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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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Short Story #3

THE LAST TIME
There was once a young couple, who met outside ‘Lil Bistro Café two years ago in college. During which time, they fell madly in love with each other’s quirks and faults. She, with his insatiable outlook on love and life; He, with her inability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

He has planned an evening she will never forget. An evening that will mark the beginning of the end of his life, and the start of theirs.

They meet at the café, from which they first met, and have a lovely, yet awkward, meal. She took small bites, calming the uneasiness building inside her, and he tapped his fingers on the white table cloth relentlessly.

Later that night, he walks her to her apartment and whistles a tune into the brisk air. A tiny brown pup came bolting up to them. It’s a chocolate lab, and wrapped around it’s tiny neck is a bright pink ribbon. He incorporated two of her favorite things: chocolate, and pink.

Attached to the end of the bow was a tiny velvet box. Her gasp said it all, relieving some tension pitted inside him. He opened it, and her blue eyes twinkled with the stars disbelieving this is actually happening.

“Will you marry, us?”

She looks at him and the puppy, then graciously accepts his request.

But, he added one stipulation to his proposal: That they remain married until the demise of the puppy when he is old, frail, and weak with sickness, but continue to remain in love to the end of time.

She knew this particular breed is lucky to live past ten years. She’s heard from people in the past they knew of labs lasting well up to fifteen years. Though, she didn’t care. She wanted him, to be his wife, and mother of two, future, kids; One boy. One girl.

She agreed, thinking by that time he would waive it and his memory would fail to recall such a demand.

Five years passed. Their first child was born. A little girl, named after her mother, Emily.

By the seventh year, a boy named Scotty Jr. was blessed upon them.

Ten years had finally passed, and no more children have been placed upon them. Instead, her husband became weak, frail to the touch. He seemed vacant, and appeared much older than his actual age. It has always made her worry, but when the worry persisted, he would let her know that nothing is wrong in a life filled with love.

Early that morning, the poor dog, that was once a puppy, passed away. Broke everyone’s heart, while shattering hers. Because of this, and his constant reminder for the past few weeks, she knows what to expect next.

Later that night, her hands shook with nervousness. He clasped them tight in his, and whispered into her ear, “Always love me.”

She smiled, choking back inevitable tears. She tried to ask if she should be expecting papers by the morning.

But, he doesn’t respond.

His head begins to weigh heavy on her shoulder. “Well?” She presses.

“I love you, Honey.”

Becoming furious with his dismissal, she presses harder for answers. How could she love someone, knowing they are just going to leave her? She wants to know, needs to know, what the heck is going on with her marriage. Uncertainty almost kills her. “Tell me if we are staying together, or getting divorced. Now, Scott.”

No response.

She nudges him, as he typically nods off asleep there almost every night.

His head plopped down on her pillow. Then, she sees it…

Her cries, pleas, and chest compressions prove unworthy of her saving his life. He’s not waking up, and shaking trembles of tears weave down her ivory skin.

The next morning, she is alarmed of the news.

A letter, addressed to her, from Scott, ten years ago, lands inside the mailbox.

 

Dear Emily,

I hope you are not upset. You are the love of my life, and I never dream of ever hurting you. I never intended on leaving you, nor did I intend on allowing you to put your life on hold for me.

I have cancer, and I am dying. Doctors claim I am lucky if I survive ten more years. But, I am also dying to give you the life you deserve. I know of your plans to have two kids, and one dog, then to be married to me. I want to give you everything you ever wish for. And hope that it is enough to numb the pain you might wind up feeling the moment I slip away from you.

I love you, forever, and always. I hope you will, too.

Sincerely,

Scott

 

She stared up into the, mourning, sky, and whispers through the wind, praying he hears her, “I love you, always,” and wishes she would have said it back to him, the night before.
By: Amey Coleman

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Short Story #3

 

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