On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Logline

This will start a short series on finding the core of your story (story goal, stakes, obstacles). Today I'm focusing on the LOGLINE. My friends, you will thank me for this one -- if you ever let it slip that you're writing a book or screenplay, everyone and his brother will immediately ask you, "What is it about?" This logline prevents you from looking stupid as you explain the gist of your story in one sparkling sentence.

A logline is one sentence of about 15 to 20 words that succinctly describes your story. Here are some examples:

The Wizard of Oz: A farm girl is transported to a magical land and must find her way home (15 words).

The Fellowship of the Ring: A hobbit must destroy a magical ring of power before it destroys his world (14 words).

Romeo and Juliet: Two teenagers from warring families fall in love and must overcome family obstacles of hate to stay together (18 words).

The Count of Monte Cristo: A wrongfully imprisoned young man gains freedom and a fortune that he uses to wreak an elaborate revenge (18 words).


The logline strips your story to its bare minimum. You'll notice that character names aren't used, yet the premise is specifically described. The logline should contain irony if possible, and cause the listener to become intrigued.

There are many ways to write this logline. If you're having trouble, this formula produces good results:

An (optional adjective) subject, in this situation, acts to do this.

Writing a good logline is tougher than it looks. Make sure you continue to rewrite this as you work on other aspects of your story.


  1. Thanks for the helpful info.


    Tom Blubaugh, Author
    Night of the Cossack

  2. Tom, thanks for stopping by! How are book sales?