Deep in the trenches of a secret war against monsters that threaten humanity, a battle-weary young woman struggles to prepare her new trainee for combat when the truth behind her sister’s death on the frontlines comes to light.

Gruntilda Penpusher Asked on October 8, 2015 in SciFi.

Previously: When the laws of the universe fracture, a battle-weary young woman must train her new partner to combat the onslaught of monsters born from that instability.

I don’t know that this logline is necessarily better but it is more specific. I do think the focus is now placed squarely on the main character (which was a problem with the last logline), but I am concerned that it is too long. What should I cut?

on October 8, 2015.
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3 Review(s)

The sentence “…Deep in the trenches of a secret war against monsters that threaten humanity…” doesn’t add any new detail and provides no further clarity of the plot because it appears to use vague terms and an analogy. Is the MC literally deep in trenches or is this a colorful description?

Is she a soldier, a secret agent or just a person that found herself in the wrong place and time?
The notion of a trainee is confusing, is she part of an organization that recruits new people as trainees? Or did she just so happen to find a random person and dubbed them her trainee?

Descriptions such as “…secret war…” are confusing what does a secret war mean? Only the military is aware of it? Only the soldiers but not the officers? Why is the secrecy of the war relevant?
Describing the MC as a “…young woman…” makes her seam vague because it is a generic description that lacks character specific traits which would shape our understanding of her and what she is capable, or not, of doing.
Similar to the above “…battle-weary…” is vague because most soldiers become battle-weary after a while, instead better to describe a character flaw that would inhibit her chances of success.
Mentioning her sister’s death is unrelated to the plot and should be cut, or is finding out the truth about her sister’s death her goal? If so better to start the logline with her sister’s death as a motivation for her to discover how she died, otherwise it is an extraneous addition.

Lastly and most importantly no goal was specified in the logline and as such the plot is unclear, what does the MC actually want to achieve?

Hope this helps.

Nir Shelter Singularity Reviewed on October 8, 2015.

Wowee. Looks like I underestimated how much worse this logline was than the previous one. Let me try to tackle the issues you raised and sort out how I can rewrite it:

  1. “Deep in the trenches” was my attempt at being colourful and describing the fact that the main character has been a part of this war for a long time. It clearly doesn’t work, so consider that axed. Maybe I can go with “amidst an ongoing war” or similar similar. I just know I need to clarify that we are jumping into the story after the main character has been fighting for quite some time.
  2. The organization is small enough that I don’t know that I would call her a soldier. Local to her region, there is only herself, her mentor, and her sister (who’s now dead). Fighting the monsters is both a learned skill and one that requires a predisposition to detecting the events that spawn the monsters.
  3. I guess I wanted to imply that the war is not known by most of humanity. Really only the people fighting the monsters know that it is happening. Upon closer review, it’s not terribly important that it is established as a secret (at least not in the logline).
  4. Better descriptors for the main character. Got it.
  5. Her sister’s death is important to the story but not the inciting incident by any means. I had originally added it in under the impression that adding a more personal motivation would focus the logline where it belongs: on the main character, not the partner/trainee.
  6. Her goal at the outset of the movie is to train her new partner at the instruction of her boss. The goal morphs near the midpoint when she discovers the circumstances around her sister’s death. But the logline should focus on her first goal, right?

Taking that all into consideration and scaling back the war a bit, how do you feel about something like:

When an untrained monster hunter arrives unannounced at her day job, a hard-nosed veteran must teach the newcomer how to fight the monsters that threaten the streets of Vancouver.

on October 8, 2015.

Understood.

It sounds more of a Buffy The Vampire Slayer style fight than an actual war. She has a mentor and accomplice with whom she fights the good fight innocent citizens un aware.

The notion of an ongoing fight is hard to describe and not necessary. Is this a struggle stretching back many years even before the current MC? If so perhaps describe her as up keeping an ancient tradition/fight to save humanity.

Teaching the apprentice how to fight is less interesting as a goal than the apprentice learning how to fight which means, if this is the case, the support character will have a better goal than the main character.  The logline should describe the end goal which the MC takes action to achieve in act three it sounds like discovering the circumstances about the sister’s death is it.  However, I would argue that in as of itself discovering the circumstances is a weak goal. Bringing the culprit to justice, seeking revenge as a result of her discovery or preventing others from the same fate as her sister’s would make for better goals.

on October 8, 2015.
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As Nir Shelter said.

What does discovering the death of her sister have to do with the plot?  Is it an inciting incident that sets up her objective plot goal?   Or is it something she discovers while already in pursuit of her objective goal?  If the latter, it’s extraneous for the purpose of the logline.  If the former, then a cause and effect relationship needs to be clearly stated between the death and her objective goal.

dpg Singularity Reviewed on October 8, 2015.
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This is a pretty good setup. You also need to give a fair idea of how the story develops.

kbfilmworks Samurai Reviewed on October 8, 2015.
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