Just Jess: Writing & Editing

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Revised Logline Critique Round - #16
TITLE: Luminous Earth

Emory is the descendant of an alien god who took refuge on Earth, and the target of an interstellar army who plan on using her to restore their planet to its former glory. Cael is a soldier, convinced that capturing her single-handedly is his chance to prove himself. But when he ends up owing her his life instead, he faces a choice: keep fighting for a cause he isn’t sure he believes in anymore, or betray his home planet and somehow keep Emory safe.

Read the original logline on MSFV.

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I had a moment of confusion because I assumed Emory is the protag. But it appears to be Cael as he's the one with the choices. I might lead with him.

You can cut a few details for logline purposes

Here's my go:

Cael, a soldier in an interstellar army, tries to capture Emory, the descendent of an alien god who has taken refuge on Earth. But when he ends up owing her his life instead, he must betray his home planet or lose the one person he can finally love. (messing with the consequences)

I'm sure you can do something better than that.

It was confusing to start with Emory only to realize Cael is the main character. But I thought this was strong otherwise. The setup is good, the stakes are clear. I'd want to read it. :)

I agree with what Heather & matril said. When I got to the third sentence, I was a bit jarred since I'd believed Emory was the MC (since you started with her). Otherwise, this story sounds great!

Thanks for the comments, everybody! =) I had a feeling I would confuse people; thing is, my story actually does have two protagonists-- it's told in Cael and Emory's alternating povs. Still trying to figure out what to do about that, exactly. The first 250 words will be from Cael's pov, though, so like ya'll are suggesting, I should probably lead with him.

I thought the parallel structure was a good way to show that it was a two POV book, but it's possible I read it that way because I remembered you mentioning that last time.

Is there a way (this is going to sound impossible) to give a simplified version of the stakes for both of them in the third sentence?

Maybe something along the lines of...
Emory is the descendant of an alien god who took refuge on Earth, and the target of an interstellar army who plan on using her to restore their planet to its former glory. Cael is a soldier determined to capture Emory until he ends up owing her his life instead. Cael must choose between Emory and his home planet; Emory must fight for her life.

It sounds like such a great book!! And loglines are hard enough with having to tackle two POVs. I don't envy you!

I don't think you need to worry about whose POV it is in a logline. Right now, this feels like Cael's story, and I think most readers, if they got to an Emory-POV chapter, would understand that her side of the story is important too. Even if it wasn't mentioned in the summary.

I think Heather's rearrangement is a good skeleton to work from. Flesh that out with some voice and specifics, and I think this would be stronger.

I agree with Adam here, on all counts. Go back to Heather's skeleton and work from there, and I think you're good to go.

Before I read all of the comments, I thought this was excellent and I didn't have any problems understanding it. But I see all of the great points about POV (and I agree with the grammatical note below), and it could probably use some work to help clarify the logline. However, I think it would work okay if you used what you have here.

I think most other comments hit on changing to Cael as lead in the logline. My only other advice is grammatical: If it is the interstellar army "who" plan on using her--- then remember that the army is a thing not a person so it should be "that plans on using"

This feels too clunky with information. Zero in on Cael and use him as your focus. I like Heather's suggestions for clarifying. Only share the information that is vital to the pitch.

I agree that you should focus on Cael for now. Also:
1) You must start by inciting this story. Why does Cael decide to do this now?
2) The choice is supposed to come after all of the conflict. You must give us some of his challenges and build those up to a final choice.
3) I feel like there is more going on with Emory here. Does he want to betray his planet because he feels like he owes her or because he doesn't agree with his planet? If so, I think you need to start by telling us this so we can see how hard this choice will be.


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