That same excitement can work for you by creating a logline for your novel. Movies, obviously, are a visual medium so scenes accompany loglines for movies. But, your novel must evoke those same scenes in your reader’s mind by crafting your best blend of words. Of course you can create trailers for your novels with sound, music, and action. But, words, I think, have a more enduring quality.
So, what makes up a good logline? In researching this blog I’ve found articles with between 3 and 10 bullet points of what’s needed. I narrowed it down to four essential ingredients. My four components for the logline are:
- The hero. This should be a proactive person with a flaw. You want a multidimensional hero.
- The quest. Every story’s hero must have a quest. This can be a drive to change the situation for the better or a pursuit to a return to the status quo.
- The antagonist. What would a story be without a villain? Of course you villain can be a person or a force of nature.
- The conflict. Finally, there’s really no story without conflict, so hinting at the major conflict is a must.
- The antagonist’s name. This is optional. If your hero has a very memorable name you might want to include it.
- The ending. This one is nonnegotiable. After all, how many times have you said to a friend, who’s seen a long anticipated movie for which you’ve just gotten tickets, “Don’t tell me the ending, I’m going to see it tomorrow.”
- A well-meaning orphan, bent on rising out of the clutches of poverty and despair, combats the forces of societal status quo in order to seek wealth and love. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- A futuristic soldier must fight a near invincible enemy on distant planets as well as the life altering relativistic effects of interstellar travel in an effort to finally find contentment in a distant future world. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.
- This last one (I admit a bit long) is one I made for my new novel, The Peril Protocol : Talented physician Hope Allerd, M.D., gets a fellowship under the mercurial and enigmatic Dr. Francis Peril, inventor of the Protocol, a striking new cure for meningitis. Handsome but discredited reporter, Clive Andrew appears, claiming Peril is a horrific serial murderer. And Hope must now decide between the two men. When women are found brutally murdered, Hope investigates. As she digs further Hope learns she is slated for murder. Can she trust Clive, a man with a past, or will her mentor turn out to be her savior? A gruesome death awaits the wrong decision…
Try creating a logline for your own novel. Over time you’ll find some useful applications for it. And, it just might help your sales.