So you can read my books

Friday, February 25, 2011


Don't forget to vote for Victor in the Gatekeeper Contest. Alice is talking about going door to door, and her stomach is rumbling. Just trying to watch out for you guys is all :

You need the right ingredients to prepare a delicious logline :


It must be short, magnetic, and say it all.

Sure, piece of cake ... Devil's Food Cake. Darn hard, but it can be done.


(You just know it's going to be a comedy of errors, and you know all the players in just 5 words.)


(It says it all in another 5 words : horror, action, the living versus the undead)


(In 4 fours you get comedy, horror, and you know it is going to be a toss-up between a floundering human against hordes of shambling dead.)

II.) The sweet/sour sauce of IRONY with a hint of the spice of SAY WHAT?


She's the perfect girl -- until she takes that first drink.

(You see it all, don't you? In just 10 words. Comedy of a guy finding his dream date, only to see his dream become a nightmare.)


On Christmas Eve, a cop tries to repair his broken marriage, only to find her company's building seized by terrorists.

(Twenty words this time, but they spell out irony, desperation, action, and thrills.)

III.) Remember THE GOOD; leave out THE BAD and THE UGLY :


Two polar opposite men must scramble across country in whatever vehicle they can to make it home for Thanksgiving.

(This title is the good -- you know from it that it is a comedy and the venue where the action is going to take place.)

(This is basically the same movie, but the title is vague. Is it about an expectant mother? The only draw is Robert Downey, Jr.

But your novel will not have that catalyst. In novel loglines, the magic must be in the prose.)


(Do you have any idea what this novel will be about? Is it a name of a girl, a store, a restaurant, a name of a covert Intelligence plan? This is an example of an UGLY title for a logline.)



A timid cop on the eve of retirement finds he is dying from a disease not covered by police insurance. To protect his family's future, he must have none.

The cowardly lion must die in the line of duty. The only problem : his partner wants to live out the week!

(Long but you see it all. Fifty words gives you the whole novel :

the fear, the love, the desperation, ... and the partner going crazy trying to stay alive.

If you needed to, you could use just this one sentence :

To protect his family's future, a timid cop must insure he has none.)

VI.) The whole picture :

A.) All the above examples gives the agent the entire novel in just one short logline. You must do that -- and fast to snare the eye-weary attention of an agent numbed by a long line of vague, rambling loglines with no clear conflict and intended goal.

B.) How do you come up with that?

Think of your novel as a movie poster. The iconic image, the swirling glimpses of the dangers and allures in the background. Put the movie poster of your novel in 30 words or less -- and you have a winning logline.

C.) Create an itch the agent must scratch :

1.) With a title that grabs the collar of the agent :


2.) With irony that won't quit :

A teen finds the love of his life looking down upon him as he lies in his coffin.

3.) With a logline that gives you goal, obstacles, and resolution in one mental flash :

A mysterious funeral director tells the ghost of a teen he can be with the girl he loves always ... if he convinces her to take her own life. The teen must decide what true love really is.

@) There. I hope I have helped in some small way. Roland


  1. You always help. Such great advice once again. I've learned so much from you in the short time we have known one another. I am so appreciative of you sharing your knowledge and wisdom :)))
    Would you mind reading the start of a short for me, your honest opinion would mean so much to me:) No rush, all is explained in the post. Thank you !

  2. Poetic Justice : Certainly. I'm in what I call "the dark side of the moon" phase in my job as blood courier -- hence all my late-night postings lately.

    I will be glad to read the beginning of your short and give what thoughts come to me. Roland

  3. Hi Roland .. love the way you've set this out .. the tasty logline .. I can see the variations occurring ..

    The film "The Certified Copy" - thanks .. love that recommendation - especially the Tuscan views ..

    Hope the night is passing safely without too much blood running hither and thither .. cheers Hilary

  4. Hilary : Yes, doesn't CERTIFIED COPY look beautiful and interesting? This weekend hopefully will treat this weary blood courier well. I can only hope! LOL. Have a great weekend yourself. Roland

  5. What an awesome blog! You'll definitely see me here a lot more often. :D

  6. Hi! I'm a new follower of your awesome blog.

    Have a nice day!

  7. I love those loglines. I've come across tepid titles, but these catch my attention and give me a strong idea of what the story will be about.

  8. T.D. : Thanks for the great words. Welcome to my cyber-home. Please do come back, Roland

    Veronica : Glad you like my cyber-home. You're always welcome.

    Medeia : It's great you like these loglines of mine. I was just trying to help our friends find a path to better loglines to attract agents to their novels. Have a great weekend, Roland

  9. Outstanding! You have a gift for explaining the obvious to those like me who look, but don't see! I love the loglines you chose - it's like looking at a painting and discovering the details that make it a masterpiece.
    I’m excited about following this blog.

  10. Ray : You made my afternoon. Thanks. Hope you find great things all the time here, Roland

  11. An outstanding post, Roland! I wrestled with loglines when I was trying to write a couple of screenplays. An L.A. agent I hired came up with the perfect one for one of the stories. Wish I had thought of it! They're very difficult to do well. The ones you highlight here that work are great. Especially: "She's the perfect girl--until she takes that first drink." So much in so few words. I'm for understatement, something the reader will remember!

    Ann @ Long Journey Home

  12. Hi, Roland. Wow, this is great stuff. I like how you simplified the logline to a movie poster. SO eye-opening! I'll keep that one in mind!

    Have a great weekend!

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  13. Those are great loglines--they certainly caught my attention and they're short and to the point.

  14. Thanks, Ann. Sometimes there's nothing like hiring an expert to do a job they've had years of experience doing! And it means a lot you liked my post and my loglines. Now, to find that Dream Date. LOL.

    Elizabeth : My main goal is to give something useful and needful in each of my posts -- even if only a true laugh. I'm happy you like my movie poster Logline Idea.

    Golden Eagle : Thanks. Now, if we can just get a good agent interested in our loglines, right? Roland

  15. Great advice. It's something one can't think of too early. :)

  16. interesting concept of relating movies to writing stories analogy, and the movie trailer, looks interesting.

  17. Thanks, Lynn. Yes, you never know when an opportunity will open to deliver the logline for your novel (even a WIP) to an influencial agent or contest that will never again quite in that way ever again.

    Being a boy scout here could mean dream not becoming a nightmare.

    Bye Polo Rhetoring : Aren't screenplays the heart of the movies? And screenplays are just strangely laid out novels! LOL. And yes, doesn't that movie look interesting, too?

  18. I don't think I will be going down this path with the agents...
    I'm a happy reader, teacher, mother, wife.

  19. Your blog posts are a good read, will be reading your book soon, have you thought about the audio version of your books?

  20. Imagery Imagined : I hope my posts haven't discouraged you from writing. My suggestions are just that ... suggestions. Sometimes an agent will drift upon your blog as one did mine and ask you for a sample of your work just because she likes the magic of your prose.

    Teaching is a fulfiling profession. I was one for a time, then a counselor. Heck, I've been everything but a pirate it seems -- and to put myself through school, I once worked for a tax preparation agency -- so I guess you could say I have even been a pirate! LOL.

    Thanks for planning to read my book soon. It is important to me as when I was deathly ill in a Detroit basement apartment during a terrible ice storm, my mother first conjured the tales of Hibbs, the bear with 2 shadows, to take my mind off my worsening cough and her mind off her fear I would die scared and feverish.

    Because she convinced me that the protecting spirit of Hibbs was standing at the foot of my bed, I just knew I would get better. And I did. Such is the power of belief in a young child. So I vowed Hibbs would find life someway, somehow.

    And now, he has.

    As for audio versions, the text-to-speech function of THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS is enabled.

    I always look forward to your comment, Roland