Rotten Loglines

Last week, I submitted a logline for critique by strangers. First off, the stranger part is always scary to me, but I relaxed when I saw no one trashed it. The consensus was “not enough detail.” Oddly, I had the opposite problem drafting a query letter.

I realized when you are too familiar with a book, it’s easy to think you’re telling more in a one-line synopsis than you are. It’s similar to the way you fill-in missing information when seeing a movie adaptation after you’ve read the book. So, I agree. It needs more detail.

That brings up the question of logline length. It’s usually described as a one-sentence pitch, but very few of those submitted in these rounds have been one-liners. Some suggest no more than 25 words total, but the contest I hope to enter allows up to 100 words. Confusing.

At least three of those who critiqued my entry questioned why I describe my novel as Women’s Fiction since it’s obvious the main character is male. *Sigh* But an equal number complimented me on my novel’s title. *Yay*

I’m revising the logline even though the odds of getting accepted for The Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction are slim. In my division, only the first 40 entries will be considered, with only 15 of those accepted for the auction. If I don’t make it, at least I’ll have an elevator pitch ready. Though the last time I rode in an elevator was three months ago, and if an agent was in the vicinity s/he was invisible.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll just get in the habit of spouting my logline whenever I step into an elevator, just in case. And hey, agents have to shop, so maybe when I’m in the mall I could …

Your turn: Tell me about your logline. How long is it? Did you have any trouble writing it? Did you write it before or after you wrote your novel?

 

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What do I have to lose?

I entered two contests this week. One is where you enter your first 250 words for a Secret Agent to see if they’re hooked enough to ask for a partial. The other is where you enter just your first paragraph for the same prize. I don’t expect to win.

I entered because I’m not comfortable with my novel opening. In the first contest, I will get a comment from the secret agent and also comments from other writers. Maybe something said in those will spark an idea for revision.

The second one won’t garner me any comments, and I know the agent who’s sponsoring the contest won’t be interested, but you never know what other agents might peruse the entries. One of those agents just might find enough intrigue in my opening paragraph to contact me. It’s all about getting your work out there, right?

I’ve had my doubts, my “what if it’s garbage” moments while writing this novel, but not now. I know it’s good. I know a good portion of readers would enjoy it. I’m just having trouble selling it in my query letter. But I’ll get there. Until then, free contests can’t hurt.

It’s too late to enter the Secret Agent contest, but Nathan Bransford is taking entries until Thursday at 4pm Pacific Time. What do you have to lose?