Taglines and Loglines
Over the past couple of days I’ve been playing around with taglines and loglines for my next new release “Impossible Liaison”. Rather than risk getting it wrong, I resorted to good old Google to help me out with differentiating between the two. According to the first option which popped up:
A “logline” is a (movie’s) concept boiled down to one or two sentences.
A “tagline” is a short, clever one-off found on a movie’s poster.
I saw another definition that worked better for what I needed, telling me a purpose of each. Use a tagline to help establish your brand, but a logline to help sell a particular story.
As I figured out a tagline for myself (“writing warm, fuzzy and fun stories”) some years ago. It appears here on my website and my business cards etc. So its more a logline I needed to submit to my publisher as a selling tool for my new release.
As with everything involved with writing – and probably every other occupation under the sun – there is a wealth of information available on the Internet to help, or totally confuse, anyone searching for details of how to do something. But I’m old fashioned. I still enjoy researching real books for the information I seek. I noted literary agent Kirsten Lamb referred to a book “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder in a piece on her blog about loglines. As this book is in my bookcase I hastily reread the portion before trying to write an appropriate logline for “Impossible Liaison”.
I have to admit I hadn’t followed his advice to be “a slave to the logline”. To have adhered to that, I would have had my logline written months ago during my manuscript writing process. I do see his point of using the logline to guide the story – “If you are true to your logline, you will deliver the best possible story.” His words are definitely resonating with me, perhaps I will attempt this with my next story. I have struggled to plan my stories but accepted long ago that does nothing to help and a lot to stop the natural flow of my imagination. However the idea of having a couple of sentences which tells of the protagonist and his/her goal along with what’s preventing s/he from achieving it, might be worth giving a try before I end the next story.
But I digress, I’m talking about the logline for “Impossible Liaison” right now. Whether my publisher will agree its a worthwhile attempt is still up in the air, and I may be asked to submit another, but I played around with many options before coming up with the following:
“Grown up without family an amateur genealogist unearths living relatives but a jaded doctor’s distrust may thwart her dream of bonding with them.”
How does this sound? does it give a reader a clear idea of what the story’s conflict is? The suggested format of outlining the protagonist, problem, antagonist, conflict and goal all within 25 words is a challenge but I can see it keeps the story writing more exact.
Yep, while the mood for loglines is with me, I’m going to begin working on one for my next – already completed, I’m afraid to say – story. After reading Blake Snyder’s piece again, I can see how having a logline at the beginning of a story is a very sensible option. So that means its also time to dream up a logline for my new work in progress. That should be fun, I still don’t know what the story is going to be about. My characters haven’t shared this vital point with me as yet. Perhaps including them in a logline might tempt them to enlighten me.