‘Logline help’ is one of the top searches that lead writers to this blog. It’s also something that leads people to the Bang2writers Facebook Group, where writers can post their loglines to the wall for feedback from their peers.
There’s loads of advice online about how to write a logline, but unfortunately writers still find it extremely difficult. It’s tough to know what the most important things are in a good logline. What should we include? What should we leave out? Yikes!
All this means writers end up making lots of logline classic mistakes. The biggest is probably describing ‘around’ the story, meaning the writer is being too vague and/or not focusing on the most compelling bits of the story. You can find out more classic mistakes HERE.
By the way, loglines are not just for pitching scenarios. They can act as a great ‘baseline’ when we start a new project, plus they can help carry on through the drafting process, too.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea to start a project with a logline like this, in order to ‘break story’. I call it a ‘baseline’. I also use ‘baselines’ in my novels.
Since writers so frequently make the same mistakes, having a baseline can be really useful in creating the end logline for pitching purposes, too. I think all writers can benefit from them, because it means writers can make informed decisions as their projects evolve/change through the drafting process.
New B2W Resource
Since Bang2writers are always asking me for help on all this then, I thought it was time for a new B2W resource. So here is the all-new B2W Logline Cheat Sheet!
As you will see, there’s a formula for your logline to help ‘focus’ your story, as well as a number of questions to help you consider what you need in it. This should (hopefully) mean you don’t end up being too vague, or describe ‘around’ the story.
- The ‘very important’ questions are those non-negotiables that HAVE to be in your logline. These are the elements that pique our interest, or help us understand what is going on. The first three are fairly self-explanatory. I have included the question about failure because that relates to the stakes, something a lot of writers struggle with … Yet the nature of potential consequence makes a story COMPELLING (whether those consequences are literal, metaphorical, or both).
- The first three answers to ‘important’ questions may find their way into your logine, or they may not (dependent on genre or style, especially). Even if they don’t, you still need to know the answers to help you write your draft and/or discuss your project in meetings. ‘Why this story?’ – or variants of it – shouldn’t be in the logline, but still helps you focus whilst you write. It’s also a question that is very likely to come up in meetings later.
The resource is available HERE on this post and on the B2W Resources page to download as a PDF. (It’s also in black/white too). Simply click the link above, the pic below to grab your copy on The B2W Resources page. Best of luck with your projects!
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