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How To Write A Logline: 5 Key Tips To Remember (And 5 To Avoid)

How To Write A Logline

‘How to write a logline’ brings Bangers to this blog every single day.  Here’s a round-up of the topic, divided into DOs and DON’Ts. Ready? Let’s go …

A logline is a one-sentence summary of your story that outlines the conflict and sets up the stakes. It’s the boiled-down version of your story that you use to sell your script or project to industry pros like agents, producers or investors.

Here are 5 key tips on how to write a logline … and 5 to avoid!

1) DO: Keep it short and sweet!

Remember, a good logline is just a one-sentence summary. You don’t need to include any unnecessary details.

Just hit the important points to ‘sell’ your story to the person you’re pitching to. Does it make them excited, intrigued … or does it just sound like a re-hash of another movie or TV show to them? Why?

2) DON’T: Be Vague

A vague logline kills your chances. Be sure to test your logline as much as possible with friends – online or offline. Find out what they THINK your story is about from your logline. Is this correct, or way off-base? If the latter, work out why they might think this by asking them questions about how they see your story.

3) DO: Outline The Conflict

What is your protagonist up against? This is the crux of your story, so make sure it’s clear in your logline. Grab your free logline cheat sheet, HERE.

4) DON’T: Get Caught Up Character Feelings

The conflict should relate to the PLOT – ie. actual events or happenings – NOT the character’s personal, emotional journey. We want to know the story, NOT how the character feels undergoing it. A subtle difference, but crucial.

5) DO: Set Up The Stakes

What’s at stake if your protagonist fails? Again, this should be clear from your logline.

6) DON’T: Make It Intangible!

In your logline your story must be TANGIBLE, never intangible. Again, don’t focus on how the character FEELS if they fail … what bad things will literally happen if they fail?

This might be HIGH CONCEPT – ie. the world ends – or it might be CHARACTER-LED, ie. his wife leaves him and takes the kids. See the difference? It’s not about thoughts or feelings but literal happenings.

7) Make it intriguing

A good logline should be able to stand on its own. It should make whoever reads it want to know more about your story. So don’t give away too much, but do make it interesting.

8) DON’T: Be Afraid Of Spoilers!

Lots of writers think intrigue means hiding what really happens in a logline. Nope!

Whilst loglines on Netflix or Amazon should not reveal too much because they’re already produced, this is not the case in a PITCHING logline. So don’t worry about ‘spoilers’, there’s no such thing … yet.

9) DO: Be specific

In addition to being intriguing, a good logline should also be specific. Vague loglines are often a sign of an unclear story concept. So take some time to hone in on the plot, rather than thoughts or feelings.

10) DON’T: Describe ‘Around’ The Story

Lots of writers accidentally ‘hide’ what their story is about in their logline. I call this phenomenon describing ‘around’ the story … avoid it at all costs!

The most common way of doing this is by using clichéd language, such as a character needing to ‘face his/or her demons’. Another is ‘[character] has to learn to love and live again’. I see these two phrases ALL the time.

Other times writers a word that could mean ANYTHING … the most common in this case is ‘secret/s’. It really is a pesky word that can kill your logline DEAD.


If you can’t sum up your story in one sentence, then you don’t have a clear enough idea of what your story is about. Even if you have written your draft already, it might be an idea to go back and look at the ‘roots’ of your story. I call this the ‘baseline’ and you can find out what to do to fix it, HERE.

Good Luck!

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