Logline and the Perfect Pitch

Previously we’ve covered how to write a Synopsis and How to Hook an Agent. Why not take a look? In future post’s we’ll uncover Crafting a Novel Title and Writing Book Blurbs. This week we’re taking a closer look at Loglines.

As a writer I’m good with written words, but not so much when it comes to talking about my project. And I’m not alone, many writers flounder when asked the dreaded question; ‘What are you working on?’ or ‘What’s your book about?’

How to craft a Novel Logline and the Perfect Pitch

I cringe when thinking about my many long-winded blunders. They had little to do with my work and more about me clutching at something to say. I remember the life-light drifting from their eyes as I waffled on, knowing that we were both thinking – that sounds bloody awful.

This is where a Logline comes in. Or elevator Pitch, the name comes from the notion that the pitch should be succinct enough to be delivered to another party while riding an escalator. In essence, it is the quick presentation, outlining the idea for your novel. Usually one sentence, and spoken in around 30 seconds.

That’s quite a feat, to deconstruct a whole novel and narrow it down to its barebones. And there’s more. The Logline has a duty to perform. To engage our interest, evoke emotion by introducing the stakes. To introduce our written world, and pluck at the potential reader’s emotions.

Within the pitch, the following elements must be incorporated.

  • Protagonist – this is where you need to get creative. Instead of character names, give descriptions like: vengeful fairy, disabled cop or workaholic mum.
  • The protagonist goal – what does your main character want to achieve?
  • Conflict – the antagonistic force. What is your character fighting against?

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

A great idea is to read Logline for movies on IMDB. Here are two of my most recent favourite movies.

Black Panther: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

Thor Ragnarok: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.

Practice your amazingly crafted logline in front of a mirror, then on your pets, kids, partner, best friend and anyone who will listen. Gauge their responses, if you get the glazed look perhaps it’s time for a tweak. Otherwise, congratulations you’ve conquered the dreaded Logline!

Here’s mine; do you think I’ve added the three elements? Is it intriguing or should I head back to the drawing board? I’d love your feedback.

Knights of Shadow and Lies: A telepathic Fae princess and clandestine guard race against the fall of the blood-moon, to save a goddess from a manipulative Magician before he attains control over the Enchanted Realms.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer
© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

23 thoughts on “Logline and the Perfect Pitch

  1. LOL – the light draining from their eyes – yeah, I’ve seen that and it ain’t pretty.

    I think your logline is really good – but I’d at least add the name of the princess – or maybe all three names.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As I’m fond of saying, Opinions are like noses, everybody has one, and they’re all different.
    Here’s mine: I would leave out that the princess is telepathic. I feel it’s enough to reveal that she’s a Fae princess. I’m not fond of using ‘clandestine’ in reference to the guard. I’d rather know, is he her personal guard? Is he captain of the guard? Is he undercover or secret service? What exact position does he hold? And this magician wants to gain control over the enchanted realms, so his goals and the means to attain them have to be nefarious. To call him manipulative doesn’t sound nefarious. He needs to sound worse than manipulative. I’d call him evil, nefarious, or some other synonym that amps up the tension.
    Treat that opinion like a buffet, take what you like and ignore what you don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I love nefarious, I’m using that. I’ve used clandestine as the guard is masquerading as Fae. His intentions are pure but he’s not who he says he is. Do you have an alternative word to describe that?


  3. This was helpful to read! I’m a writer myself, and I’ve always found it hard to sum up any story I’ve written, as well as those I’m working on. I appreciated your tips – pitch is something I’ll be working on now! And I must say, I really like what you came up with for yours. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How right you are that writers struggle to explain their work. The blurb and the elevator pitch are two things I have not mastered and in truth, shy from all the time. But I think the time has come to actually try and get these down.

    Great tips and those examples, including your own, are great! Guess I better go have a think about mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good advice on keeping that pitch concise yet intriguing! I don’t think I’ll need to do one (I don’t write fiction/novels), but it would be interesting to listen for the three elements you mentioned when I get the chance to ask a novelist about what they’re working on.

    About your logline for Knights of Shadow and Lies, I think hearing that would give me a good idea of what the novel’s about, and I’ll probably be tempted to ask more specific questions based on that (e.g. Are the knights referred to in the title under the power of the magician? Or against the magician?). Guess I’m intrigued now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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