Logline Revision Critiques #18


TITLE:  Listening In The Snow
GENRE: Middle Grade Fiction
In the deep of a dark Vermont winter, eleven-year-old Nathan Hayes, a shy stutterer, breaks into the long-abandoned Specter house, willing to brave its legendary ghosts in order to find the magic charm he believes will bring his mother home.

12 comments:

Sarah Ahiers said...

i don't know that we need the beginning chunk, before you introduce the MC. It just introduces the setting and i don't know that we need it, since it doesn't connect to anything else in the logline.
The conflict is clear, though, and i like it.

csoontornvat said...

I think you have room for one more sentence that would give us an idea for where this story is headed. What dangers does he face from the ghosts?

csoontornvat said...

PS: I know you're getting lots of advice to cut the part of the deep, dark Vermont winter, but I've always liked that! I think it adds atmosphere. I think if you do need to cut something, consider the shy stutterer, or extraneous words like "in order to".

GSMarlene said...

I also like the deep, dark Vermont winter. Yes, I would cut shy stutterer because it doesn't add to the logline (I'm sure it plays a big role in the book, but here, the overriding desire is to get his mom back)

Jessica Hutchison said...

Just to make the feedback you get that much more inconsistent, I'm going to suggest cutting the scenery description and keeping the characterization (shy stutterer). I'd rather have the info about the character than the info about the scenery as I think it's covered by "long-abandoned Specter house."

So, something like:

Eleven-year-old Nathan, a shy stutterer, breaks into the long-abandoned Specter house to brave its legendary ghosts and find the magic charm he believes will bring his mother home.

A Little Push said...

I'll add my vote for keeping the opening phrase - I love it, and I think it adds to the spooky setting. I think you have a winner here! Good luck!

KayC said...

How about a compromise? "In a dark Vermont winter, eleven-year-old Nathan, a ...... breaks into the long-abandoned Specter House."

I'm sitting out on the jury decision for "shy stutterer". I think you need to include a characterisation so we understand how momentous this is for Nathan, but I'm not sure that shy stutter works (not for me anyway).

I'd definitely break into two sentences at the end of Specter house as I ran out of breath reading this.

I'd also like a little more idea of where his mother is, rather than just "bring his mother home". Is she trapped, missing, stolen by fairies?

Rissa Snepp said...

I would say cut the scenery bit in the beginning as well. It reads much better just starting at "11-year-old..." With that bit left out you have plenty of room for another sentence, a good 10 to 15 words too. Consider using this sentence to give a little detail about the legendary ghosts (are they slain soldiers from the civil war, is the house built on some ancient burial grounds, are the ghosts trapped by some odd curse and taking it out on humans or whatever) and the stakes if he doesn't rescue his mom.

Also, consider cutting out words that could be replaced with action verbs. In order to, bring, breaks into, willing to, ...Those are all words that can be swapped with way more effective synonyms. Honestly,you and a thesaurus while writing a logline is like Batman and Robin.




Fiction Writer said...

Like the story idea, but what's scary about the ghosts and why is an 11-year-old on his own? Is he homeless, run away from home? And where is his mother and why?

Wendy said...

Time to weigh in-I love the setting, but I'd cut it in the logline. Save it for a query.
What I did want to read about was a bit more about the conflict. How is Mom's disappearance related to the ghosts? Is she held by the ghosts? I don't know if it's possible to encapsulate this in a few words. If not, it's certainly piqued my interest!
Good luck.

Princess Sara said...

I, too, want more information about the ghosts and Nathan's mother, and less about Vermont and his shyness. Nonetheless, I would pick this up and take a closer look!

laura kozaitis said...

Love the premise. I also want to know why his mother is missing and why he needs to look for her in such a creepy place. Great concept.