A log line is found describing movies and books. As a summary of entire book in one sentence is makes an immediate connection to the entire story. A friend said to compare it to speaking to someone while riding an elevator. When asked, “What you do?” you quickly tell what your book is about – the log line. (If you teach writing, think ‘introductory sentence’. Learning to write log lines for books students have read, transfers well to writing introductory sentences for the book report.)
As I worked on my book’s log line, I found myself in an analysis mode. My beginning attempt for my book Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends? was “Melville and Throckmorton learn to get along when they have to help each other – a single event leads to a broken promise, burnt feathers and fur, and finally to friendship – the war between dragons and frogs comes to an end when a dragon egg appears.” Quite a log line, eh?…
My son, the movie goer, explained, “You need to summarize the essence of the idea behind the story. You’re using too many details.”
I reread my book reviews. I reread the ‘Hollywood Coverage’ project in which my book was laid out in five paragraphs. What essence?
My website design person chose quotes from the book reviews. “Friendship against all odds.” “‘An epistolary fantasy.” “A sweet narrative about dragons and frogs finding peace.” None of them was a log line.
Perhaps this was it: “An ancient rhyme of 3000 years is challenged by a dragon egg.” No names. No characters. No Great Forest nor Deep Pond. No broken promises nor rescue. Was this my log line? No. Too short.
Having a YouTube made, new ideas emerged as the film editor asked specific questions. The answer to the final question, “Why should someone buy your book?” was “Because this book teaches a child to forgive his enemy by having enough compassion to forget the past.”
This was it! The quick ‘elevator answer’ I was seeking. My log line at last.
VIGNETTE. A few days later, I had a meeting in a 30 story business building. I stepped into an elevator next to a young man. We nodded. Before I could open my mouth, we had zipped up twenty-two floors. As he held the door, I stepped out, reached into my purse, and handed my fellow traveler a postcard of the book cover with notes on the back, smiled and said, “Share this!” It wasn’t my logline….
Ah well. Amazon.com will tell more.
LOG LINE. Can Dragons and Frogs Be Friends? is about having the courage to overcome the fear of a bully; and the compassion to forgive and forget the past.