What's Your Log Line?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
"What's your book about?"

Ever heard that line, only to resort to a spread-out, strung-together diatribe about the contents of your novel? Thirty minutes later, the friend who uttered the question has dozed off and you're still explaining the intricacies of chapter one.

When my new critique partner asked that very question, I knew I couldn't make that mistake.

So, I grabbed an idea from a college writing class from 30 years ago and narrowed my response. Short. Sweet. To the point.

I used a log line, a scriptwriting technique used to entice agents and producers to pursue your script.

Consider it an elevator speech for your book.

A log line is a spot on, short explanation that includes information about the protagonist, the protagonist's goal, and the antagonist. Keep these additional questions in mind while writing a log line for your book:

  1. What genre is your novel?
  2. What makes your main character stand out?
  3. What kick-starts the conflict?
  4. What happens to the protagonist if she fails?

A log line can be particularly helpful when attending a writing conference or pitch session, when time is of the essence and a you need to give the agent or editor a clear vision.

So, I'll ask the question once again. What's your book about?

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of her work at her website.


Sarah Butland said...

My log line for Arm Farm, my first young adult novel is:

Natalie is studying forensic sciences to solve a cold case but quickly finds herself a victim in her own investigation.

The advice I live by is to make the short pitch a one-liner. Once you have the listener hooked you can then elaborate.

Thanks for letting me share. What is your most recent one?

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