Kitty

Just Jess: Writing & Editing

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Revised Logline Critique Round - #19 (Lost Email)
Kitty
justjess
A last minute entry from a lost email sent within the timeframe... the Internet must have eaten it. Bad, hungry Internet.

Title: Swimming With Tchaikovsky
Genre: YA Suspense/Magical Realism

In St. Petersburg for a cello competition, Sally watches her host father get kidnapped and starts seeing visions with clues when she plays Russian music. As she tracks the clues to the upper echelons of the police department, various thugs-for-hire appear on her tail, but her host family has given her more hugs than she ever got at home, and there’s no way she’ll let them find their father in a dumpster.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

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Not sure I understand the last line. What are the dire consequences for the MC? Maybe make that clearer?

oh, forgot something...maybe a slight indication what the swimming is about?

Big improvement on the original. A few things could be tweaked. "Sally watches" just feels too passive. Maybe something like "After her host father is kidnapped, Sally starts seeing visions with clues when she plays Russian music." Move around the phrases a bit; see what works for you. Then there's the host family and hugs bit - it's important, definitely, to establish why Sally wants to find her host father so much, but this phrase just seems kind of clunky in the middle of that sentence. You might want to set up her close relationship with the family at the start, and then get to the kidnapping. Good luck!

All the pieces are here, it just needs some buffing and polishing.

I agree with matril about "watches" and hugs phrase. Maybe, "but she has come to care for her host family...

Cut "various" - stronger without

Think the advice above is great, and using that will definitely make this stronger. Great premise.

Wow. Great points. Thank you.

In looking at this again, I definitely agree with your suggestions. Unfortunately, I tried to rearrange things, but couldn't get anything to work well enough. So, I tried to tackle the motivation from a different angle and hopefully produced something less clunky. Let me know what you think. Thank you!!

After Sally’s Russian host father is kidnapped for trying to expose government corruption, music prompts her to see visions with clues. The clues lead Sally and her host sister to the upper echelons of the police department, but there’s no way she’s going to let this courageous man end up in a dumpster. Even if the thugs-for-hire are now following her.

I've been back and forth on whether to mention her host sister. Keeping it means more obvious motivation. Getting rid of it means a simpler, tighter result. Oh, these decisions!

This is close! I don't quite understand "music prompts her to see visions with clues"--how does the music "prompt"? I'd think it "forces" or "shows her visions...," something like that. The second and third sentences are still a little confusing too.

I'd try:
"After Sally’s Russian host father is kidnapped for trying to expose government corruption, music starts showing her visions. The visions contain clues that lead Sally to the upper echelons of the police department, [you need to connect the police department to her host father ending up in a dumpster. I'd assume it's because she's afraid to take down the cops or the government? But we need to know for sure here] but there’s no way she’s going to let her host father end up in a dumpster, even if the thugs-for-hire are now following her."

Good luck! I hope that helps.

This sounds like a really interesting story. The opening clause is awkward; what about "While __-year-old cellist Sally is in St. Petersburg for a competition..."?

The first two clauses of the second sentence feel like they could be condensed, but I love the ending, and I definitely like the premise of the story!

This needs more editing, but I tried to encapsulate the feeling you were conveying in this--

When Sally's host father is kidnapped, she begins receiving clues to his whereabouts in the music she creates. As she follows the clues through the upper echelons of the police department, the secrets revealed may put her own safety in jeopardy.

This revision works well, too.

I like that you've given us a reason to care but we need to see this come before he is hurt, otherwise, we have to almost think in reverse to get it. Having said that, I would suggest you use something different than hugs as that sounds very young MG to me. Perhaps say something like, "When Sally arrives in Russian for the competition of her life, she finally finds herself with a family..." (Maybe not this exactly but the point is to show that she WANTS a family more than anything and this is what is at stake when the father is kidnapped).

Holly

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