A NaNo Novel & More

Planning: Logline 2

Working on my logline for the novel today, and thought you might be interested in watching the rough draft of it come to life.

Here, as a reminder, is the basic logline idea:

“When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn’t [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES].”

Also, if you want to see some loglines in action, check out Miss Snark’s First Victim, where she’s doing logline critiques. They’re great examples, and might just get your motor humming!

And here I go:

1st TRY: When a legendary mercenary promises to save the children of magic, no matter the cost, she has no idea that she will be engaged in a life-long struggle. If she doesn’t succeed, the world of magic will disappear.

NOTES: Ick, right? Boring. We don’t know who the main character is, or who is trying to defeat her. And the stakes are not high enough. Magic will disappear? Who cares? Back to the drawing board.

2nd TRY: When a legendary mercenary loses the magical child she has promised to protect to the G&G, she knows she must risk everything — her heart, her future, her friends and even her life — to get the girl back, unarmed. If she doesn’t, the G&G will use the girl’s magical genes to create a wooded world so dark and bloody that not even the moon will be able to survive.

NOTES: A little overwrought for my standards. And a little too general. There are a lot of big-meaning words (heart, future, etc) but they don’t actually mean anything. Somewhere between those two would be good.

3rd TRY: Crim is the last Petit Chaperon, one of those sworn to protect the few bits of magic that remain in the world. However, the ever-mechanical world has moved on without her, and most days, that means keeping the museum clean and keeping her weapons at the ready, just in case. When she hears word that a magical child has been found, Crim knows that this is what she has been waiting for — she must save the girl. But Crim is not the only one who wants her; the G&G is hunting her as well, and if the girl falls into the wrong hands, everything and everyone that Crim knows and loves will be gone.

NOTES: Not all the way there, but it feels stronger. It’s too long still and unwieldy — you can almost see my brain working as I attempt to figure out what the really important bits are in the story — but it has some of the voice that I’d like to see and it shows more clearly who and what are at stake this time. Also, I realized that Crim does far more than keep the museum clean, which means that I’m rethinking her role right from the start. Lastly, the consequences aren’t yet dire enough to really make for big reading. Yes, all those she loves will be gone, but there’s a world-wide consequence that I haven’t quite put my fingers on yet.

So, a good solid start for a logline, but not quite nailed yet. I’m going to do a synopsis here soon, and usually that helps clarify the logline for me.

Also, if the logline doesn’t quite make sense to your particular way of planning and thinking, I wanted to recommend the Snowflake Method as another way of getting organized. I know that author Kathleen Bradean is using it this year, and I used it once myself in the past. If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you!

Writing beneath the moon, s.

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6 responses

  1. kmthouston

    This is great to see…I’m working on mine too & it’s still very much in your example #1 stage. Having only this week learned what a logline even was, I’m happy to have it broken down even further here.

    October 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

  2. Oh, good, glad it helped. I’m putting it away for a day or two, and will go back to it then, once I’ve had some time to finish the synopsis and mull it over! Gotta’ get those consequences/stakes a little higher!

    October 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  3. Pingback: Planning: Synopsis « What the Moon Saw

  4. Pingback: NaNoWriMo (or… what in the hell am I doing?) « Annette's Musings

  5. Pingback: Planning: Getting It All Together « What the Moon Saw

  6. Thanks so much Shanna for your advice. I hope to have this and the synopsis completed by tonight, possibly tomorrow. I have the general idea, and notes, but have to tie up the loose ends and get my plan in order. Almost there.

    October 30, 2010 at 9:35 am

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