Thursday, October 21, 2010

Logline Critique Session One: #2

TITLE: Blackbird
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

When Taylor Keaton, spy chick in training, joined S.P.R.I.T.E., she never expected a dying elf to beg her to research an off-the-books black op with only the codename “Excalibur” as guidance. Now Taylor must stop a band of sorcerers before they steal an item that could unbalance the magical world for good… or she gets herself killed for trying.

15 comments:

Tami said...

I would definitely keep reading. "spy chick in training" and "S.P.R.I.T.E." lead me to believe it would be light-hearted and fun, while the "unbalance the magical world" makes me think there's solid worldbuilding behind it.

Holly Bodger said...

Okay, intriguing but you've got WAY too much detail in the first sentence. We need to know what inciting incident starts the story. The codename might be nice in a query, but it's too much here.


I'd also suggest you try to make the consequences specific to Taylor. What happens to HER if she doesn't stop the sorcerers? It sounds like you're trying to say she will get killed but it also sounds like these are her stakes and not her consequences.

Steena Holmes said...

Your last part reads better (to me) - or get herself killed for trying.
Your first sentence sounds muddled - what if you said something like "she never expected a dying elf to share his secret about "Excalibur" - an off-the-books black op - that's gone missing." I would change the wording a bit for that sentence. But it sounds like a great story!

Shannon said...

This one confused me a bit. I'd like to know what S.P.R.I.T.E. is, for one thing, and how the black op figures into the rest of it.

Nicole Zoltack said...

What is S.P.R.I.T.E.? I think there is too much information cramped into the first sentence that makes me confused. I like the second sentence.

Mel said...

I think the premise sounds great, but there's a little too much in the first sentence.

S. Kyle Davis said...

Thanks so much for your comments already! I know this isn't normal, but would anyone care to comment on the following revision?



When Taylor Keaton signed up to be a spy chick in training, she never expected a dying elf to beg her to research an off-the-books black op. With only the codename “Excalibur” as guidance, Taylor must stop a band of sorcerers before they steal an item that could unbalance the magical world for good… or she gets herself killed for trying.

Dr. Agent said...

I'm worried that you can summarize better. If it takes that much description to summarize your story, there isn't a clear pictures of what is going on.

Anonymous said...

What does "she never expected" add to the line? I'd remove it.

Why not spell out "op" as operation if that is what it means? Does being black make it bad? Or is black some sort of code for super-secret? In other words, I have no idea what a "black op" is.

Why does Taylor decide to get involved? Because she's a softie and the elf is dying? Any other reason she puts her own life on the line?

I think ellipsis should be reserved for an unfinished thought rather than used as a pause, but that is a personal preference. Please consider an em dash instead.

ShannonW said...

These are a great start. I like the revision better. Personally, I don't think you need the ellipsis or an em dash. Don't add a pause there. If you were verbally pitching this log line you wouldn't do a dramatic pause there (or at least it would be hard to pull off :D ).

Best of luck!

Barbara said...

I liked the second version, although I would give more of a hint as to what the 'item' is. And I think what's missing is why she's doing it. This seems to say because it's her job. A more personal reason would be a bigger draw.

S. Kyle Davis said...

Well, the "personal connection" is that his team died saving her life at the beginning of the novel, and she feels she's repaying a debt, of sorts. I just thought that was a lot to put into a pitch/logline.

Michelle said...

I would streamline it to something like this: Taylor Keaton, spy chick in training, is begged by a dying elf to research an off-the-books black op. Taylor must stop a band of sorcerers from stealing (name item) that could unbalance the magical world for good--or die trying.

It's still a little long. If you could cut the dying elf and black op bit and just go with her stopping sorcerers, you'd have room to add a little "flavor" or voice. But I think "spy chick in training" may cover that. Sounds like a fun, exciting book!

SS said...

I love it - S.P.R.I.T.E. sounds very Artemis Fowl.

Something is a little off kilter in the final sentence. I wonder if it would be better to include the implied 'before' in the last phrase?

'Now Taylor must stop a band of sorcerers before they steal an item that could unbalance the magical world for good . . . or before she gets killed for trying'

I don't know. Writing loglines is tough.

S. Kyle Davis said...

Thanks everyone for you comments! You guys rock as usual.

If anyone's interested, you can check out my 1st 250 from September's Secret Agent contest:

http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/2010/09/september-secret-agent-32.html