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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Conference Prep—Log Lines



I need the combined power of all your brilliant minds. I must come up with a log line or elevator pitch. I have a hard time with these, because I never know what to focus on.

Everyone should know how their story is different from the rest. With mine I wanted to go with a “What if what you thought should be a happily ever after wasn’t? What if it was a nightmare?” I think that is my hook, but I don’t know for sure.

I have a few log lines, will you give me your thoughts, feedback, suggestions. Which one makes you want to read my book?



Simple:
When seventeen-year-old Jocelyn’s family is murdered by her betrothed, Prince Zven, she accepts help from a handsome soldier and a group of colorful pirates to blackmail the prince for her freedom.

Romantic Tension:
When Lady Jocelyn escapes certain death from the hands of her betrothed, she is forced to accept help from an unlikely source, the mysterious soldier Taggert, the man who her best friend has fallen in love with.

Dramatic:
For seventeen-year-old Jocelyn, being betrothed to the charming Prince Zven should've been perfect—instead it's hell. When she learns he has murdered her family and plans to poison the king, she must find a way to stop him and secure her freedom.

Ensemble (too much info?):
Happily ever after turns into a nightmare when seventeen-year-old Jocelyn discovers her betrothed, the handsome Prince Zven, has murdered her family and plans to murder the king. She enlists the help of a handsome soldier, a drunken rogue, and a jilted pirate princess to stop the prince and gain her freedom.

I just don’t know anymore. My brain is kind of mush. HELP ME!

-Angie 

27 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Dramatic was by far my favourite. They all work, but what I loved about it is that it gives an insight into the story without giving too much away, That makes me want to pick it up to find out more. :D

Becky said...

I like the simple one best, it gives me the feeling that Jocelyn is a girl of action - plus, colourful pirates!

Jack said...

Oh, I love the Ensemble one! TMI...I don't think so! I think it's great. It has everything I'd want in a movie, if it were a movie!

elizabeth seckman said...

I vote dramatic. 100%. It would sell me.

Brinda said...

I would be sold on the dramatic one.

Rena said...

I'm a fan of the dramatic pitch myself.

It wraps it up and gives your story a place to go.

(Is it bad that I read all pitches in the Movie Trailer Voice?)

Libby said...

I don't think I'm quite your target audience as this is a genre I don't read very often, but the Dramatic one is the one I would pay the most attention to. I respond a lot to stories that may do a send up of expectations, which your first line promises. Also, I know she's 17 and that's not necessary but for me it's set it up that she's becoming an adult and things are going to be harder for her because she's not rich in life experience and will have to make her own way out of a tough situation at a very young age. Her family is murdered (I would take out the word "has" because it makes it sound weaker). She's alone. She's young. There's action/adventure/intrigue/coming of age and bound to be romance as well. I think it's the most well rounded and the "grabbiest".

ilima said...

Honestly, the only one I'm NOT sold on is Romantic Tension. But if I had to choose, I'd go with dramatic because the voice comes through in that first line.

Andrea said...

I liked the Romantic one, maybe because I'm a romance junkie but that one would have had me reading the book. I also like the Ensemble.. but only suggestion would be maybe take out "plans to murder the king" and change it a little to something like.. and plans to take over the kingdom. idk. I am no expert, but I hope this helps :)

Melissa Sarno said...

I always believe that simple is best in these situations. The ensemble is also quite good. Good luck! :)

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

I don't think you can go wrong :) As you can see, there's one for everyone. I suggest you go with your gut. Which one sounds most like you? And I definitely like "Happily ever after turns into a nightmare" as your hook much better than the rhetorical questions you asked at the beginning. You've done a great job - Best of luck!

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Oh, I forgot to add that you could change the wording in the dramatic one (first line) so that it reads: should have been her happily ever after - instead its a nightmare. Sorry, I just really like that line :) HTH!

Jeff Hargett said...

Dramatic intrigues me most.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Those are great. I think I like the dramatic one the best, too.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Those are so good!

Hm. I hope I can explain what I'm thinking here. Excuse me if I'm long winded. :)

First reaction: I like simple best. "Jocelyn’s family is murdered by her betrothed" is pretty powerful stuff!

In the romantic tension one, having "Lady" right at the beginning sets the genre quicker. Whereas in the simple one, I was thinking contemporary, so I was thrown for a second when I read "Prince." And here's where genre comes into play. If this book's main genre is romance, then I'd play the romance angle. If it's more plot driven, and the main plot line is the murder / blackmail / killing the king / her securing her freedom, then don't focus on the fact that her best friend is in love with Taggert. It just muddies the water, and takes precious words. A girl put in a position to fall in love with someone her best friend is in love with is only unique when it's combined with your other elements. You want to make sure that the thing that makes your story different and unique and stand out above the rest is what you focus on.

I like the dramatic one. But as I'm rereading it, I wonder if that first line might be something that borders on being cliche. I mean, I like it! But I know agents see about a billion more pitches than I do. I think that it's vagueness might not give it the same punch that your other first lines have. Know what I mean? And I think that "blackmail the prince for her freedom" grabs you more and makes you root for her more than "she must find a way to stop him and secure her freedom," even though they are so similar. But I LOVE that you have in this one that he is charming! That tells a lot right there. That she had every reason to expect that things should've been perfect. And it adds a nice dichotomy with the fact that he's a MURDERER!

Ensemble: It almost felt like a different tone from the others. I don't know which one fits your book best. I think that "Happily ever after" lays down the expectation that the book at least starts out feeling like a fairy tale. If your book does start out that way, great! If not, maybe just think if that fits the tone. I REALLY LOVE "seventeen-year-old Jocelyn discovers her betrothed, the handsome Prince Zven, has murdered her family and plans to murder the king." It really packs a punch. I think I like that even better than the one in Simple. You could even add "and charismatic" after "handsome." In fact, I think I actually like the last sentence of the Ensemble one the best, too. I'm just unsure about how the first sentence starts.

So, I'm really just rambling on and on to say I'm kind of partial to a blend, with mostly Ensemble. Maybe something like this:

Seventeen-year-old Lady Jocelyn discovers her betrothed, the handsome and charming Prince Zven, has murdered her family and plans to murder the king. She enlists the help of a mysterious soldier, a drunken rogue, and a jilted pirate princess to find a way to stop the prince and gain her freedom.

Whew! Are you sorry you asked now? :)

Morgan said...

Dramatic 100%

The voice is the strongest in that one and not as generic ;)

Tara Tyler said...

first thots...dramatic, suggestion,

overcoming the devastation of losing her family, Jocelyn discovers the culprit is her fiance the Prince, and solicits help from unlikely hero, pirate soldier Taggert.

just having pirate in there spices it up!

Tara Tyler said...

wait, i think i got characters that help her transposed... you know what i meant!

Jessie Humphries said...

Wow, Peggy, what are you trying to do? Make the rest of us look bad? jk. That's some fine analysis. I think I agree (especially since I'm reading your book) that you want to capture your tone. Which is totally lyrical and adventurous. I wouldnt focus on Happily Ever After because we never got to see that part. I would focus on the strength of your story, the romantic adventure. That's why I like the last sentence of the Ensemble one.

How about:
When seventeen-year-old Lady Jocelyn discovers that her betrothed, the handsome and charming Prince Zven, has murdered her family and plans to murder the king, she vows to stop him. She enlists the help of a mysterious soldier, a drunken rogue, and a jilted pirate princess to cross the kingdom and gather the evidence needed to destroy the prince's plans and win back the freedom he so viciously stole from her.

I don't know. I hope that I dont muddy the water for you. Its just that is my favorite part of your book. Its what stands out for me: she is betrayed, wounded, and strong enough to stop him (without killing him or seeking revenge). Plus her travel companions are what make it really come alive!

Shallee said...

Simple and ensemble were my favorites! They got me the most interested.

Leigh Covington said...

Oh my gosh! So hard to choose! I think dramatic or ensemble though. :) Good luck girl! I know you can do it!

Angela Brown said...

Dramatic had me but I wonder if there would be a way to add a bit more drama, like, Seventeen year old Jocelyn's betrothal to Prince Zven begins a nightmarish spiral into hell. He murders her family he's plotting to kill the king. Her only hope for freedom and security for her country lie with the unlikeliest of allies, the rogue Taggart and his band of misfit pirates.

Not sure if I've taken literary licence with anything here. Sorry about that. :-)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like the simple one the best, especially the part about how Jocelyn's betrothed murdered her family; that, right there, caught my attention right away. I don't know much about the querying process since I haven't started it yet, but don't most agents prefer shorter pitches anyway? That's another reason why I like the simple one best.

Jackie said...

I LOVED the dramatic one the best! I'd totally read it.

Jackie said...

I LOVED the dramatic one the best! I'd totally read it.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'm just reading everyone elses comments because I was curious what they would say.

I have no opinion of my own. Just commenting so that I can say that I was here and read all of Peggy's huge comment.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

Dramatic sets your scene very well.

The ensemble one gives a lot of information so it is great but I am unsure if you would want to use all of it. If it is an elevator pitch, it could become a hint distracting...

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