Saturday, May 22, 2010

Logline Blogfest

Thanks to Bryan at the Time Guardian blog for this blogfest on what is probably one of the most difficult tasks for any novelist: a one-sentence summary of the plot.

How in heck do you put a 100,000 words into one sentence and still make it interesting and different from everyone else's? Ah, the eternal question!

So, here is my best attempt for my work in progress, The Golden Gryphon.

A duty-driven Ranger and an appealing young maiden conspire to stop a charismatic prince from murdering his older brother and invading their homeland with an army of battle-trained lions and magically animated rock men.

Here's a second version:

Faldur, a duty-driven Ranger, and Marenya, an appealing young maiden, combine their talents to stop a  magically gifted prince from murdering their friend - his own brother and the heir to throne - and taking over the kingdom with his army of trained lions and soldiers created from animated rocks.


  1. Good entry for the blogfest. Of the two, I'd probably pick the first one. The overall story does sound interesting and a good read.

    I'm not too fond of the "appealing" part though, with either, because it is meant to be interesting but comes off kinda generic to me. The descriptive words in front of the characters come off a little forced to me but they seem to be common fare from the other entries in the blogfest.

  2. A log-line or "hook" is generally 25 or less words that summarize the book. That being said, the first one fits better than the second, however I would cut it further.

    A duty-driven Ranger and a beautiful girl conspire to stop a charismatic prince from murdering his older brother and invading their kingdom with indestructable warriors.

    It's hard, very hard, but that's the gist you want to portray. Just enough to share the story.

  3. I like the first one the most. Appealing makes your heroine sound like all she has to offer is her looks. I truly hate these things...if I could summarize my 400+ book in a sentence I'd be a poet, not a fiction writer. 0_o

    Great post.

  4. Duty-driven Ranger, Faldur, and appealing young maiden, Marenya, conspire to stop a charismatic prince from murdering his older brother and invading their homeland with an army of battle-trained lions and magically animated rock men.

  5. What a fun sounding story. Version 1 for sure! Oh, the joys of a one-liner. magically-animated rockmen sound sexy. =D

  6. I liked the second one, it gave a bit of a picture when you gave names and clarified the prince part. I agree with Dawn regarding the "appealing"...

    I tightened this a bit. I don't think you need to put in there that he's trying to take over the kingdom because it is already understood when you mentioned that the brother is heir to the throne. ;)

    Duty-driven Ranger Faldur, and young maiden Marenya, combine their forces to stop the magically gifted prince from murdering his brother - their friend and heir to the throne - with his army of battle-trained lions, and magically animated rock men.

    Come by and check out my logline! -d

  7. Thanks. It's hard to come up with a way to describe Marenya. I originally said "a shy noblewoman" but she's technically not nobility, and she isn't that shy. She's just culturally passive, until she has this adventure.

    She's the daughter of his deceased Captain whom he's watched over for years and who is secretly in love with him, but that was too complicated for a logline.

  8. Anne, I understand what you are saying about getting the gist across. However, from reading a lot of professional loglines and especially reading contest entries, I've come to the conclusion that content is more important than rhythm, and that we need to focus on not just the basic story, but what makes it *different*.

    The version you proposed sounds a lot like any other medieval fantasy. So that's why I tried to give a few more specifics. I've never mentioned the rock people before because it sounds so wild. But it certainly makes it different. And I've tried to introduce them in the novel in a cool, creepy way so that it doesn't seem silly.

  9. I'm also a big proponent of not worrying so much about sticking to a 25-word limit, but rather focusing on the unique characteristics of the story.

    So maybe I've gone too far along that route and need to tighten my logline, but I think yours is doing well.

    Thanks for joining in!

  10. Love the first one, it sounds so original and exciting! The second one's a tad too long and overwrought, I think.

  11. I vote for the second one. Both ways sound like a good read.

  12. I like the first one the best. They both have the same information in them, but the second one starts to get a little too wordy.

  13. Hi,

    Hard call, no doubt about it: summarising a plot in one "long" sentence.

    Have to say I prefer the first logline, and if I had to summarise on the same plot, I'd go for:
    Marenya's secret love for Faldur - a duty-driven ranger - comes to light as they combine their talents to prevent a magically gifted prince from invading their friend's kingdom with warrior lions and magically animated rock men: *name's* intention to kill his brother and reign supreme.

    Good luck and best wishes for success!

  14. Hey, I just realized that the word "appealing" should be replaced with "naive." It's really partly a coming-of-age tale on Marenya's part.

    Francine, I like your version. The only problem is that it makes the story seem as if it's told from M's POV only. Actually, the first chapter is entirely from F's POV, so it might seem misleading. I found this out when I was getting feedback on the query - that I can't use just one person for the description if it's from multiple POV's.

  15. Hi Christine,

    Sounds like a harder call that first imagined.


    Glad I'm not doing it! ;)




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