Next stop: Synopsis. But the logline is broken.

Assuming that 198 random strangers treasured followers of this blog plus the random guy from Sudan who wandered in here don’t give my logline the big thumbs down, the next step in this process is to create a synopsis.

The logline (so far) is:

An orphan who joined the military returns to her home planet to stop her newly discovered family from a galactic takeover.

We break that down as follows:

An [orphan who joined the military] (protagonist) [returns] (active verb) to her home planet [to stop her [newly discovered family] (antagonist) from a galactic takeover] (active goal). It’s lacking stakes. It’s LACKING STAKES!

As you know, or don’t, the logline is the pitch, the sales of your book or movie. It is succinct and provides enough information so you could, say, describe your book to a stranger who asks, “what do you write?”

(Or you could do a Bob Mayer, who is a former Green Beret and I think I read likes to carry around extra copies of his books. When someone says, “what do you write?” he hands them a book. At least, I think it was Bob. If it wasn’t you, Bob, then someone else and I don’t remember where I saw it and I apologize because this is a fantastic idea. End parenthetical.)

And I’m not doing this because Kristin Lamb said to do it, nosir. Though I totally hope you look at that post if you haven’t, because it’s all about this.  Though, after re-reading that post, I may have to go back and redo my logline, because it’s gotta have protagonist, active verb, active goal, antagonist, stakes. Yeah, stakes. Bleh. See above.

Mine is a bit short for a logline – by about 9 words, but I’m not sure it needs more than that. The ideal for movies is 35-45, I think, based on mumble mumble I’m Not Sure Where They Came Up With This Number but Douglas King Said So Here. I found that link because it had that fabulous logline for the Wizard of Oz picture, and then I read the excellent article following it. Thanks Douglas!

Where was I?! Ah, yes, synopsis. Randy the snowflake guy says I’m to take a day, or a week, or a subjective period of time that fits my schedule and write four sentences scratch that, make that a paragraph about my entire story. Logline (expand it a bit to include the ending), three disasters, and the ending. That’s going to be my synopsis… which I haven not yet written. I will post my attempts at a paragraph synopsis in the next relevant post, though all my posts are relevant.

But what about the stakes in your logline, Pontius, you say?

That is, once I decide on the stakes and stick those in there. The gist is that the protagonist has to make a decision: Help the family or remain loyal to the Empire she swore an oath to? If you could assume total power by going back on your oath, or remain a nobody and be loyal to your oath to a collapsing power, would you do it? That’s the question. And that needs to be fixed in the story, so how to write that in to the logline?

You may comment at length about this. Have you done a logline? Will you do a logline? Do you even care about it?


2 thoughts on “Next stop: Synopsis. But the logline is broken.

  1. Actually, I think you have stakes–the galactic takeover. Your active goal is “to stop” that from happening. I like loglines because they’re a quick way to tell people what you’re writing without blathering on.


    • Hmmm, yes. The Galactic Takeover is shorthand, though, not sure it’s really galaxy-wide, in fact it’s a solar system, but that doesn’t ring as interesting: “Planetary Takeover.” It’s freaking space! And stuff. What to do?


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