1. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    logline: comments please

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hvb, Oct 25, 2013.

    "Isabelle is at the top of her profession, but the surprise return of a lover brings blackmail and death. Will it destroy her life forever?"

    I saw in a tutorial not to use the protagonist's name, but Isabelle is a Doctor of Education, a description which I don't think make anyone's heart beat faster.
    Her career is an essential part of who she is and of the story.

    I would be grateful for any comments. Do you want to know more after reading the line?
    Hetty
     
  2. jannert
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  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not keen - what's Isabelle being at the top of her profession got to do with the story? It's a statement that does not have any bearing on the story (I don't mean to dismiss your entire story, but right now the only thing that matters, and the only story I know from this logline, is the lover and the blackmailing and deaths - there's no link I can logically draw, right now, between that and Isabelle's excellence at her profession), and it is also a highly boring statement at that.

    Why not cut it to: "Isabelle's life comes tumbling down when her lover makes an unexpected return..."

    Or I dunno, "When Isabelle's old lover returns, blackmail and death follows in his wake..."

    I don't pretend I know anything about loglines, but for me, "Isabelle is at the top of her profession" is useless padding. Cut to the chase, IMO.
     
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  4. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know, but Doctor of Education is not a profession, but her academic level. Her profession is what she does for living: she could be a housewife and have a PhD in molecular biology. A high-school teacher or a taxi-driver. A well-educated truck driver.
     
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  5. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't totally agree with @Mckk - the 'top of her profession' does give some idea of the kind of story it's going to be. Here is a successful woman, let's watch her get given a kicking. Some people like stories where the protagonist starts high and then gets brought down low.

    That said, I think this:

    Is rather more interesting.

    You're more likely to find a good hook by using specifics and emotions - make the reader think about what it would feel like to be in Isabelle's situation. When you do this, you're creating empathy with your protagonist, so they're more likely to pick up the book to find out what happens.
     
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  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, it's a 'tag line' not a logline... there is a difference...

    loglines were traditionally strictly screenplay adjuncts, though they seem to have recently slipped over into the prose fiction camp, as a query 'hook'... but this reads like a tag line, which is what's used to promote the finished product, not to interest prospective buyers in a script/ms...

    also, standard loglines don't include a question and this one's not needed, in any case... let the readers ask their own questions that your words should bring to mind...
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Maybe say something about the character- Successful, driven, lonely, busy? Give us some idea about her before giving the plot.
    And why is the lover's return surprising?
     
  8. hvb
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  9. hvb
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  10. hvb
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    Yes Nige, that's what it is. I find a lot of people rather see a downtrodden character doing well, than admire a successful person, especially a woman! Another reason to change the tag/log lines. But I will keep the storyline in spite of that as I hope to make Isabelle sympathetic to the reader so they are on her side.
    Thanks you!
     
  11. hvb
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    I'll take your suggestions on board. Thank you! The return is surprising because the affair happened in a different town 17 years earlier when the lover was a student. It was a short affair but 17 years later it indirectly causes the death of two people and the destruction of Isabelle's career.
     
  12. hvb
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    Thank you, I was a bit confused about the difference, even more so after I googled it. I take your comment about the question on board and will change that.
    Hetty
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @hvb - Isabelle goes along with the cover up of her husband's murder in order to keep her job? I'd be very careful there - you're gonna easily alienate a bulk of readers from being sympathetic towards Isabelle there. Of course, if alienation is exactly what you want, to show her as a despicably selfish character, then brilliant. But if that's not the intention, I'd consider revising this a little... I'm not too sure how many people would be sympathetic to a woman who doesn't care about finding justice for her late husband for self-preservation. Although, of course, if the husband's particularly vile from the start, you might get away with it :)
     
  14. hvb
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    Thanks again,
    Another person in my Creative writing course, where I wrote scenes from this story, also said " I don't like Isabelle" and I am writing in scenes to show a softer and more likeable side of her character. But I also feel, like I posted earlier, there is a general antipathy against successful women. Maybe because in Australia, we just went through some awful issues concerning our first female prime minister, whatever you thought of her as a politician, she was treated with much more misogyny than she deserved and there were discussions about where that leaves girls and young women looking for a political career. I don't see Isabelle as selfish at all, no more than the many men who sometimes get told " but you are never home!" when all they do is being successful and make money. They will often say it is for their families and it does benefit them, but many men ( as do women) are ambitious and want success in their chosen careers/businesses and since when is that something to be frowned on?
    Isabelle's husband is a fine person but he did shoot the copper, she can't do anything about that. Her inner struggle on how to deal with the various issues is an essential part of the story and I hope I can get that across. She will lose everything, she has lost her husband, she will lose her job under the most humiliating circumstances , she has lost her standing in society and it is when she realises that she has nothing more to lose, that she knows how to get her life back.
    All I have to do is make my reader heave a sigh of relief when that happens.
    Thanks again Mckk!
    Hetty
     
  15. Mckk
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    Assuming Isabelle and her husband had a good relationship, why didn't Isabelle tell her husband about the stalker? I mean, if something like that happened to me, my husband's the first person I'd tell.

    Would a man really shoot another man without any evidence that he was actually having an affair with his wife? (or perhaps you've sorted that out already and know what evidence you're gonna plant, in which case, great)

    I agree with you about misogyny - no doubt about that, successful women face discrimination and are much more heavily criticised than men. It is acceptable for a man to sacrifice his family for his career, but not the other way around.

    But do not confuse that with the lack of pursuit for justice for one's spouse's death. This is not a gender thing. Switch the genders and my reaction would be the same. If someone shoots the wife, and the man would rather protect his job than to fight for justice for his late wife, I would equally dislike the man. Your example of a man never being home and sacrificing family for his job is fine and realistic, but no one's died. When someone's death is concerned, and a loved one's death at that, the stakes are different.

    However, it is true we don't always make noble choices, as much as we should. That is also very human. However, the premise that you've created is very difficult to write well - the emotional reaction you'll get when Isabelle chooses her career over justice will be extremely strong, and that will be very hard to neutralise. It's not impossible, but it's a difficult premise to write for certain. In any case, good luck to you :) I'm glad you're writing about successful women.
     
  16. hvb
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    Isabelle's husband happens to read a text on Isabelle's phone which is inadvertently left while she had to hurry back to her office for a file. The text makes him think lover boy is on his way. Hubbie also has a problem with a wife who is more successful than he is, and while he loves and supports her, it makes it easy for him to belief she would have an affair, that's just the type of guy he is. More of a problem: I need to write in a reason hubbie has a gun. Gun ownership in Australia has strict rules. He is a law abiding citizen, unless he lives on the land or is a member of a gun club, he is not allowed one. This is a crime passionelle, that gun needs to be there, he doesn't plan this.
    But the bottom line is: your concerns are valid, but I think I can make it work. In the end readers will believe it, because it will make sense psychologically. I used three scenes in the course in creative writing I did recently with the Australian Writers' centre. They were the opening scene, the scene where hubbie thinks she has an affair and has the gun and the climax. The credibility of the scenes was not questioned by either the tutor nor by my fellow students.
    If I get to the end, find some readers and it turns out it doesn't make sense, well....time to kill my darlings, or at least do some serious surgery on them!
    Thank you for your interest!
    Hetty
     
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  17. hvb
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    Oh, and don't forget, hubbie does kill loverboy who happens to be a copper...Isabelle cannot change that. The other coppers charge in, see him with a gun, their colleague dead...they do not have much choice. The difference between the truth and the cover up is the explanation why there are two bodies there. All Isabelle can do is clear her husband's name of the drug charges, not from the killing.
     

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