Monday, April 4, 2011

Loglines or hooks

The weekend was good. I got some writing in and finished that ARC. So, yeah, a review will be posted this week. :)

Loglines or hooks. You know those one or two line pitches that basically sum up your entire story. Those simple, little things that you're supposed to throw out there when someone asks, "What's your novel about?" You see them on book jackets and on movie posters. Easy, right?

Do you have one?

I know some of you are totally prepared and have one made up for every manuscript you've written. Some of you, I see your blank faces. I'm not writing this to scare you or put pressure on you, but it may help you be more prepared if someone asks that dreaded question, along with getting that request for a full, which will lead to getting that agent who will sell your amazing manuscript to that big time publisher, then... Okay, I'm probably going overboard, but you never know.

Another benefit--to help write your novel. If you can sum it up in one or two lines, then I think it may keep you focused on the main idea. Some say you should come up with one before you pound your novel out on the keys. Simple. (I'm being sarcastic.)

I've been trying to come up with loglines, mainly to see if I can. I haven't been super successful, but I'm working on it.

Let's break it down:
What's the point?

Basically, what I said before--
1. To help push someone to read the rest of that query letter you worked so hard on.
2. Conveys the main plot of your novel.

How do you do this?
Let me just say, "It's not easy." I've yet to come up with one that even makes sense.  A logline or hook is basically made up of these elements.
1. Main character-A little something about your hero. Who are they?
2. The villian- A little something about this guy or gal and the conflict they create. What is the conflict? Who are they?
3. What makes your book shine? Basically, what makes it unique? What makes it different from the rest?
4. Where does your story take place? Some brief words on the setting.
5. A little action.

Here are some examples (None of these are mine, obviously):

Sixteen year old Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a brutal future reality TV show where twenty-four participants compete, but only one survives. THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins.

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away. THE DARK DIVINE by Bree Despain. Yes, this is more than two lines, but fine.

Seventeen year old Bella Swan falls in love with vampire Edward Cullen only to find out he might want to kill her more than love her.  TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer.

I have links, people. These awesome links explain this little topic so much better than me. So, go there. Like now.

The Guardian Writer (Melissa Dean) --Loglines

Words, Etc. Kat O'Keeffe-- Loglines

Author Michelle McLean--How to write a hook line or logline.

YA author Elana Johnson-Writing the Query Letter --Part One : The Hook You know she rocks.

Books that might help:
Elana Johnson's From Query to Call

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Anything to add?

Have you written a logline or would like to share one?

How was your weekend?

Let me just say, this post too so long to write. The kiddos were on fire this morning. I don't mean that literally. You know. Okay, it's morning. I must go wake up now.

Have a great day!!


  1. Love the post. I did a logline blogfest last year and it was certainly tricky putting in all the juicy details in once short sentence. :O)

  2. I practiced loglines when I tried to write some screenplays. Reading this makes me want to go back to them. The main thing is to forget all the myriad details in the book and just focus on the main theme, then it's not so difficult.

    The loglines you quoted are some of the best.

    Good post.

  3. Great resources here! I do write mine before I start writing but it usually changes.

  4. I've worked on a log line and think it's getting pretty close to perfection. With Elana's book Query to the Call I was able to really push out a query letter and log line to feel proud of!

  5. Great post! I need to read Elana's Query book but I've read the cat one and I LOVE it! I don't really have a logline yet, but I think I could come up with one. Although, it would've been really hard to do before I had a complete MS.

  6. Loglines are difficult to write. Thanks for all the links. When I have to write one, I'll come here for advice.

  7. Great post. Log lines are so rediculously hard to write, and I've seen some agents say they don't want to see them in query letters because they're 'gimmicky'. It's hard to know what's right and what isn't.

  8. yes, I do have a logline, and yep, it took fuhevah to get it the way I like it. Still tinkering, actually~ :D

  9. Thanks for this post. It's been really helpful, Christine. Loglines are always a challenge for me. Congratulations on the good work you've done on your WIP!

  10. Great post. I'm terrible at one/two line pitches. Practice, practice, practice, right? :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Marie at the Cheetah

  11. Awesome post. I'm heading off to check out these links and write my logline! Bookmarked this page too.