Monday, May 16, 2011

How One Little Line Can Help You--Part Two

A few months ago, I posted a part one on loglines--click here to see this post if you need a refresher. Otherwise, read on. I'll give my logline that I used last time.

A kidnapped human woman falls for the infuriating elvin male who keeps her captive in a foreign dimension.

I’ve tried to include all three factors of GMC (tried is the operative word here, so no promises), so let’s break them down:

1. Goal (what does she want?): though not stated implicitly stated, the goal should (hopefully) be clear at the beginning--the human woman wants to return home. To reflect this goal, I used the words 'kidnapped' and 'captive.'

2. Motivation (why does she want it?): again, not so much stated as implied--she has a life back on earth; she doesn’t want to be any male’s plaything. The list could on and on.

3. Conflict (the 'what' that stands in the way of the goal): Her captor. She starts to fall for him.

When you combine all those three factors above, the backbone of the character arc emerges.

Take the example I've been using: At the beginning of the story, she’s a normal human woman who's out of her element, what with being human in a foreign dimension and all. However, characters often change and grow along with their goals and motivations. For me, the character arc comes into play when she starts desiring her infuriating captor. Now she has conflicting motivations that affect her goals. As for her love interest, I’m not even getting into his GMC or character arc here. Thank goodness!

Even though the core GMC is set down in the logline, there’s still a lot of wiggle room in developing your plot and characters. Think of it as the bare bones of the story, with layers of muscle and flesh being added to produce a full-bodied work. For my next novel, I’m going to write my logline first and develop my story from there.

This technique can also be expanded into longer pitches, and queries. Here’s my more detailed two-liner:

When a human woman finds herself swept off into a different world and held captive by an infuriating elven male, she determines to keep herself aloof and return home. But this soon all changes as he wages a seductive war on her defenses that challenges all her beliefs about love.

And there it was! I hope the example wasn’t too painful for you to read.

Loglines are a fantastic resource to have available in your writing hand basket. But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. And share your results!


D'Ann said...

great advice and example! Thanks!

Martha Ramirez said...

Great post, Lisa!

Lisa Kumar said...

Thank, D'Ann and Martha! I'm glad you liked it. I'm not an expert by any means, so I always worry that my examples aren't up to par.

Kary said...

Great examples, Lisa. Useful information. I know I'm crazy but I really love Log Lines. To boil down something to a simple statement is fun for me. Like I said CRAZYYY!