Ever heard the saying, “Ideas are a dime a dozen?” While it’s true that ideas can be found everywhere we look, it’s not true that every idea is worthy of a story or can sustain an entire novel. That’s why I like to write in a variety of mediums: poetry, short story, novels, even songs. Most of my ideas can find a home in one of these genres.
But how do you know if your idea can sustain a novel? One way to do this is by writing a logline or a premise statement. Whatever you want to call it, this is a one- to two-sentence summary of your story that includes the protagonist or hero (including a type of person and an adjective that describes him), his goal, the antagonist, the main conflict, and action (plot).
In “Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success,” K.M. Weiland calls her one-liner the premise sentence. Here’s her premise sentence for her novel Dreamlander: Read more
I’ve been working again on my logline for my work-in-progress. In movie land, a logline is a one-sentence hook that tells us what the story is about while piquing our interest. Developing a logline is also a good idea for novelists–you can use it not only to market your work but also to help you stay focused as you write.
Recently, I wrote a post about loglines based on screenwriter Blake Snyder’s advice and his four requirements for every logline.
I also discovered two really great posts on loglines:
“Writing Good Log Lines” by Stanley D. Williams. See what Williams has to say about the importance of the moral premise of your work.
“Writing Effective Loglines” by J. Gideon Sarantinos gives great examples of loglines from newer movies and classics.
Have you written a logline for your current project? If so, share it in the comments below.