Composing a sentence in 25 words or less is a great way to procrastinate writing your novel. It certainly has helped me put off writing more than ten times.
Let’s try and analyze this. A log-line, elevator pitch, and premise are all names given to this most difficult string of words I’ve tried to write.
Describe your story in twenty-five words or less. Huh?
First we must understand this sentence consists of the hero, the antagonist, both preceded by adjectives, and a conflict that your hero finds himself in.
You could compose this sentence before you start writing, and it would be the premise of your story. Using what if? What if a short teen has to battle a tall man over who has the most guts? Bad example, but still. Are they actually battling about bloody innards or do they both have a need to be braver than the other? The writer knows, but what if the reader doesn’t. The reader plops down a twenty to purchase thinking it is about a contest to win a trophy when in actuality really is about bloody guts. However, if it’s your premise, than you are the only one who has to understand the sentence.
The thing is the only time you will really need to use this sentence is at a live conference. In case you run into an agent in an elevator
or bathroom stall. Perhaps
during a scheduled meeting with an actual agent, you will want to be able to
state what your story is about with eloquence.
But, if you’re like me, you’re never going to meet an agent or editor in person. So quit procrastinating and just write. If you don’t believe me, click on Ms. Reid’s Query Shark and read what she has to say about a log-line in a query letter. Scroll down the page, she made me say ahhh.
Besides that log-line is only what the outer perimeter of your story is about. What your story is really about is the character arc of your hero. But that’s another post.
So, here's my latest:
When her guardian is abducted by a vengeful ghost, a psychic teen must escape from Social Services and battle the evil presence, her father.
Yeah, I know. It sucks.