By Christine Conradt
The logline is the first thing anyone hears about your book or screenplay. It’s what entices a producer, agent, reader, studio exec, or editor to want to hear more. In short, without a well-conceived logline, your manuscript or screenplay won’t get very far.
Every good logline has seven elements: the inciting incident, the protagonist, an important detail about the protagonist, the protagonist’s goal, the reversal, the antagonist, and a hook that makes the reader wonder what happens next.
Here’s the logline I used for ‘Missing at 17,’ the movie I wrote for Lifetime and later turned into a novel that was published by HarperCollins: After inadvertently discovering she’s adopted, 17-year-old Candace runs away in search of her biological mother only to become involved with Toby, a dangerous bad boy who delivers much more than he promises her…
The inciting incident: She discovers she’s adopted.
The protagonist: Candace.
The detail about her: She’s 17.
Her goal: To find her mother.
The reversal: She meets a dangerous guy.
The antagonist: Toby.
The hook: He delivers more than he promises…
Think you got it? Let’s try one more. See if you can identify the elements before reading the answers…
Here’s the logline for the Christmas movie I wrote for UPtv titled ‘12 Days of Giving’: After winning $50,000, a discontent photographer uses the money, against his fiance’s wishes, to play Secret Santa to people in his small town. Finding happiness through giving, he helps out a little boy and quickly realizes he’s falling head over heels for the boy’s single mother.
The inciting incident: Winning $50,000.
The protagonist: Toby
The detail about him: He’s a discontent photographer.
His goal: To play Secret Santa.
The antagonist: His fiancé.
The reversal: He meets the boy’s single mom.
The hook: He finds himself falling in love with the single mother.
Now it’s your turn! Try writing a logline for your own project or even use the formula to help you clarify the story elements before you put pen to paper. Happy writing!
Christine Conradt is an L.A.-based screenwriter with more than 70 produced writing credits across multiple genres. Her thrillers have appeared on Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Showtime, USA, and Fox, and her rom-com and Christmas movies have aired on Hallmark and UPtv. She has also executive produced multiple TV-movies and directed four features, including two that she also penned.
Visit her website here.