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!