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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Come Critique My Logline Blogfest!



Steena Holmes is having a Logline Blogfest in preparation for Authoress Anonymous' December Auction. I'm posting my logline and welcoming you, no... expecting you to rip it to shreds!

Here goes:

When her father dies, Hatshepsut is forced to marry her hippo of a half-brother to secure his royal claim as Pharaoh. Then she does the unthinkable: she, a woman, proclaims herself Pharaoh of Egypt. Amid foreign wars and a palace coup, tormented by her love of a commoner and cursed with personal tragedies, Hatshepsut must choose between her own happiness and the chance of eternal glory.

Critique away!


Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for The Pericles Commission!

18 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Loglines seem best to me when short.

"The fiery Hatshepsut faces civil war within and without when the ancient Egyptian princess dares to become Pharaoh and to challenge the very gods of law and love."

It is shorter and teases. What do you think?

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh I really like Roland's take!

Cat said...

I like your logline a lot. I sums up Hatshepsut's life nicely (emphasizing a few details from your own imagination). For Authoress's contest it should do fine.

If you are asked for a one sentence logline, Roland's take seems the better fit although it leaves out most of the plot.

charlotteotter said...

Ooh, great story and what a great character! I think you could remove some of the wordage, especially the 'foreign wars and a palace coup' to focus on her goal, her stakes and the conflict.

Good luck with your writing!

Mark Noce said...

I like it! I'd just cut out the "hippo" part as it kind of takes me out of it momentarily. Just describe him as seedy or fat or some adjective that applies both to physicality as well as personality. Otherwise march on:)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I think loglines need to be shorter, but you can do that without much hassle. I suggest taking everyone's input and then making it your own, though.
Here's my quickie try: To avoid a forced marriage to her half-brother, Hatshepsut proclaims herself Pharaoh of Egypt and must face civil war, an attempted coup and the wrath of (?her people, the gods--I don't know so I'm guessing)
Good luck, Stephanie. You've got a great story going.

VR Barkowski said...

I've been struggling through this process too, and here's what I've learned: loglines should be short, focus on your key words and communicate the essence of your plot — not the whole story. I think what you have here is excellent, but there's a little too much. Also, I'm not sure the "choice" line works. You've already mentioned Hat proclaims herself Pharaoh, so we know she's going for eternal glory. I would simplify:

Amid foreign wars and a palace coup, tormented by her love of a commoner and cursed with personal tragedies, Hatshepsut challenges history to proclaim herself Egypt's first female Pharaoh.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree that it needs to be shorter, but there are a lot of good ideas floating around on here. :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Ohlala! Great advice, everyone. Thanks so much- this is my first stab at a logline.

What happened to the days when you just had to write the book and call it done? Ha! :)

Amanda Sablan said...

Will I be in trouble if I say I like it? :P

Really the only thing that jumped out at me was "hippo." That kind of humor just doesn't seem to fit with the overall seriousness but otherwise this is concise and well-written. :)

roh morgon said...

I loved your logline on first read (except for 'hippo' - that jarred me, too, but then I felt even more sympathy for her).

But I have to agree with some of the other suggestions here to trim it down.

Sounds like a great story - I'd certainly read it!

Jackee said...

Love it, Stephanie! The only thing I would suggest is taking out the hippo part--it might make readers pause too much (as it did me) and also will help with shorten up the length issue.

Best of luck! :o)

Renee Yancy said...

Stephanie: I like your logline but I think it could be more succinct.

"When her royal father dies, princess Hatshepsut is forced to marry her half-brother to secure his royal claim as Pharaoh. But when she does the unthinkable and proclaims herself Pharaoh of Egypt, she must choose between her own happiness and the chance of eternal glory.

Caroline Tung Richmond said...

Your book sounds awesome! What caught my eye was how Hatshepsut declares herself Pharoah. Total awesomeness!

Libbie H. said...

Is a logline supposed to be mega-short, or just something that'll fit on the back of a book -- a blurb, in other words?

I'm confused as to what genre this book might be. I'm thinking it's YA or even MG because of the use of the word "hippo" to describe Thutmose II. That "youngs" it down quite a lot. If it's intended to be an adult novel (adult as in for more grown-up readers, not as in erotic content) then I'd axe that bit in favor of something more mature-sounding. If it's intended to be a children's novel, I think the rest of it needs to speak to the target audience more directly.

I also think the description of the meat of the plot is a little too vague. If a logline is meant to be like a jacket blurb, intended to tempt readers to buy the book, then I think you need to go into specifics just a bit more.

Here's the part of my query letter that got my agent for Bride of Amun, to give you some idea of what I mean re: going into more detail without giving it all away.

---

Queen Ahmose knows her duty: To produce an heir for the Pharaoh. But she is young, and has just watched her closest friend die in childbirth. If the Pharaoh plants his seed in her, she will die as Aiya did, in a pool of blood, surrounded by wailing women. She has her husband’s love -- but a king must have an heir, and even the Pharaoh’s patience will run out. Meanwhile, a lesser queen -- Ahmose’s own sister -- has given him three sweet, bright sons; Ahmose’s grasp on the Pharaoh’s heart is loosening.

Desperate, Ahmose begs the gods for courage to become a mother. They give her more than courage: A vision of a shining prince, a gift for Egypt who will bring glory to the land. He will be more than a son of a king. He will be the son of the god Amun.

But when the child arrives, it’s a girl.

Ahmose knows the vision was not wrong. Her daughter Hatshepsut has a male soul, and the gods intend the girl to rule. But the Pharaoh will not scandalize Egypt by proclaiming Hatshepsut heir, and in punishment, the gods take one of Ahmose’s beloved nephews. Her relationship with the Pharaoh is crumbling. Her sister’s remaining children are in danger. If Ahmose cannot convince the Pharaoh to accept Hatshepsut as his heir, everything she loves will be destroyed.

----

So there's a little more of the plot and characters here, to pique the reader's interest, but nothing about how it ends.

Libbie H. said...

Is a logline supposed to be mega-short, or just something that'll fit on the back of a book -- a blurb, in other words?

I'm confused as to what genre this book might be. I'm thinking it's YA or even MG because of the use of the word "hippo" to describe Thutmose II. That "youngs" it down quite a lot. If it's intended to be an adult novel (adult as in for more grown-up readers, not as in erotic content) then I'd axe that bit in favor of something more mature-sounding. If it's intended to be a children's novel, I think the rest of it needs to speak to the target audience more directly.

I also think the description of the meat of the plot is a little too vague. If a logline is meant to be like a jacket blurb, intended to tempt readers to buy the book, then I think you need to go into specifics just a bit more.

Here's the part of my query letter that got my agent for Bride of Amun, to give you some idea of what I mean re: going into more detail without giving it all away.

---

Queen Ahmose knows her duty: To produce an heir for the Pharaoh. But she is young, and has just watched her closest friend die in childbirth. If the Pharaoh plants his seed in her, she will die as Aiya did, in a pool of blood, surrounded by wailing women. She has her husband’s love -- but a king must have an heir, and even the Pharaoh’s patience will run out. Meanwhile, a lesser queen -- Ahmose’s own sister -- has given him three sweet, bright sons; Ahmose’s grasp on the Pharaoh’s heart is loosening.

Desperate, Ahmose begs the gods for courage to become a mother. They give her more than courage: A vision of a shining prince, a gift for Egypt who will bring glory to the land. He will be more than a son of a king. He will be the son of the god Amun.

But when the child arrives, it’s a girl.

Ahmose knows the vision was not wrong. Her daughter Hatshepsut has a male soul, and the gods intend the girl to rule. But the Pharaoh will not scandalize Egypt by proclaiming Hatshepsut heir, and in punishment, the gods take one of Ahmose’s beloved nephews. Her relationship with the Pharaoh is crumbling. Her sister’s remaining children are in danger. If Ahmose cannot convince the Pharaoh to accept Hatshepsut as his heir, everything she loves will be destroyed.

----

So there's a little more of the plot and characters here, to pique the reader's interest, but nothing about how it ends.

Libbie H. said...

Is a logline supposed to be mega-short, or just something that'll fit on the back of a book -- a blurb, in other words?

I'm confused as to what genre this book might be. I'm thinking it's YA or even MG because of the use of the word "hippo" to describe Thutmose II. That "youngs" it down quite a lot. If it's intended to be an adult novel (adult as in for more grown-up readers, not as in erotic content) then I'd axe that bit in favor of something more mature-sounding. If it's intended to be a children's novel, I think the rest of it needs to speak to the target audience more directly.

I also think the description of the meat of the plot is a little too vague. If a logline is meant to be like a jacket blurb, intended to tempt readers to buy the book, then I think you need to go into specifics just a bit more.

Here's the part of my query letter that got my agent for Bride of Amun, to give you some idea of what I mean re: going into more detail without giving it all away.

---

Queen Ahmose knows her duty: To produce an heir for the Pharaoh. But she is young, and has just watched her closest friend die in childbirth. If the Pharaoh plants his seed in her, she will die as Aiya did, in a pool of blood, surrounded by wailing women. She has her husband’s love -- but a king must have an heir, and even the Pharaoh’s patience will run out. Meanwhile, a lesser queen -- Ahmose’s own sister -- has given him three sweet, bright sons; Ahmose’s grasp on the Pharaoh’s heart is loosening.

Desperate, Ahmose begs the gods for courage to become a mother. They give her more than courage: A vision of a shining prince, a gift for Egypt who will bring glory to the land. He will be more than a son of a king. He will be the son of the god Amun.

But when the child arrives, it’s a girl.

Ahmose knows the vision was not wrong. Her daughter Hatshepsut has a male soul, and the gods intend the girl to rule. But the Pharaoh will not scandalize Egypt by proclaiming Hatshepsut heir, and in punishment, the gods take one of Ahmose’s beloved nephews. Her relationship with the Pharaoh is crumbling. Her sister’s remaining children are in danger. If Ahmose cannot convince the Pharaoh to accept Hatshepsut as his heir, everything she loves will be destroyed.

----

So there's a little more of the plot and characters here, to pique the reader's interest, but nothing about how it ends.

Libbie H. said...

OMG TRIPLE RAINBOW! Sorry for the triple-comment...no idea what's wrong with my 'puter today. D: