Editing + logline, tagline and pitch musings

I had an evening to myself at the end of last week and spent it typing up the changes to my manuscript – and I finally reached the end of that task. It had been getting rather tedious and I just wanted to get on with my next task. Actually, I still do. This week has been a funny one so far. Work is getting to me at the moment, but I am starting to feel more relaxed about things. My main problem is asking for help. I am very much a ‘suffer in silence’ type person.

So, when I’ve been in the mood I have been focussing on making a timeline. I did one previously for the messiest piece of my book, but decided it would be beneficial to do one for it in its entirety as I need to figure out a few motives of less major characters and so I am making a timeline of what each character is doing in each chapter, even if I won’t be writing those scenes. I have so many loose strings right now and when I start tying them up I find even more. Today’s find also didn’t help. Well, of course, it did. It helped me identify a problem and rectify said problem.

I found a great post here on how to use loglines, taglines and pitch and I learnt a lot. So, it’s never something I’ve thought of looking into. I’ve heard of all these things and had a rough idea of what they are but I’ve always thought I’ll figure them out when I need to. I mean, I just thought logline and tagline were different words for the same thing. But, nooooo. A logline is a sentence that ‘captures your main character, the conflict they’re going to face, and the stakes if they lose’ whereas a tagline ‘captures the tone or emotional essence of your book, and also hints at the gender’.

At which point my mind goes cloudier than it was before because, yeah, I get that. I understand what it wants me to do, what I need to identify, but I can’t. I know that I have all those elements of the logline but I am at a loss at how to identify them, and I know this is something I need to do to ensure consistency. As for a tagline… I have no idea! My book is about a young girl who falls out of the sky to a strange realm and discovers that she is the one person who can unite it. To do this she must journey to the end of the realm. But, the essence of the story is her personal journey as through the course of it the people she meet help her come to terms with events that have happened in her life so that when she returns to her own realm she will not make the same mistakes as they did.

Despite being even more confused on reading about loglines and taglines, what I read about pitch helped me in the here and now. The pitch should only cover the first third of your book, with particular emphasis on what is called the First Plot Point, which should happen a quarter of the way in. It is the point where the main character cannot turn back, where the key conflict is introduced and the main character commits to their goal. I’ve heard about this before, probably read about it, but never really took any note. However, I naturally picked up my manuscript and found where the first quarter ended. I flicked on a few pages and found that point (a bit more than a quarter of a way through, but once I’ve done my rewrites and additions it probably well, and it is not a precise science is it?!). And actually, I was impressed with myself. This is where Electra realises what she is actually doing there, why she has to continue with her journey. The only thing missing was a get out clause. She makes her decision to continue, but she is not actually given the option of going home. She believes it is impossible. However, I have the perfect opportunity to give her that choice and I think this will add more depth and meaning to her decision. Of course, it leaves me a few loose ends as I have to bend a few rules, but the rules in this instance are already bent so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue!

Jobs tomorrow: continue with my timeline and have a think about my logline.


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