A logline is an elevator pitch. Huh. I didn’t know that. Have I heard the term before and it went wooosh over my head, or have I just mostly heard people say “elevator pitch”?
If you aren’t familiar with either term, then basically an elevator pitch is a one-sentence hook for your novel that kind of goes Protagonist Needs Something But Can She Overcome Obstacle?
A while back, Nathan Bransford had a good post about writing one-sentence pitches. He basically summarizes the elevator pitch as “When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST.”
Here is Chuck Wendig’s cool recent post on loglines, which I just spotted.
The interestingness of this particular post comes in the comments, where writers present sample loglines — I’m thinking I prefer the term elevator pitch — and other commenters critique or comment.
I have tried writing elevator pitches for my books as an exercise and it is hard but interesting, plus people sure do ask you what your new book is about and believe me, that is IMPOSSIBLE to answer without boring them to tears if you try to actually describe your book. Never do that. Instead, it’s nice to have a prepared and memorized elevator pitch you can trot out for the occasion.
And you know what else? It’s a great logline that you need if you are mentioning your book or someone else’s book on Twitter. Because really, people, if you follow authors / bloggers / readers you see a whole lot of the YOU MUST BUY THIS GREAT BOOK I LOVED IT types of tweets, and first they all blur together and then they all get tuned out, unless a personal friend is tweeting about their own book or there’s some other special reason a particular comment catches your eye.
But one way to have a single book recommendation stand out from the crowd is to have exactly the right kind of logline.
I’m a sucker for superhero stories, so I like this one: “A couple of supervillains fall in love while fighting to reluctantly free a city from the tyranny of superheroes.” Nonperfect, but catchy.
Here’s one that’s very short but also catchy: “A black ops assassin atones for his brutal past by helping an alien abductee escape her fate.” I would take a second look if someone described a book to me that way.
If you have a minute, click over to Chuck’s post and let me know which potential logline, if any, would most make you take a second look at a book.
Also, this post reminds me of the long-running website QueryShark, only of course at QueryShark, Janet Reid focuses on queries. If you’ve never clicked over to that site, it can be fun to read through and interesting to see how one agent responds to specific elements of queries.