Pitching on Twitter . . . 140 character loglines!

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. But . . .

Loglines are important in every step of the publishing process. Writers use them to get agents. Agents use them to snag editors’ interest. Editors use them to sell the book to their marketing/acquisitions teams. Publishers use them in publicity to the reader.

A good logline is essential to garnering attention for your novel. Pitching is the delivery of your logline to someone else. It takes practice, good form, and fortitude just like . . .

pitching

Answer all of the following questions, then narrow things down to your 140-character pitch. As you’re going through, don’t worry so much about length as ideas. You can cut and reword later.

 

Components of a logline . . .

Main Character

What do they want, their goal or intention?

This can be internal or external, or both if you’re extremely clever.

If you use a name, you’ve wasted a description. What is the primary description of your character? Make sure it pertains to the main plot/theme of the story. And with pitching on Twitter, using ages is also a waste (in my opinion) because you’re tagging with an age category already.

Girl wanting to be seen as herself . . .

A queen desiring world peace . . .

A scientist hoping to cure all disease . . .

(P.S. The first is one of my book, but the others I’m making up as I go.)

Description

More adjectives add to setting, character, genre, and plot.

Be as specific as possible without using words that apply to only your story (like horcrux), because people won’t understand.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself . . .

A crippled princess desiring world peace . . .

A dying scientist hoping to cure all disease . . .

hmm

Main Conflict (Antagonist/Antagonistic Situation)

And how are they in the way of the protagonist getting what they want?

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself, dies, and her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host . . .

A crippled princess desiring world peace must face the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist hoping to cure all disease is sabotaged by a pharmaceutical company . . .

Plot Synopsis

What makes the story unique?

Especially for science fiction or fantasy, set up the world and what makes it different.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself, dies, and her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds . . .

good

Emotional hook

The emotional hook might already be included by this point. If not, make mention of it somehow.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds . . .

In the last one, I think the children’s hospital is the emotional hook. We know he’s a good guy trying to save children.

Stakes

If they don’t overcome conflict and get what they need, what is going to happen to them, their community, and/or the world?

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun.

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out and the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

Try Adding Comps

Think of a character or story that fits one of the phrases you have in your pitch. As many similarities as possible. The main idea is to have the compared work explain the primary idea. If you’re an editor, the comp needs to show a good sales record and potential market. So if you can give this to the agent, they’ll be very happy.

Book comps are always better than movie comps. Published within the last two to three years is best.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. When she meets her X-men-like polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out and the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

For the last one, I got nothing. You can add some in the comments if you like. For any of these actually.

nothing

Other Things to Keep in Mind

The more irony in the logline (and your story), the better.

Use action words.

Add descriptive imagery if there’s room.

Don’t use cliches.

Reflect the genre in the words and voice.

Add a countdown to ticking time-bomb if you can.

MOVE AND REARRANGE AND CUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

If this is a twitter pitch, you’re going to have to choose your most important components. Not everything will fit in 140 characters. 😦

SAMPLE 1

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. When she meets her X-men-like polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

For a query . . .

Accidentally dying to get noticed, a girl is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. She must find her X-men-like opposite and reveal the key to immortality, or a techno-cult will use them to take over the world and she’ll lose herself forever.

For a pitch contest . . .

Accidentally dying to get noticed, an invisible girl uses a living host. She must find her opposite or lose herself forever. #PitMad #YA #SF

SAMPLE 2

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

For a query . . .

A crippled princess of Sector 3 colony must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win and gain the world peace she’s always wanted, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

For a pitch contest . . .

Crippled ant-princess must face invading, childhood-love in combat to the death or her colony will perish. BUG’S LIFE x MAD MAX #PitMad #A

SAMPLE 3

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out unless he finds some money. Otherwise, the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

For a query . . .

A dying scientist hopes to cure disease and save his patients at the children’s hospital. When he’s sabotaged by a pharmaceutical company and his funding runs out, the living producers of his cures will die alongside his patients and himself.

For a pitch contest . . .

Dying, children’s-hospital scientist is sabotaged by a pharma co. Cures will die with his patients unless he steals quick cash. #PitMad #A

Notice that I had to add what the scientist did, his actions that propelled the story. Otherwise, he’d just seem sad. The hero was missing in action!

formula

Using A Formula

If you use a common form, it will work. But allowing yourself to cut and trim and work with your words, more of your voice will come out in the pitch. The most common form is:

When [INCITING INCIDENT OCCURS], a [SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST] must [OBJECTIVE], or else [STAKES].

For science fiction, fantasy, or unique world-building, sometimes it’s better to use that unique quality to propel the pitch forward.

In a world where people are grown in test tubes . . .

For more ideas about how to make a pitch, see Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified

 

 

GOOD LUCK PITCHING EVERYONE!

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Pitching on Twitter . . . 140 character loglines!

  1. Pingback: #PitMad Twitter Pitch Party Today . . . After the Madness! | Way-Word Writer

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