Thanks everyone for your feedback on my fledgling logline. I have duly scrumpled it up and tossed it in the circular filing cabinet!
Which is to say, I went back to the drawing-board last night to have a good hard ponder (see avatar!)
This is the first time I've written a logline up front (or in fact a synopsis of any kind or length). Normally, my 'process' is to get some planning done, with particular reference to my final destination. (I've learned that if I don't have a pretty clear idea about how the book ends, It'll fizzle out and fade at some point along the way). Then I write, write, write.FallingBook
, however, seems to want me to approach it differently, largely because it's a reworking of an existing MS. Also, for certain Life Reasons, I have limited time and energy at the moment, so am not able to indulge in delicious swathes of writing. So, bite-sized exercises such as writing the logline are very useful.
Useful in lots of ways, as it turns out.
As I mentioned last time, Blake Snyder advocates writing the logline before you write anything else, and I can see the sense in doing so. In figuring out the key elements of the logline — who is it about? what are they struggling against? what are the stakes? what do they need to do? — it reveals where the gaps are in the story. This is immensely helpful, as it means I can fix things at this early stage, instead of realising it 100 pages and 1000 hours down the line, swearing a lot, and plunging into the Writerly Doldrums.
Specifically for me, it has raised the question of who or what my antagonist is. Who or what is the MC struggling against?
At the outset, I was pretty certain her estranged daughter filled the role. And to some extent, she does. However, when authorwithin
pointed out that my stakes in the logline aren't high enough, it made me rethink my position. And what I've realised is that the daughter isn't the antagonist at all. I've gone full circle and arrived back at the point where I started 15 years ago when I wrote the short story on which the novel is based. Ingriguingly (for me, at least) the antagonist doesn't appear in person until well into the book, and then it's in flashback form. We don't meet the antagonist in actuality until the closing chapters. It reminded me of this helpful little piece
by Donald Maas.
Such fun, this novel-creation business!