Friday, January 29, 2010

Log Lines

My obsession with one-liners continues.

For those who aren't writers, a log line is a one-sentence "poster quote" that hopefully makes people want to read the book or see the movie. When pitching a screenplay or trying to sell a manuscript, the log line is a single sentence that gives a thumbnail of the plot.

"A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea."

"A journey of self-discovery by a brilliant mathematician once he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He eventually triumphs over tragedy and receives the Nobel Prize."

"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to do it again."
((Fake) one for the WIZARD OF OZ, attributed to Richard Polito of the Marin Independent Journal. Thank you, Wikipedia!).

Some log lines don't give too much of the plot away, yet still give a wonderful sense of the piece:

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water."
(JAWS 2)

And some use comparisons to other works to make the connection, although these are usually less official. For example, they might appear in a review.

"PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, if Mr. Darcy was a vampire."

"TOP GUN on skiis."

"DOC HOLLYWOOD with talking cars."

I've been thinking about the best log line for MINDER, of course. Here are some of the things I've come up with so far:

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn doesn't just hear thoughts; she can kill with them. And when her boyfriend is abducted, she'll do whatever it takes to get him back.

Teenage mutants with superpowers - in love.


Now technically, none of these options is a single sentence. But I want to know, do any of them make you interested in the book? Which one(s)?


Osman said...

I believe option two is the best.

fairyhedgehog said...

I like Option 1 but I stumbled a bit on the first sentence. I think it's because she hears other people's thoughts but those aren't the thoughts she uses to kill people. (Or are they?)

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for the feedback, Osman and Fairyhedgehog!

How about:

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn can hear other people's thoughts, but her own can kill. And when her boyfriend is abducted, she'll do whatever it takes to get him back.

fairyhedgehog said...

That looks good to me, Bear.

StephTheBookworm said...

I love the first one. My only suggestion is that it might be slightly too long. It is definitely VERY intriguing though! It makes me want to read the book! :)

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks, Steph! I've tried shortening it, but when I cut a phrase, the feel of it changes.

StephTheBookworm said...

I understand just what you mean. Whenever I try to cut something out of a story I've written, even just eliminating one word or phrase can change the whole thing. Anyways, it really does sound fantastic, and I look forward to reading this book one day! :)

Keisha Azzalea said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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