Do you have a logline for your story? Screenwriters have been using loglines to sell their scripts for years. Authors can use them too.
Wait, what’s a logline?
A logline is the shortest good response to the prompt: “tell me about your book.”
Here is the definition from Wikipedia:
“a logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.”
And from scriptologist.com:
“A logline is a one-sentence summary of your script. It’s the short blurb in TV guides that tells you what a movie is about and helps you decide if you’re interested in seeing it. It’s the grabber that excites your interest.”
Here’s a logline example, for the movie E.T., from screenplayers.net:
“A shy, alienated boy bonds with an extraterrestrial child who’s been stranded on earth; the boy defies the adults to help the alien contact his mother ship so he can go home.”
Like many screenwriters’ tools, loglines can be very useful for authors, who can use them (just like screenwriters) to:
- Describe their book when pitching.
- Maintain focus when writing the manuscript.
Prepare Your Logline for the Willamette Writers Conference
The Willamette Writers Conference is coming up real soon (August 12-14). As you may know, lots of pitching goes on at the conference, and even if you’re not planning to pitch, the “what’s your book about?” question comes up often enough. Better have a short pitch ready!
How to Write Your Logline?
Here are some resources that will help:
- scriptologist.com has good info to get you started: “The Logline: What It Is, Why You Need It, How To Write It.”
- Lenore Wright has step by step instructions to creating your logline, here.
- Finally, Danny Manus, who will be at the conference this summer, talks about loglines and the difference between a logline and a tagline in his blog post: “The Keys to Query Letters That Work.”
Get Feedback on Your Logline
Try out your shiny new logline before you use it
under fire in the pitching room. Here’s more from scriptologist.com on how to get good feedback:
“Read it [the logline] to your friends, your family, fellow writers. Find out if they’re intrigued by the logline and want to know more. Getting feedback from others is important. It tells you if you’re on track or if you have to go back and rewrite.”
And that’s it. You’re ready. Go pitch!