In the Writer’s Guide to Comics I explain what a log line is.
In Storycraft to Comics, I explain the fundamental structure to a good logline and give some examples.
On NickMacari.com “Loglines: Is my story any good,” I explain the significance of the logline, today, I’m going to further the discussion of their importance, and break down the process of making a successful one.
If you’re not running a logline on your typical story build, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
For those coming to the concept for the first time, a logline is merely a single sentence summary of your story…
Too often, even in the shi-shi’est of writing circles, folks abandon the idea of structure to the logline. Instead, they focus on trying to be clever, distilling the story down, not to a technical reflection of the story, but to a flashy or ambiguous hook… a marketing gimmick. Or a one-line pitch (not an actual Logline); “Rambo in space.”
Because most script writers don’t release loglines with their published work, the internet is awash with clever gimmick loglines to the most famous stories and pitches masking as genuine loglines.
Of course these are all writer interpretations.
“A Jersey kid learns karate from an L.A. janitor.” – Karate Kid
I mean it’s not wrong.
It’s just doesn’t really tell us much of anything.
A real logline, one that actually conveys the story, is what I refer to as the Writer’s Logline, and it’s the one you’re here to master.
The Writer’s Logline includes a few specific points.
“In strict writing terms, loglines are stated in a single sentence. We capture the story goal and summary with a bit more detail, anchoring it with the main character, their goal, the force working against them, and the stakes if they fail. Stand out loglines usually incorporate a sense of irony. They come across with a clever, fresh angle, which like the high-concept, immediately drums forth visuals and potential.”
Only a writer intimately familiar with his story can write a proper Writer’s Logline, and there in lies its supreme power.
The single sentence summary, forces the writer to distill the story down to its key essence… and when written with purpose, reveals the story’s CORE STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS.
I snatched this one off the internet;
Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.
Let’s put it to the test;
- Story goal/summary
- Main character,
- MC goal,
- The force working against them