Archive for October 24th, 2011

A while ago, we talked about how a novelist should write a log line (see: What is a Log Line). Well, today I thought we could talk about how a screenwriter should write a log line.

Wouldn’t the log lines be the same? Well, kind of, I suppose.

A literary agent wants to know what your novel is about. Here’s mine for my current novel.

A vengeful Reaper, hell-bent on finding the key to unlocking Heaven’s Gateway, must choose between good and evil before the town mayor sacrifices the girl he loves and overturns God himself.”

But, a producer wants to be hooked from the outset. Hook them and you’re on your way.

So, how can we do that?

Basically, a log line consists of three things. Seems simple doesn’t it?  Nothing in life worth having is simple. *Cheesey grin*.

So, lets take a closer look at what these three things are.

1.     A main character, who
2.     Has a mission or a goal, but
3.     Faces a major problem or some kind of opposition.

First, our protagonist is our main character . The goal is what he/she wants and the obstacle is what is stopping he/she from reaching it. 

Two things to remember,

1.     The main conflict MUST be clear.
2.     Main logline is 25 words or less.

Remember, a log line is usually one sentence, 2 at the very most.

For example:

In the movie, ‘The Crazies’, the protagonist is the town Sheriff.
His goal is to find out why some towns folk are going ‘crazy’.
His obstacle is he must fight off hundreds of ‘infected’ people to do it.

This can also be turned around and looked at like this:

In Wrong Turn, the protagonist is a newly graduated doctor.
The problem is he’s crashed his car in the middle of the wilderness and is being hunted by the local inbreeds.
His goal is to find a way out of the woods so he can get help.

In my story, The Legend, the protagonist is a Reaper.
His goal is to open the gateway to heaven and exact revenge on the entities that imprisoned him.
The problem is, to do this, he will have to kill the girl he has come to love.

Now we have that down, is there anything else we need to create that great log line? Hell, Yes!

First, we must be perfectly clear. We may understand what is going on, but the agent/producer is reading our log line for the first time. They have absolutely no idea what our story is about.

And, we must reveal our biggest hook. What is the most exciting or compelling thing about our screenplay? The log line is your time to reveal it.

Last but not least, we want our reader to picture our movie the moment they read the log line.

Here’s an example from the movie Law Abiding Citizen:

The protagonist and the goal:

A family man killed the member of a gang who murdered his wife and child. 

The hook is:

Once jailed, he escapes to kill off the rest of the gang, one by one, before returning to his jail cell and thus having the perfect alibi.

So my log line would be: “After centuries of searching, a vengeful Reaper finally uncovers the secret that will open the Gateway to Heaven, only to find that in doing so he has to sacrifice the woman he loves.”

The hook is what will have your reader wanting more. It’s what will make it stand out from everybody else’s.

So, how do you start to write a log line?

Write the hook first. Then you will be able to write the log line so it’s delivery is clear and precise.

Remember, an agent or producer will only request our script if our log line is good. Only then do we have a chance at selling it.

There is a really cool video via ScreenWritingU which will tell you all about this in a super fast three minutes.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Start writing those log lines in the comment section.

Have you had a script requested of the back of a log line? Do you find writing log lines hard or easy? Come on, don’t be shy….you know how I love talking to you guys.

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This weeks competitions that have caught my eye:



The CWA Debut Dagger

Fancy a stab at crime writing?

All these authors were short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Competition. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a published author? Read on.

The 2012 Competition opens on 22 October 2011 and closes on 21 January 2012. The shortlisted entries will be announced at Crimefest in May. The overall winner will be announced at the CWA Awards ceremony in July.

Website: http://www.thecwa.co.uk/daggers/debut/

A Woman’s Write Good Read Fiction Book
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   30th November 2011
Fees:   $40 for one entry. Includes Professional critique
Prizes:   $500 for first place. Annual Prize.
Details:   A fiction book competition for aspiring women writers, each entry receives a thorough, professional and prompt critique and the chance to re-enter the contest after making suggested changes. Now in our 10th year, we have inspired many new writers to take the plunge. We highlight the success of our authors and support them as they pursue their dreams.
Country:   United States
Email:   editor@awomanswrite.com
Website:   http://www.awomanswrite.com

American Short Fiction Short Story Comp.
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   8th December 2011
Fees:   $20 for one entry.
Prizes:   $1,000 for first place. Also publication. $500.
Details:   For unpublished short fiction up to 6,000 words.
Country:   United States
Email:   editors@americanshortfiction.org
Website:   http://www.americanshortfiction.org/index.php?option=com_content&%3bview=article&%3bid=38-contest&%3bcatid=6-announcements

Wanna win €100?
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   15th December 2011
Fees:   €5 for one entry.
Prizes:   €100 for first place.
Details:   Just write a story to make us laugh and send it to our next quarterly competition. Maximum length is 1500 words. For the full list of rules and regs, visit our website, where you can also read the winning entries from the first three competitions. Get writing, have fun, and we hope to hear from you soon.
Country:   Portugal
Website:   http://cheerreader.co.uk

Flash 500
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st December 2011
Fees:   £5 for one entry. £8 for two stories.
Prizes:   £250 for first place. 2nd £100. 3rd £50.
Details:   500 word flash fiction story open-themed. Open to 18 years and over. The results will be announced within six weeks of each closing date and the three winning entries each quarter will be published on this website.The winner will also be published. Optional critiques available at £10 per story. Highly Commended a copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist.
Country:   France
Website:   http://www.flash500.com/

The TRYAngle Project Short Story
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   10th November 2011
Fees:   £5 for one entry. £8/2 stories, £11/3 stories
Prizes:   £150 for first place. 2nd Prize £75.00, 3rd Prize £40, High Commendation £10 x 2
Details:   For previously unpublished short stories on the theme of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Stories must be in English Language up to 1,500 words long. Top 5 stories will receive first publication. A third of net entry fees goes to help the charity helping victims of domestic violence.
Contact:   Excel for Charity, Eastern Light EPM International, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   excelforcharity@easternlightepm.com
Website:   http://easternlightepm.com/excelforcharity/tryangle-short-story-competition-2011/

Robert J. Demott Short Prose Contest
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   1st December 2011
Fees:   $15 for one entry.
Prizes:   $1,000 for first place. Also publication.
Details:   For short prose up to 500 words.
Contact:   Quarter After Eight, Ohio University, 360 Ellis Hall, Athens, OH 45701
Country:   United States
Website:   http://www.quarteraftereight.org/submissions.htm

Halloween Horror Story
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st October 2011
Fees:   £0 for one entry.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. The winner will be published online on the blog.
Details:   The kind of story we’re looking for will be heart-thumpingly thrilling, spine-tinglingly scary, and maybe just a bit stomach-churningly gory. If you think you can step up to the challenge, get writing and send us your story!
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   ongoingworlds@gmail.com
Website:   http://ongoingworlds.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/halloween-story-competition/

In Development Anthology
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   20th May 2012
Fees:   £0 for one entry. Free to enter.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. Selected works will appear in an anthology. Authors receive free copy.
Details:   We’re looking for stories between 3-8,000 words by aid workers, development workers, international volunteers and disaster relief personnel. Have you got a story to tell? Then we’d like to read it. Follow the website link for more information. All entries will be treated in confidence. Pseudonyms are accepted.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   info@authormgw.co.uk
Website:    http://tinyurl.com/6exxzw9

FictionGarden Ghost Story Writing Comp.
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   29th October 2011
Fees:   £3 for one entry. £5 for two.
Prizes:   £100 for first place. £40; £20.
Details:   For stories up to 2,500 words on a ghostly theme.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   GhostStoryComp@yahoo.co.uk
Website:   http://www.fictiongarden.co.uk/ghoststorywritingcontest.html


2012 Award of Excellence
Sponsor: Colorado Romance Writers
Fee: $20.00
Receipt Deadline: January 13, 2012
Eligibility: Books published in 2011. Bound hard copies of e-books also eligible.
Categories: Short Contemporary (60,000 words or less), Long Contemporary (over 60,000 words), Historical, Romantic Suspense, Single Title, P/TT/F/F, Inspirational, Mainstream w/Romantic Elements, Erotic Romance.
Judges: Readers, booksellers, published authors.
Top Prize: Award of Excellence Trophy and certificate; letter congratulating the editor.
FMI, contact Jessica Aspen (aoecoordinator1@yahoo.com) or see www.coloradoromancewriters.com.

2012 Booksellers Best Award Contest
Sponsor: Greater Detroit RWA
Fee: $27.00, add’l $6.00 Best First Book
Deadline: January 15, 2012
Entry: See Website for criteria, published authors only
Judges: booksellers and librarians
FMI, www.gdrwa.org/contests.html#bba or email pattishenberger@comcast.net.

Please remember to check out legitimacy of all contests before you enter and to copyright all work.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

You can also find me on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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