Loglining My Novel-in-Progress

I finished the first draft of my novel back in December and decided to shelve it for a while before revising it.  I put off the revisions for several months because I didn’t know where to start.  Then I came across a suggestion from fellow writer Marc Schuster to use an elevator pitch approach to revising.  I liked the ideas, but realized I little idea how to write a logline.  After some research, I practiced crafting loglines for several of my short stories before trying to writing one for my novel-in-progress.  I never posted the finished logline for my novel, so I thought I’d do so today:

 A starship crew must overcome their mistrust of each other and outwit their competitors to complete a mission that could either bring them personal salvation or destroy the galaxy.

I’m not overly thrilled with it—it’s a challenge to summarize a complex novel in a single sentence—but it’s a start.   In addition to the one-sentence logline, I also wrote a “jacket” summary.  I think the “jacket” summary is a little short, too, but I kind of like it because it captures more of the novel’s ensemble cast:

A man lost in time.  A survivor of a deadly plague.  A fugitive and her traumatized clonemate.  These are the people assembled by Captain Halycon Jonah to finish a mission that has already cost his previous crew their lives.  If they succeed, each may find the salvation he seeks, but if those trying to stop them are correct, their mission may end up destroy the galaxy.

There you have it.  I suspect these could use a lot more work, so if you have any comments or suggestions to improve them, I’d be interested in hearing them.

About D. Thomas Minton

Writer of speculative fiction
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3 Responses to Loglining My Novel-in-Progress

  1. Marc Schuster says:

    Definitely intriguing! Maybe you could work on the sentence that begins with “These are the people assembled by…” If you make “Captain Haclyon Jonah” the subject of the sentence, it might come across with greater impact: Captain Halcyon Jonah has assembled this [band of misfits?] to…

    • You targeted the exact sentence I had problems with. I thought of using something like “misfits,” but it felt cliche to me, which forced me to lead with a descriptor (these people) instead of the Captain. I think you’re right, however, that leading with the Captain’s name might be stronger, so I’ll see what I can do. The other place I thought was weak was the nebulous “those trying to stop them,” but I couldn’t figure how to get more specific without adding a lot of words (those trying to stop them include a rival corporation, mercenaries, a planetary government, and various specific individuals) and taking away from the tension I wanted to build with the sentence. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

      • Marc Schuster says:

        Maybe something like, “but if their opponents are right, the mission may end up destroying the galaxy.” Or maybe you could take out the opponents altogether and simply pose the problem as success v. failure: “but if they fail, their mission may end up destroying the galaxy.”

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