Thursday, September 9, 2010

4 Pitch entry #4, Monica B.W.

Title: Out of My Body
Genre: YA paranormal

You’d think out-of-body experiences are fun, but they are definitely not for sixteen-year-old Tanya who needs to master them to outsmart a sly killer and rescue her mom’s kidnapped soul.

4 comments:

  1. The logline has the same agreement problem the pitch did--it should be "You'd think out-of-body experiences would be fun," not "are fun."

    I think the use of second person just ends up causing problems in such a limited amount of space. You start the sentence in second and finish in third, which just makes me as a reader get kind of confused. What if you wrote something like this:

    "Sixteen-year-old Tanya just started having out-of-body experiences--not as fun as you'd think--and has to master them to outsmart..."

    If you're set on using second person, putting it in the middle and sandwiching it between the third person sections might make the whole thing a little easier to follow. But you could also say "not as much fun as it sounds" and avoid second person altogether.

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  2. I agree with Meagan. You should avoid the second person, because what if the agent reading wouldn't think out-of-body experiences sound fun? It's a bit like a rhetorical question, IMO. Just avoid it if you can. :)

    Otherwise it's a fun premise! Good luck!

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  3. 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.

    It's usually easier to draft an effective logline for high-concept stories, as those high concept elements, by definition, often are easy to comprehend and cause an emotional reaction.

    Regardless, the exercise of drafting a logline for your story can be helpful in thinking about the conflicts, and if nothing else, it can give you a succinct and clear answer to the question, "What's your story about?"

    So, Monica, looking at your logline:

    I have to admit, the second person “You’d” threw me right away – it always feels a bit invasive to me. But more than the subjective invasive feel, it caused the somewhat awkward construction of “but they are definitely not…” which made me have to look back at who “they” are. But if you got rid of the “You’d” you could also solve the “they” problem – ie, “Out of body experiences aren’t fun for sixteen-year-old Tanya…” Much simpler and much more clear, but also less interesting for me, especially because I tend to feel more connections to loglines that lead with a person. And I wonder here if this is a bit of a subjective reaction for me – the out of body experiences in and of themselves don’t really hook me – they are not so new or fresh as to have an immediate “cool” factor for me without more. So…when you lead with them, it may, subconsciously, make me wonder if they are given more emphasis than the character development in the book. So…that may be my subjective kooky reaction, but I throw it out there for you to consider (and discard, if you decide it’s kooky ;) ).

    I will also say that from your pitch, one of the most interesting details for me was the aspect of her mother as a government operative and not knowing what side she was working for. So, rather than a nebulous sly killer, I’d try to get in some element of the government operative aspect or that Tanya may be working against her own government, etc...something to emphasize that aspect of the story.

    The part of the logline focused on rescuing her mother’s kidnapped soul works great, and has a terrific emotional impact - so, that part I’d try to keep. :)

    Having said all that, if you decided to keep it simple (ie, you try adding in the government operative and competing government aspects, and it becomes a muddled mess) THEN, simplifying the structure to “Out of body experiences aren’t fun for sixteen-year-old Tanya, but she must ______ [active succinct phrase] to outsmart a sly killer and rescue her mom’s kidnapped soul.” would make it a tighter and more clear logline that would set up the query well. : )

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  4. Wow, I hope E.M. Kokie crits mine. :)

    I agree with the others. I'm trying to come up with something useful to add, but I can't. They nailed it. Sounds like a great premise. Looking forward to see the changes in your query. :)

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