A logline is a one-sentence summary of your script or book explaining what your story is about. Think of the descriptions in TV guides that tell you about a movie. It's the grabber that excites your interest and helps you decide if you're interested in watching the show.
You must learn to express the story concept in one powerful sentence if you want an agent or producer to read your story. This is why many professionals will tell you to write down this one key sentence before you even begin writing. You can keep it in front of you while you write to remain focused. Then, when you are ready to query, you have the logline ready to capture attention.
The logline (the stories skeleton) generally consists of the following pieces of information:
1.The character – Identifies the hero/heroine. Try to use a well chosen adjective to describe your character such as “isolated farm girl”.
2.Their goal – they may have many, but only mention the most important. If she’s been isolated she’ll need to learn to interact in a social setting. Thus, you are showing conflict which leads to answering the next question.
3.The antagonistic force - You are showing she is in an unfamiliar setting. Woman vs. Environment. Does she also have a rival for her success in that setting? What are the consequences if she fails to live successfully in this new world?
Use action words when writing your logline and add descriptive words to create an image that will stay in the reader’s mind.
Pretend you are scrolling through your TV guide. Which of these would you watch?
Logline #1 – “A comedic portrayal of a young, broke Shakespeare who falls in love with a woman, inspiring him to write "Romeo and Juliet."
Logline #2 – “A journey of self-discovery by a brilliant mathematician diagnosed with schizophrenia who learns to triumph over tragedy and eventually receives the Nobel Prize.”
Logline #3 – “A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England's daughter and reclaim his ship.”
Logline #4 – “An Epic tale of a 1940s New York Mafia family and their struggle to protect their empire, as the leadership switches from the father to his youngest son.”
Did you recognize any of them?
1.Shakespeare in Love
2.A Beautiful Mind
3.Pirates of the Carribean
Did you know a lot of newer books contain a logline on the copyright page? See if you recognize this one.
“When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.”