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Batter Up!

Batter Up!

How To Pitch Like A Pro Baseball Player

Oh, wait! This isn’t baseball. But I am talking about different types of pitches today. So, this title should be…

How To Write A Logline To Pitch Like A Pro Author

Now, I have to ask, what is with all these pitches? Haha! No, but on a serious note, you may have probably heard the term logline, or pitch. Right? Here is the difference:

  • Logline, according to this, is defined as ‘a brief (usually one-sentence) summary of a television program, film, or book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest. A one-sentence program summary in TV Guide is a log line.’ Check these out for examples, and further explanation:
  • Pitch, according to this, is defined as ‘a form of words used when trying to persuade someone to buy or accept something.

So, first, you will need a logline, only then it will be pitched to sell.

There is no one single way to write a logline. There are several different ways, and I will share what I have learned here over the past few years. I will give examples from the most recent books I have read.

First, let’s jot down some notes about your story on a sheet of paper, if you are currently stuck on how to present your logline, and we will see if we can use any of them:

  1. Who is your protagonist?
  2. What is the inciting incident?
  3. What is the external problem your character faces? (or, what is your character’s external goal?)
  4. What is your character’s internal problem? (or, what is the internal problem your character faces in attempts to confront her external goal?)
  5. What is the theme of your story?
  6. What are the stakes your character faces, or will face, if goal is not obtained. (stakes: love, loss, death, life, etc).
  7. Where/when does your story take place?
  8. What is your character’s basic desire?
  9. What is the rising action?
  10. Vaguely describe the ending in a few words.

Now, I will give examples below of the various logline styles. Yes, I say, “Styles”. Because, there are many different types of loglines I have seen or read, and they are never built the same. Each one, in some way or another, varies from one after the other. But, not too much. There are only so many certain combinations in the world, and some are bound to be noticed, or repeated.

 

Logline Style #1

In (town/era/place), (main character) struggles to (overcome/kill/save/stop/etc.problem) in order to (solution).

Example: (one I came up with just now) In Ice Point, teenager Trinity Michaels struggles to pull herself together in order to prove her father’s inexplicable existence.

Logline Style #2

Main character and their emotional state who wants a basic desire discovers/learns something new, but there is something different/odd about it and tries to find the solution while facing problem.

Example: (From E.T.) A shy, young suburban boy who wants to be noticed discovers a strange, but friendly, alien living in his shed and tries to help him get home while keeping his existence a secret.

 

Logline Style #3

When external story quest(or internal story quest) forces character to confront her internal problem(or external problem) she faces (stakes/plot/theme).

 

Other Logline Styles:

  1. Use an excerpt/sentence from the actual story that relates to what your story is mostly about.
    The Obsession by Nora Roberts uses “She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”
  2. Use a mind puzzling statement, that makes you wonder, not confused.
    Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben uses “You think you know the truth. The truth you know nothing.”
  3. Use a belief the character has, and turn it into a statement that signals a type of truth he/she learns.
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah uses “In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.”
  4. Or, make a promise.
    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins uses “This debut psychological thriller will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.”
    However, this is not typically recommended. A lot of publishers shy away from such a promise, because many people have used this and failed to deliver costing them money out of pocket just to make up for the difference. And, it kind of sounds arrogant and pushy.

 

Here are some other key points used:

  1. As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark uses character, goal, turning point in it’s logline.
    …a news reporter tries to find her birth mother just as she is assigned to cover the high-profile trial of a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.
  2. The Martian by Andy Weir uses date, character, inciting incident, and then stakes in it’s logline.
    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
    Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

 

Well, I hope this helps you out. Also, if you have anything to add from your observation feel free to share below. It’s nice to gain perspective from other stories I have not read yet.

**update**10/17/16: I found a way to quickly come up with a log line on the spot. Try googloing, or pretend you are, about related stories to yours. If you’re unsure if your story can be compare to something try-“is there a story about…(insert big picture of what your story is about or the kick that starts the story then vague resolution)”. Not only will you find relateable stories, but you will have also unknowingly created a logline minus the “is there a story about” part.

Be sure to check out my post: Notable Sites For Writers

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Logline Styles, Posts by Author, Tips

 

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Character Driven VS. Plot Driven

Character Driven VS. Plot Driven

What is the difference between Character Driven Stories and Plot Driven Stories?

These two, while similar, are actually quite different from one another. The key thing to remember is the subtly in them both. Here I will explain them in a way that helps me grasp the difference, and I hope will help you, too.

What does Character Driven mean?

If the characters’ flaws, faults, dislikes, fears, and/or dreams pertain the plot, and significantly influences the story when they are used against the character, or not, at each plot/scene point, and if taking them out of the story risks your story falling flat and contrived, then it is CHARACTER DRIVEN.

It is knowing something about someone, or self, and choosing whether or not to act on that information, and how it will affect the rest of the story, if at all. In Character Driven stories, often, these instances will affect the story as a whole as it pertains to the character, and story. Without the character, there is no story. In these stories, characters are given free will.

Quote: “Everything happens for a reason.”

Character Driven Plots:

  1. The Quest
  2. The Transformation

Character Driven Stories Tend To Have, Or Be, The Following:

  1. Memorable Characters
  2. Fatalistic Plots
  3. Coincidental Happenings
  4. Theme
  5. Timeless
  6. Not Always A Happily Ever After
  7. Teaches (Not Preaches) Life Lessons
  8. Internal Conflict, Physical Stress
  9. Typically Written in First Person POV
  10. Literary Fiction

 

What does Plot Driven mean?

PLOT DRIVEN is not knowing, caring, or learning about something(or someone)new, and the character is forced to push through the motions/actions, or risk losing everything they hold dear, such as, life and love. This ultimatum creates a new fear for the character that they otherwise had no idea they had, or ever had to worry about before all of those occurrences.

However, a successful Plot and Character Driven story tends to incorporate character development, plus plot development, which resonates well with the audience, and creates memorable characters, stunning plot movement, and leaves the audience moved beyond their means. Typically, for an action packed thriller, no one cares about character development, but I believe that best suits for television, considering most people read to be moved and thrilled. Not just one or the other. Same for the tear jerked movies/shows. People do not care for the thrilling aspects as much as they do as the emotional calling card found on screen versus read in a book.

Quote: “Some things happen by chance, to show us an unexpected twist of fate.”

Plot Driven Plots:

  1. The Pursuit
  2. The Riddle

Plot Driven Stories Tend To Have, Or Be, The Following:

  1. High Concept Story-line
  2. Told in Third POV
  3. Predictable Ending
  4. External Conflict, Internal Stress
  5. Genre Fiction
  6. Formulaic Story
  7. Typically Free of Theme
  8. Effect after Effect
  9. Obstacle after Obstacle
  10. Statement of Happenings

 

 
 

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Notable Sites For Writers

Notable Sites For Writers

These following sites, I have collected over the past year, were found to be helpful, and beneficial to me. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, but these hit right on the nose. Also, check out these two bloggers: Jami Gold and Jane Friedman. They are amazing at what they do!

Where to Submit Your Story:

  • Authors Publish gives articles extremely helpful to many authors and this link takes you to the article ‘Top 25 Publishers for New Authors’.
  • Galley Cat is known for their extensive knowledge on what agents and publishers want. This link will direct you to the article I found most helpful ’23 Literary Agent Query Letters That Worked’.
  • The Write Life is known for helping authors create, connect, and sell their works. This link directs you to their article ’27 Free Writing Contests’.
  • Harper Collins is a well known publisher and currently seeks manuscript submissions from unsolicited authors.
  • Kindle Scout is fairly new, and not a popularity contest as many would have believe. This is an amazon affiliate. Here is what they said about the contest:

    Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

  • Strange Horizons I am not all too familiar with, but various members of writing groups I attend has mentioned them before to me. So, if you have any insight on them and how they operate, don’t be afraid to share your experiences.

 

Story Ideas:

 

Generators:

 

Developing Solid Concepts, Blurbs and Log-lines:

 

Character Creation:

 

Find Your Theme:

 

Screenwriting Sites:

 

Story Structure and Manuscript Format:

 

All Things Query Related:

 

Others:

 

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Build A Character, Part One

Character Arc: “They start out (fill in weakness), but become (fill in their turn around).”

  1. Example: Sara starts out (heart-broken), but becomes (independent).

Character Roles: These are the roles, in which, each character should or might have in your story.

  1. Protagonist
  2. Antagonist
  3. Mentor- Protagonists’ conscious
  4. Tempter- Hates Protagonist as does the antagonist
  5. Sidekick- Friend of Protagonist
  6. Emotional- Intuitive
  7. Logical- Intelligent
  8. Skeptic- Lone objector, does not hate Protagonist

Main Characters: 60% good, 40% bad

Others: 90% good, 10% bad

Villain: 40% good, 60% bad

Friend of Main Character: 60% good, 40% bad or 50/50

(This is just a guide, always do what your characters want you to do)

 
 
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