Friday, November 5, 2010

Loglines - My Process

Today I'm going to write a bit more about loglines. Specifically, my process - at least at this point - as I try to come up with a logline for my cozy mystery.

As I mentioned yesterday, all thanks to Authoress and Holly Bodger, there are five elements to the logline: main character, inciting incident, conflict, goal, and consequences.

This all seems pretty straightforward. Yeah. Right.

In working on my logline, I realized as straightforward as this seems, it is often far more complicated.

So, what I did was this . . .

Main Character = name of main character
Inciting Incident = well, the inciting incident, which, for example, was the attack on the victim
Conflict - the suspects would rather their secret remain secret and will do pretty much anything to keep their secret secret
Goal - solve the case (yeah, that was a hard one to figure out - ha)
Consequences - twofold (as in my Little Red Riding Hood example), but, for brevity I'm going to say . . . MC could end up dead

So, then I went about constructing my sentences. Now, I'm not giving you what I wrote, but I have come up with similar sentences, that hopefully show my process:

  • Inept, amateur sleuth Porky Pig (main character) gets the career-changing opportunity of a lifetime when he's asked to solve (goal) the death (inciting incident) of Foghorn Leghorn.
  • When Foghorn Leghorn is attacked (inciting incident), his good friend the Chicken Hawk asks amateur sleuth Porky Pig (main character) to solve (goal) the case. The problem: Porky's pretty much inept, and ever since he began investigating the case, dead rabbits have been showing up on his doorstep. He's afraid he might end up as dead (consequences) as the rabbits if he doesn't solve the case soon.
  • When Foghorn Leghorn is attacked (inciting incident), his good friend the Chicken Hawk asks amateur sleuth Porky Pig (main character) to solve (goal) the case. Porky Pig’s investigation (conflict) begins simply enough, but soon dead rabbits start appearing on his doorstep and he’s afraid he’ll end up just as dead (consequences) if he doesn’t solve the case . . . soon.
  • When amateur sleuth Porky Pig (main character) begins investigating (inciting incident) the death of a rooster, he doesn’t understand how desperate (conflict) the suspects are to keep their part in the death secret. As the clues add up, and dead rabbits start appearing on his doorstep, he’s afraid he’ll end up just as dead (consequences) as the rabbits if he doesn’t solve (goal) the case . . . soon.

Let me dissect the examples above, in order of appearance:

  • One - I'm missing conflict and consequences
  • Two - I'm missing conflict
  • Three - I have all five elements
  • Four - ditto

The difference, at least to me, between example three and four is that four - again, my opinion - is a bit more clear. I also took out all names except that of the main character.

So, these are my feeble attempts at example loglines for your reading pleasure. I think the main thing is to include the elements so that you - hopefully - hook potential agents, editors, publishers, readers, friends, lovers, and mortal enemies. Ha!

7 comments:

Marybeth Poppins said...

I worked with Holly for hours yesterday on my log line! I came to one conclusion....

I HATE LOGLINES!

Scott said...

I'm not a huge fan of loglines, but this formula really has been helfpful. I'm jealous that you got to work with Holly!

S

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Wow! Good job on those! I'd keep at it until you're really happy with one and then maybe ask for feedback? That is a pretty good formula to get the ball rolling.

Robyn Campbell said...

Hmm, maybe I shall blog about loglines on Monday. hehe

At least I can be sure the Dolphins will be VICTORIOUS next week. :)

Didn't the Titans get the VERY TROUBLED Randy Moss. Uh, yeah, good luck with that. hehe

I like #four. Clear and concise. I'm worried about the pig. :)

Here's mine: Thirteen-year-old Anna hopes to have the time of her life on her endurance horseback ride, the one thing she didn't plan on was dying in the mountains.

Well? A little assistance here?

Holly Bodger said...

Don't be jealous of working with Holly. Holly is very picky. Holly is also weird. She speaks of herself in third person.

Scott said...

Michelle - I like the fourth one the best, and, when adapted to the project I plan on querying, it works quite well.

Robyn - I'll message you on Facebook. Go Titans! Ha!

Holly - LOL! I once heard the true sign of genius is talking about yourself in the third person. Ha! I made that up, but I like the sound of it!

Holly Bodger said...

Hmmm, genius? I like the sound of that too !