Thursday, September 9, 2010

12 Pitch Entry # 2: A Grey

Title: Amarok and the Gone Missing Girl
Genre: YA (Contemporary)

When shy albino Ansel meets a runaway girl, she turns his secluded world upside down and soon Ansel is thrust out of the shadows and into the public eye - and into a showdown with his new girlfriend’s millionaire family.

12 comments:

  1. I don't have the best sense for what a logline should look like (which makes this contest awesome!) so take my comments with a grain of salt. But to me, this seemed a little long/confusing. There are a lot of concepts to grasp here in one sentence. Is the fact that he's albino so important, for example? Removing that word would give the reader one less thing to think about.

    Also, beware of phrases that end up meaning similar things. "Turns his secluded world upside down" ends up functioning the same as "Ansel is thrust out of the shadows and into the public eye." The latter ends up being a description of the former. You could just say "A chance encounter between shy Ansel and a runaway girl thrusts him out of the shadows and into the public eye" to simplify it. That would also get rid of the passive voice ("Ansel is thrust" etc.) in the sentence.

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  2. Cool...but perhaps even tighter: When the shy albino Ansel meets a runaway girl, he's thrust out of his world and into hers--facing the public eye and a showdown with her millionaire family.

    :) Just a thought.

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  3. I think this sounds really good. I like Carrie's suggestion for tightening. I do think the fact that Ansel is an albino is very critical. I think that's one of the things that really sets this apart from any other story about a recluse (oh, what about reclusive albino?)who meets a girl from another class blah blah blah...

    Anyway, great job.

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  4. You've already got some great comments. I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth to say (with a bit of tightening as suggested) this is intriguing. I also think the fact that he's an albino helps make your character unique. BTW I read your pitches and think your last pitch is working well. Nice job of revising.

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  5. Yeah, I thought it was a little too long/convoluted. Carrie's suggestion is great, and still gets all the points covered. Good luck!

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  6. I'm far from an expert but in my opinion the best loglines do four things:

    1. Introduce the primary POV character (and sometimes, but less often, characters).
    2. Introduce the primary conflict.
    3. Include an emotional element, something the reader can react to emotionally, as it's the emotional response that often triggers interest.
    4. And, the most effective loglines accomplish 1-3 in an easy to comprehend (on the first read!) bite of information.

    And the exercise can help you think about the conflicts, and it can give you a succinct and clear answer to the question, "What's your story about?"

    So, A Grey, looking at your logline:

    Like with entry #1, the first thing I noticed is that I had to read it several times to really understand it. And even then, I couldn’t have repeated it back to someone else. That meant the info wasn’t really sticking with me. So, it doesn't really meet criteria number 4 on my little test. But, also like entry #1, the good news is that I think it's simply too packed with information (and, again, modifiers – a common issue in loglines). So, with some trimming and tightening you’d have a more clear and easily understood logline.

    So, in looking at what to cut, there was some repetitious info – you said he was shy and mentioned his secluded world and being thrust out of the shadows…all three things sort of touch on the same plot elements.

    You also mention the girl a number of times. I wondered if it could be revised to reduce the references to the girl and, thereby, simplify the logline.

    I also wondered if “albino" is really needed – for me, it’s a toss up, and I am not sure, so I’ll give you my thoughts but you will need to think about it and maybe even try it with and without. My thinking is that your character being an albino, in and of itself, is not necessary to the plot expression or a significant hook or selling point for me. And I’ll stress for me, because I can’t say that one or more agents or others wouldn’t be much more interested in that plot element that I am. But, combined with his self-isolation it becomes a more interesting aspect. So, I think it only really works to hook if the logline makes better use of it. To that end, I suspect that “shy” isn’t nearly a precise enough word on it’s own to show the depth of Ansel’s isolating feelings. So…if it were me, I’d try to come up with a word or phrase to replace “shy” that would give a more precise expression of his feelings and would allow you to cut the secluded world and shadows bits. And then I think I’d try it with and without mentioning he’s an albino – because I suspect that if you could find a more succinct and precise way to express his isolation, then the mention of his being an albino wouldn’t feel extraneous and could be linked emotionally to that isolation. Maybe something like “Withdrawn albino Ansel” or “When an isolated albino…” something to more succinctly and precisely link his appearance with his isolation to foster an emotional reaction.

    Then, looking at other place to trim, I wondered if you could cast Ansel as more active AND reduce references to the girl if you focused on his active decision to protect or shelter her. Because he does more than meet her - from the pitch, it’s clear he actively takes her in and protects her. That is so much more powerful and emotional. So, if you could craft a succinct and active way of expressing that plot element, it might also allow you to reduce references to the girl – for example, “When albino Ansel shelters a runaway girl,…”

    There’s a lot of emotional potential in the pitch and logline. So, I think if the logline clearly focused on Ansel’s decision and the consequences, then I think the emotional aspects would also be more clear and effective.

    So, good start that with some trimming and refocus could be a really tight and easily understood logline with strong emotional impact. :)

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  7. I do like this and I feel you are close. Since every has basically covered this. I'll just say--tighten. I think ur right on for giving us an idea of your novel, but I think you can sum it. Like, "When shy albino Ansel meets a runaway girl, she turns his secluded world upside down, thrusting him into the public eye - and a showdown with his new girlfriend’s millionaire family."

    Something like that. Just tighter. :) Overall, sounds good.

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  8. My only suggestion because there's so much other good advice is to cut the part about her millionaire family - it's never mentioned again and that makes it kind of crowded. I don't feel like the hook is the place for extra information, you know? it's not a cram-as-much-in-as-you-can exercise.

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  9. Okay, round two... I've tried to cobble everyone's comments together to shorten the logline. I admit, this has been frustrating because it seems as though there's two schools of thought: You don't need a lot of details. And: Give as many details as possible without cluttering the sentence. Most of my struggles probably have to do with this being my first 'Logline' attempt.

    Here's my new version:

    When diffident albino Ansel gives refuge to a runaway girl, his secluded world is turned upside down by his evolving love for her.

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  10. Hey there Ms Grey :)

    Things I liked from pitch #2

    You made me ask questions - why did the girl run away? How is his world turned upside down?

    Things that made me pause

    (slightly embarrassed)I didn't know what diffident meant so I had to look it up *blushes furiously*

    I think your first choice might have been the best choice - keep it simple.

    Evolving, maybe use growing?

    You could probably stitch the two together to make one

    This is my attempt at putting elements from each into one; you could do much better than my sorry attempt.

    When shy albino Ansel meets a runaway girl, she turns his secluded world upside down by thrusting him out of the shadows and into the public eye.

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  11. You have gotten so much great advice on this, so I don't have much to add, but I agree with Janice to change diffident, I read it twice and had to look it up too :D! Simplicity is key.

    Good luck with this!

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  12. Okay diffident is out! Maybe...

    When shy albino Ansel shelters a runaway girl she turns his secluded world upside down and his efforts to help her force him into the public eye.

    Thanks SO much for all of the help everyone! It's been a terrific learning experience! :D

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