1. SuperSpaceCat
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    SuperSpaceCat New Member

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    Logline Critique

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SuperSpaceCat, Feb 6, 2016.

    So, I've had an idea that's been rattling around in my head for a while and thought that developing an effective logline would be a good starting point for developing a story. Here's what I've come up with:

    "When an amnesic man awakens to a bizarre and unfamiliar world, he embarks on a perilous journey to unearth the mysteries surrounding his existence and the anomalous powers he possesses."

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Is this for a TV series? Sounds do-able, if it wouldn't be too expensive to produce.
     
  3. SuperSpaceCat
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    SuperSpaceCat New Member

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    Most likely a novel.
     
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  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Even more do-able. However, it's all down to the actual writing, whether it will work well or not. Give it a try! You have nothing to lose. Writing is about as risk-free an activity as I can think of. Have you got some scenes envisioned yet? If not, start working on that aspect. Start picturing your character and the world he finds himself in, and let your imagination go. I think it's an intriguing concept, for sure. Hope it blossoms into a novel for you.
     
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  5. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    "When an amnesic man awakens to a bizarre and unfamiliar world, he embarks on a perilous journey to unearth the mysteries surrounding his existence and the anomalous powers he possesses."

    Cut out all the adjectives and get it down to "A man who has amnesia awakens in unfamiliar surroundings with new powers that he has problems reconciling".

    A 'tag line' needs to intrigue, not explain. The shorter, the better. Even shorter than I wrote would be better for a tag line.

    Just my 2 cents worth,
    Jeff
     
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  6. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    I agree with Jeff.

    "A man with amnesia wakes in a unfamiliar surroundings with new powers he can't explain."

    "An amnesiac wakes in strange surroundings with new powers he can't explain."

    "An amnesiac wakes to a strange world burdened by his odd new powers."
     
  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is the purpose of your log line?

    If you're just using it to frame your writing, I don't think it makes sense to polish it - it's just for you, anyway. So are you asking us more about the content rather than the style?

    If you're planning to self-publish and want something for the front cover, I'd focus more on creating something dynamic and interesting rather than factually explicit.

    If you're planning on using this to somehow market to agents or publishers - I'd really question whether that's something for you to be wasting much time on. I know some people swear by it, but they're a pretty small minority. Most writers I know, people with agents and lots of writing contracts, have never written a log line. They seem to be an idea from screenwriting that some people are trying to import to novels, but I don't really think the transplant has taken, at this point.
     
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  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Amnesia stories have been done often (like pretty much any other story, I guess) so I'd be looking for an element that makes this one stand out from the rest.

    And the fact that he's got powers he doesn't understand... well, I think I saw that in a Superman comic in about 1968. Sorry, but it's true.

    Is there anything else that makes this story stand out?

    Also, who's the antagonist? He/she usually gets a mention in a logline.

    Forgive me if this sounds overly critical.

    Some things to ponder:
    • (as stated above) Who is the antagonist?
    • Why is the antagonist trying to stop the MC from understanding his powers/using his powers/whatever else might come up as the main thrust of the plot?
    • What makes his journey to self-discovery perilous?
    • (even if only so that you know) How/why did he lose his memory?
     
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  9. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Bayview has a point. I'm a screenwriter and I know everyone pushes building off of these, expanding as you go (logline 25 wds or less, then single page synopsis, then 5-10 page treatment, then beats outline, then first rough draft...) but I think that more often than most of them will admit, these items aren't really polished until later in the process. IOW what you THINK the logline is now, may be waaaaay off from what it turns out to be when you've finished the full length work. This is how it usually works for me.

    Sometimes it's better to let it grow organically? Maybe.
     
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  10. SuperSpaceCat
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    SuperSpaceCat New Member

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    Thanks for all of the replies! The logline is for myself, not for marketing. I'm an ameture writer, and I've read that developing a logline can help you stay on track throughout the writing process.

    The amnesic hero has been done, but I feel my idea has some original spins that come about late in the story that (purposefully) are left out of the logline.

    Without giving too much away, where as most hero's gain power/skill throughout their journey, this one's power will instead decay (for a specific reason). A god of sorts having to come to terms with mortality and dealing with the consequences of his choices.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hey, I like that a lot. It really is an original take on the subject of 'powers,' which I'm not fond of at the best of times, because that kind of story has been so overdone of late. But this is new. Decaying powers. That is mortality, isn't it?
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That sounds really cool actually :)

    Anyway as for loglines or some summary sentence for your novel, I think it should sum up the plot. The logline sums up your character's journey - the drive behind the story, I guess - that he's lost his memory and has powers, and he wants to find out who he is and his past, and more knowledge of where the powers came from etc. But where does finding his memories lead him? What happens when he finds his memories, when he finds what he's looking for? What consequences are there, and what/who does it impact now that he has the answers? I'd say that's probably the wider, overarching plot (although I'm confused myself really as to what a plot is, so take my definitions with a pinch of salt).

    And I think the logline should sum the wider plot up - the thing that makes his search interesting - rather than the smaller aspect of his personal story. Because the wider plot is the one you're actually writing - the thing that marks his journey's beginning, middle, and end. Without this, there's no direction.

    Or at least those are my theories anyway. I could be wrong as I've never written a logline and I suck at any kind of summaries :D
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I would think that gives you more reason to include all elements, including (and especially) the antagonist, just to keep all those things solidly in front of you while writing. The main conflict (against the antagonist) is the most important part of any story, so you need to know what it is and keep it in mind throughout the writing process.
    Absolutely. I've found that if I don't have a concrete logline that expresses the throughline of the novel in 50 words or less (30 is better) I'm liable to wander all over the place while writing.
     
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