Saturday, May 22, 2010

Posted by Laurel Garver on Saturday, May 22, 2010 24 comments
Today's Logline/Hook line blogfest is hosted by Bryan of The Time Guardian Blog. Check out the other entries HERE.

Bryan challegened participants to post one-sentence descriptions of their work for feedback--up to five different versions. I found the most help for tackling this challenge in Nathan Bransford's posts on one-sentence pitches as well as his comparison with one- and two-paragraph pitches.

Describing the story's bright core is the goal here. I've written pages of sentences before settling on the four below. My book's story question is "how do you survive--and thrive--without the peacemaker?" My unique elements are ghost apperances, a British setting and religious themes. None of my hooks manages to include all of these things, and each has a slightly different emphasis.

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1. A grieving teen’s dead father appears to her, opening a window into the family’s troubled past she must understand to build a new life without him.

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2. When her dead dad appears, Dani Deane believes he might have a task for her, like Hamlet, which will help her reconcile with her cold, atheist mother.

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3. A grieving teen hopes escape her workaholic mom and build a new life in England, then her dead dad begins appearing and the family’s past comes to light, challenging everything Dani thinks she knows.

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4. A grieving teen who hopes to build a new life in England must face the truth about her estranged mother when her dead dad begins appearing and the family’s troubled past comes to light.


Which version do you prefer? Any suggestions for trims or recombinations?

NOTE: I'm out of town this weekend but still desperately want feedback! I'll visit other entries as soon as I can!
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24 comments:

  1. I like number 4 the best. This is just based on the things I read when preparing my logline. There are no names to slow us down, and it flows the smoothest for me. I think you managed to get all the elements mentioned in the other loglines into this one without feeling clunky.

    :) Yay!

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  2. I would say 1 or 4. Agreed with Charity about the names. Though in 4, I would take out "who hopes to build a new life in England." That part doesn't seem needed.

    And maybe it's just me, but I almost might say "father" instead of "dad" . . . "dead dad" (plus the contrast with mother just before) felt like a different tone than the rest of the sentence.

    But otherwise great! So not easy writing a one-sentence pitch.

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  3. i like #4, but i agree with Janet. take out the "who" part and it would still make sense.

    i decided to play along at the last minute. thanks for letting us know about this latest fest.

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  4. I think I like 3 or 4 the best. (#3 needs a 'to').

    I find pitches hard - there's so much to squeeze in - and you can't make it clunky. You've done well!

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  5. This is so hard. I've done the same as you, writing and rewriting variations. Of these, #4 seems most clear, but I like #2 for giving us the Hamlet image to set a tone and context for what she is experiencing.
    One thing I wonder, though, is what you're saying about the mother. You present her differently as cold, atheist or estranged or workaholic. I think you need to decide what Dani's issue is with her that drives the pitch toward its end-goal. Also, I agree that "father" would be better than "dad" in this context.
    Thanks for putting these up, and I hope you enjoy the weekend!

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  6. I like 4 best :) Just reading through them I think it flows best and captures my interest.

    Loglines are so hard! You never realise until you try them but, like you, I found it difficult to capture all the key elements in one line. I think 4 sounds like it captures the heart of the story though :)

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  7. Good stuff! Right off the bat I would dismiss #1. Not that it's poorly written, but because you're missing the triangle.

    Huh, you ask? You only mention the girl and her dead father. But adding the mother gives you the triangle and a much deeper description that hints at layers of issues.

    With just dead dad, I think the story is about how a girl tries to cope with losing her father. Rather straightforward. But you add the mother to the mix, hinting of wrong-doing, and suddenly (especially with that Hamlet comment) I'm wondering if we're looking at an all-in-the-family murder. Much more intriguing!

    My vote is to use #4, but to add something about Hamlet in there to give the reader the chilling thought that mommy might be a killer.

    Great job, and thanks for joining in the blogfest!

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  8. I like number 4, too. Well done!

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  9. Like Charity and Tessa, I like #4 best. It flows the easiest in the mind as I read. Roland

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  10. Definitely #2. While the others are more descriptive, #2 is by far the most interesting and is the one most likely to hook a reader (at least it would hook me), which is what you want with a hook line. The others might work better as blurbs.

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  11. These are all interesting approaches. I will go with the pack and say that #4 felt like a better choice for me. #2 does have the nice image with Hamlet but the tone of it put me off because I keep wandering what's so wrong with the mom being an atheist. Just a personal issue on my part.

    Good entry to the blogfest.

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  12. I would actually go with #3 because it contains everything and I love it ended on the challenge.

    http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2010/05/hook-line-for-heart-to-mend-blogfest.html

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  13. I'm going with #4.

    Good job with all of them, though. Not any easy task.

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  14. I think 4 is strong, it gives the most complete images of what is going on in Dani's life.

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  15. I like number 4 as well. Its concise, gripping, and tells me everything I need to know about the story, conflict, and tone.

    Great job.

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  16. The beginning of #1 is really good. That's the inciting incident right? What sets the book in motion. I think it's good to start with that and then there are family secrets and a mother/daughter relationship to deal with - the obstacle and quest. So based on the one's you have listed, I would choose #1, but add some to it. Good stuff!

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  17. I like the #s 2 and 3, but having 'like Hamlet' is a bit distracting for me--it pulls me out of the groove of your hook. For number 3, I can feel an escapism when you mentioned her having a new life in England--a good hook there, and with that, everything she thinks she knows.

    Is there a way you can combine the two somehow? Great job!

    Tell me what you think of my
    logline!

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  18. I like number 4 the best. I don't mind #2 either; but maybe it is the placement of word Hamlet that decreases the flow of thought? Great work though! I need to do this soon for a short story submition. I'll be checking out those links you included!

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  19. Hey! Just doing some blog-hopping and came across your blog. Glad I did! And I'm definitely all about No. 4. Great job - and nice blog!!

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  20. I liked numbers 2 & 4; although number 4 is my favorite pick I think the phrase "grieving teen" might make people not want to read. No one really wants to be sad by knowing details about a grieving teen. But I liked 4 the most :)

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  21. I favor 1 and 4.

    For #1, I'd tweak the grammar a bit.

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  22. I like number four the best. It has enough information to hook and has a better flow. I would also change the word "dad" to "father". Reading "dead dad", to me, kind of broke that flow that I found so nice about the rest of the sentence.

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  23. My fave is #2. I like the precise language, the double D's, and the reference to Hamlet. I get a picture in my head of what's to come, evil, cover-up, spirits, and a MC who needs to sort it all out.

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  24. Thanks for the insighful comments, everyone! Sorry to not respond individually to comments. I'd like to spend that time instead visiting the other entries like a polite blogfester.

    I think I have considerable work to do on this still. I hate that none of the options show the voice of the piece. With a plot this complex, it will be hard to give any space to that, but I want to try in future drafts.

    Thanks, Bryan, for your thoughts on the "triangle" of father-daughter-mother being core. I think that will help me decide what to keep in and leave out as I rewrite. RaShelle did correctly pick up that the first one starts at the inciting incident and if it included the triangle concept might be an option.

    I'm on the fence about the Hamlet stuff if it gives the false impression the mother is a Gertrude character. The story conflict is not about the mother's "wrongdoing" per se as much as secrets and misunderstandings and differing values that have pushed mother and daughter apart.

    Marketing-writing has quite a learning curve! Can't wait to see how others tackled the challenge.

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