempt to get an agent to read my manuscript, *fall in love*, and ask to represent me and my words.

Simple, right?


2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a logline

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