Happy New Year & Happy #PitMad!

Welcome to The YA Bookcase 2014!  For all my regular followers, it’s so nice to see you back.  I hope this year I can continue to help as best I can with your writing world.  I’m striving to make this the strongest, freshest, most relevant year yet!  And to all my new followers, thank you for stopping by.  I hope you find something in this blog you connect with.  Don’t be shy.  Feel free to comment, suggest or ask whatever you want.  Open discussions are always welcome.

Okay, so let’s get down to business.  It’s the start of a brand new year which means the start of a contest.  You got it!  #PitMad is back (follow the hashtag on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed).  This is the time for writers to hone their novel’s log line in 140 characters or less and pitch it to numerous agents perusing the hashtag on the 8th of January.  Feel free to join in and see if you can snag the agent of your dreams.  I got my agent through a previous #PitMad contest, so it can happen for you too!

Now, before the action hots up, I thought it was the right time to discuss just exactly what makes an eye catching log line.

A log line should be short, sharp and to the point.  It should offer the unique slant of the story, whilst giving the reader the idea of the conflict and genre.  Ideally, it should cover the main character, what the main character wants, and what must be overcome for the character to succeed.

However, a few different techniques can be used to great effect.

For example, some log lines focus on comparisons, such as the Aliens movie, which could be log-lined as “Jaws in space”, or a book being pegged as “Twilight meets the Golden Girls”.

Others novels don’t suit comparisons, but could be based on the formula of “(hero) must (action) with/against (antagonist) to resolve (conflict) or (consequence).”

Or you can use the method of “Character wants X, but Y stands in the way. Z must be done to achieve goal or consequences occur.”

If you can’t boil your book down to a log line, then you need to sit down and think hard about what your book is about.  What does your main character want more than anything in the world?  What would they do to get it?  What’s stopping them?  What will happen if they don’t get it?  How is this bad for them?

If you’re still really struggling, then ask your Critique Partners (very nicely) to sum up what your book is about in as few of words as possible, then use this as a base to work from.

A good log line is essential to a writer’s career.  You need to be able to paint a picture of your novel in the reader’s mind as quickly as possible, so that they can see why they’d want to buy your book.  Learning this skill early on is vital.

Also, don’t forget to insert your genre in your log line.  For example:  “YA Romance. Character wants X, but Y stands in the way. Z must be done to achieve goal or consequences occur.”

As a helping hand to all #PitMad applicants, feel free to post your log lines here and I’ll give a critique on them before the big day.

Best of luck to you all.  And may the odds be ever in your favour!

Here’s to a roaring 2014!  I hope all your writing dreams come true!


16 thoughts on “Happy New Year & Happy #PitMad!

  1. Ballerina Aly’s danced pas de deux easier than restarting her career&rekindling her romance w/Zed. Hardest. Dance. Ever. Dual POV NA.


    Aly would call their ballet Balanchine Revisited.Zed would call it Second Chances. 2 dancers, no choreography, rekindled romance. NA


  2. I really love the intrigue of this, and you set up your premise well. My only question is “hope for what?” For release? For a normal life? A tiiny bit of clarification could realy help there.


  3. There are parts of each of these log lines that I like, though neither one is fully doing the job of showcasing your novel. The first one tries to fit too much in, and the second feels a little stilted.

    Also, I don't get a sense of the consequences.

    For example:

    Pas de duex is easier for ballerina Ally than rekindling her romance with Zed. If she can't dance her way through this one, she'll…


    2 dancers, no choreography. Which is harder – rekindling their romance, or restarting her career? NA


  4. Fiona,

    I've been playing around with a few potential pitches. Thank you for looking them over.


    1. Based on a true story, child soldier Ricky escapes Kony’s LRA, but must face his captor & past in a fight for his life & future. A #pitmad

    2. A LONG WALK TO WATER meets Kony’s LRA. Based on the true story of a child soldier fighting for his freedom & future in N Uganda. A #PitMad

    3. In Uganda death stalks children w/guns & machetes, but when Ricky escapes the LRA, he fights to save them w/1 weapon: his story #pitmad

    4. As a child soldier Ricky faces death w/ a gun and machete, but when he escapes, he faces a new challenge: rebuilding his life. Adult #PitMad

    5. Joseph Kony arms children w/guns & machetes. After escaping the LRA, Ricky fights his former captor armed w/1 weapon: his story. A #PitMad


  5. Thanks for the offer to help us get ready for PitMad! Here are some pitches I've come up with:

    1. A fairy tale not yet told. A palace. A prince. A traitor’s plot. The kingdom’s fate rests in an orphan’s choice of who to trust next.

    2. When Ari is chosen, a dream-come-true stay at the palace unravels as she first fights prejudice & then a plot to destroy the kingdom.

    3. An orphan. A prince. A traitor’s plot. YA fantasy with the pace & romance of GALLAGHER GIRLS & epic feel of LORD OF THE RINGS.

    4. The king chooses an introverted nobody. The palace protests. Ari must fight prejudice & unravel the prophecy before it fulfills. YAF


  6. I think the strongest of these loglines is number 2. The others feel a little generic. The word “prejudice” in number 2 hints at a deeper plot than just one to overthrow the kingdom. My only suggestion on this one would be to see if you could make “dream come true stay at the palace” a little more specific.

    A great start here!


  7. Thanks for the help! What do you think of this:

    Unicorn Fiona hates seeking virgins till 1 rescues her from hunters who invaded his kingdom & they team up to win their freedom YA #pitmad


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