Loglines and You: Michael Ferris explains it all in Script magazine

Even the most seasoned writers I know struggle with loglines -- the single sentence at the top of your query that presents a succinct explanation of the plot, tone, and style of the book. Sounds simple enough, but that single sentence can really suck your head inside out. So Michael Ferris' "Loglines and You" article in Script magazine immediately caught my attention. He's talking about pitching a screenplay, but the rules apply to querying a novel or memoir.

Quoth Ferris:
"...your goal with a logline is not to talk about or encapsulate the story in (hopefully) an exciting way. Instead, a logline is meant to highlight the aspects of your script that would entice someone who didn’t give a crap two seconds ago into wanting to read/know more. If you can write one sentence that entices the reader to want to read your script, AND also gives some semblance of what they story will be, you’ve written the perfect logline."
He goes on to offer this example: "A journey of forbidden love between a poor boy and a rich girl on the final voyage of the RMS Titanic." Which isn't actually a sentence, but you get the drift. (They don't need predicates in Hollywood. It's a town without pity.)

Read the rest here (before that logline sucks your head inside out.)

Comments

Colleen said…
I've been fighting with one all week (along with the synopsis from hell) and came across this extremely helpful article by author Amanda Stevens, who calls them "Strange Attractors." http://writerunboxed.com/2010/10/25/do-you-have-a-strange-attractor/

Thanks for the post. Need all the help I can get!
I've struggled over this with my own book, and this actually made more sense than some of the other advice I've received. My original one-sentence pitch seemed to go over well with two agents I met, but it didn't contain any active description about the novel--more of a summary of the characters. I'm trying to sneak in what the conflict is, but maybe that's asking too much of one sentence.

Thanks for this.