Daddy's Christmas Angel

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Creating the Right Logline for Your Work

What is a logline?

A logline can be defined as a brief summary of your story that provides a synopsis of the plot and offers a hook for interest. It can be a tool to attract readers to your book. If you are in the market for an agent or publisher, the logline can be an essential selling device.

Writing a logline sounds easy, but it's not. At least, it's not easy for me!

Recently, one of the lists I follow has worked on creating the perfect logline for some authors' books. That project started me thinking about what words would work best in loglines for mine.

Here is a logline I developed for Eagle Rising, the book I discussed on my blog earlier this week: "Recovering from the tragic death of her fiance, a young woman travels to Sedona, Arizona where New Age adventures, dangerous plots, and a frightening new love evolve among the mystic Red Rocks."
The logline should be 25 words or under. Mine is 32 words, so obviously it needs some work.

 What about a logline for another book, Night Watch? "Death on the high seas--how is the murder of a NPR reporter on the English Channel connected to a young woman kidnapped by gunrunners in Trinidad?" This is 27 words--better, but still not 25 or under.
Here's one for Secrets by the Sea: "Diaries, ghosts, and a house by the sea confound a young woman seeking to uncover her grandfather's murderer. Is her unconventional neighbor the dark killer or her true love?" This one is 29 words, so it, too, needs some work to make it shorter.

Working on these loglines might be more fun than I thought. Do you have loglines for each of your books? Do you find them difficult to write? Do you consider them an essential selling tool?

Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Save the Cat!
I prefer working on the logline than the whole synopsis. Perhaps because of the longer length of a synopsis, I have a greater chance of messing it up.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I don't like writing the synopsis either. Probably not many writers do.

Thanks, Alex, for the comment!

Marian Allen said...

I'm the opposite of Alex. The logline is so difficult for me! It's terribly tricky to get the unique twists and flavor of a book across in 25 words or fewer. It is for me, anyway. :( My loglines always come out sounding boring or insane.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Very helpful exercise! It's tough to write but certainly helps to pull the story together.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Marian, for commenting. Your writing has so much humor, I can't imagine that a logline would be hard for you!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I think loglines are really an important tool. Like it or not, we need to figure it out.