Outlining Series Lesson Three: Loglines
Last time we talked about three act structure. This month we’re going to distill your idea into its purest form—into a logline. Think of it as a one sentence distillation of exactly what your book is about.
Below is the sheet I use to structure my novels—we’re filling it in as we go. I’ve added the logline of the Hunger Games so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. As I stated in the video, loglines are important for three reasons:
- So the energy around the idea isn’t wasted in talking about it without direction
- To satisfy those who ask you what your book is about without glazing eyes
- For your benefit—so you know exactly what the core idea of your book is about
There are a million plus examples of loglines online for you to peruse—if you check out your TV guide for example, every show, every episode, has its own logline. When you read it or hear it, you should know exactly what the episode/show/film will be about without even watching or reading it.
Next month’s lesson: Identifying conflicts.
Get Your Book Done Worksheet
Title: The Hunger Games
Logline: Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match. (taken from IMDB)
Act One: Katniss in her normal environment, hunting to save her family. Her sister Prim is chosen as Tribute for the Hunger Games.
Inciting Incident: Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place.
Act Two: Katniss is taken to District One and prepared for the Games. She does her best to stay alive and ends up surviving to the very end with Peeta, promised they would both live. But the President decides there can only be one winner and Katniss has to choose between her own life and Peeta.
Inciting Incident: Katniss chooses to eat the berries
Act Three: The President caves and Katniss and Peeta both survive, though nothing will ever be the same for Katniss.
That’s me for now. Have fun and happy writing!
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