Saturday, January 28, 2012

Contest Alert: Logline and 100 Words

It's contest time again! How about we help each other out on this one?

The contest is over at QueryTracker, and it starts Monday at 9:00 am EST. You'll need a free QueryTracker registration (which you want anyway) to access the submission form that will be available bright and early Monday morning (depending on your time zone).

Once the form is live, you'll need to use to submit your one-sentence logline and first 100 words.

The contest will be judged by Natalie Fischer Lakosil, Assistant Agent at the Bradford Literary Agency. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and on her blog.

According to the QueryTracker announcement, this contest is open to the following genres:
Commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book to teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), and upmarket women’s fiction. Specific likes within those genres include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and middle grade with heart.

Head over to the official announcement for full details.

Feeling nervous? Me, too.  I haven't tried to write a logline in a looong time, and all my old efforts sound quite sub-par.

So I propose, over the next day and a half, an exchange of logline crits for those of you who would like to. Mine is below, and I'd appreciate any and all comments on it. If you want me to critique yours, leave a link and post it on your blog (or even in the comments here) and I'll stop by sometime tonight or tomorrow. Feel free to post your first 100 words, too, though I'm going to be focusing on my logline.

Ready? Here's my one-sentence logline:

When human-pixie hybrid Brina starts making more pixie dust than a half-breed should, her status slips from strange to bizarre . . . and a group of ruthless rebels see the perfect chance for a coup.

Rip, tear, shred, and let me know if you need similar assistance. :) Good luck!


  1. I've been debating whether to enter.

    I love your logline. The book sounds awesome!

    1. You should totally enter. Well, only enter if your book is complete, edited, and ready for querying. But if all that is true, you can't lose. Contests are the best way to get free feedback!

      And thanks! :)

  2. Thanks for heads up. Not sure if my ms fits into those categories, but it never hurts to try. Your logline sounds great. My only comment is to be sure you clarify what the coup is about, who it's over.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. Where I only have a sentence, do you think it's essential to explain the coup? The who-why-what of the coup is actually rather convoluted.... If it's a huge turn-off to mention it without explaining it, though, I might be able to find a different way to end the logline.

    2. Well, obviously the coup is important so you should mention it, but just a few words. What is the end result of the coup should it take place? Will they take over the pixies or what?

  3. I'm thinking about entering this contest, though I've never written a logline before. I can't find anything wrong with yours-- it definitely makes me want to read the story.

    Here's mine:

    When fallen angel Iain crashes through Arabella's roof, Arabella must choose to help clear his name, or turn her back on the fate of a world she swore she would never become a part of again.

    1. Ohhh, I've seen your book around and it sounds so fun! You should totally enter!

      I love the logline, but it seems slightly wordy. Is there a way to punctuate it or condense it? What if instead of the choice between helping and turning her back, you talk about her getting sucked into a world [insert very good reason she left] in order to clear his name?

      Just a thought. It's good as it is, really. :)


    2. Thanks! Yeah, the last bit is a little wordy. She leaves because of the death of her sister but it just didn't seem as good of a hook, so I decided to leave it out. How about this:

      When fallen angel Iain crashes through Arabella's roof, she must choose to help clear his name, or turn her back on the fate of a world she swore never to return to.

    3. How about:

      When fallen angel Iain crashes through Arabella's roof, she's driven to help clear his name - but to do that she'll need to care about the fate of a world that killed her sister.

      Might not be accurate, though. What do you think?

    4. Hmm... it sounds good, but unfortunately is not an accurate reflection. It's not that she doesn't care about the world her sister died in, it's that she's been too emotionally unstable until recently to go back to it. And I think the other wording gets across the concept that she really would rather NOT help Iain, LOL.

    5. Oooh... this brings up lots of question in my mind that I would have to read the book to find out, right? :) I do like the change to "... swore never to return to."

      Honestly, this sounds like a genre I don't read, so I am probably not the best at this one.

      If you scroll down and see what I said about Robin's, you will see that I definitely have trouble comprehending complicated character types in the first few words. So the problem may just be me. :) But maybe consider "When Iain crashes through Arabella's roof....must choose to help clear the fallen angel's name...."

      So that might be totally wrong in this genre to not lead with the fact that he's a fallen angel. But when I constructed this, I did wonder, when he fell through the roof was that the exact moment he fell when he became "fallen" and cast out for some reason, or was he a fallen angel in his world? Which gets me around to the question is the world she has to decided to save a bad and scary one of fallen angels? Or is it a good one where her sister happened to die? Oh dear, I think I am over-thinking this! See, told you this made me think of lots of questions I would have to read the book to find out! But if this is kind of a scary-paranormal rather than light-paranormal, you might want to add something to allude to that.

      The book sounds really interesting!

    6. Thanks! I always try to make the reader ask questions when I write, whether it's a pitch or a chapter, so it seems like I'm on the right track. Iain became fallen right before he crashed through Arabella's roof. :)

      It's not a scary paranormal, although there are definitely some intense scenes, and the opening is rather... shocking, lol.

      Thanks so much for the feedback! :D

  4. I love your logline, Robin! It's awesome and made me smile. So much is covered in so few words.

  5. Robin, first I wanted to say, great blog. I've only recently discovered the wonderful world of internet query contests and its been a wonderful source of information.

    Second, for my suggestions for your logline, I pillaged from your full query letter posted on Jaimie Ayers's blog.

    When human-pixie hybrid Brina’s pixie dusk is stolen by drug traffickers and her ability to make surplus dust discovered, she goes from oddity to dangerously different, giving a group of ruthless rebels the perfect chance for a coup.

    Third, I'm still tinkering with my logline, so may post later soliciting critque. Thanks again for the FYI on the contest.

  6. Thanks, Eric! Always fun to be recognized! :) I look forward to reading yours. :D

  7. I loved your logline the firs time I read it! I thought it sounded like a really interesting story so what do you need to change? But then I thought I would try to be critical.

    When I read it again I remembered that I stumbled over the first few words the first time I read it and had to start over to comprehend "human pixie hybrid." And then I also noticed that "human pixie hybrid" and "half-breed" both give the same information.

    Maybe think about starting with: When Brina starts making more pixie dust than a half-breed should...

    I think if you need to free up another word to make your word count, "ruthless rebels" is also redundant.

    I also wondered what sort of position of power she would be in for this to be a situation for a coup.

    I just now read through some other comments and you said the coup was complicated. So I'll ask some question and see if they help you out. Is Brina Queen? Heir? Are half-breeds looked down on? Is the coup because Brina is making too much pixie dust? Can you simply say something like "With Brina's magical powers/health/identity in crisis, some rebels find it the...." So all of those presumptions I made there were probably wrong, but maybe in correcting what's wrong it will give you an idea.

    On the other hand, I thought the book sounded interesting just the way it was, so if you like it the way it is, don't change it! :)

  8. Great . . . thanks for adding another thing to my Sunday to-do list;) J/K!! I may be asking your advice soon. As for yours, I'd want just a tad more detail about the rebels & what they'd really want w/ her, but then it's so hard to keep the logline short. I haven't hopped over to their site to see the specific dets yet.

    1. Thanks! Loglines are... yeah, hard. How the heck are we supposed to pick the two or three details that will sell our books? Huh?

  9. Thanks for the heads up Robin! I just entered. I don't know if my log-line is good... but I took a stab.

    Good luck!