A military veteran eagerly tries to start the next chapter of his life but runs into Murphy’s Law at pretty much every turn, testing his resiliency.

    Penpusher Posted on March 11, 2020 in Drama.
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      Still vague, still using phrases that are a given in a story with conflict. What actually happens?

      Full of commas. No need to mention true events at this point. Just give us an idea of the main narrative elements and the characters involved, while being specific and clear.

      “A young veteran must adapt to life outside the army when a jealous college roommate tries to sabotage his career prospects.”

      I don’t know if that’s your story, but it is a story, at least the indication of one. A logline has to suggest the plot through mention of protagonist, antagonist, conflict, and stakes. All are present in the example quoted above. Give us something like that and you’re set.

      Samurai Answered on March 12, 2020.
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        I would start by working out specifically what the next chapter of his life is. For example, if he’s restoring his grandfather’s house or counselling troubled teens or reconciling with his daughter, or picking up where he left off in his business, etc. Those are quite specific (and different) stories, which will give your reader a better sense of the movie.

        Then I’d work out what the Murphy’s Law aspect is — and try to personify it, if you can. So: if building a house, he’s doing it on the Mosquito Coast during cyclone season. If daughter, she’s at the mercy of her drug-dealing boyfriend or her pimp or whatever. If business, he finds out his partner is embezzling funds, etc.

        I just spotted your Pursuit of Happyness reference: so if he falls into homelessness (specific story), then he ends up having to battle a welfare system that ignores military vets, maybe?

        Good luck! Get back to us with an update. 🙂

        Samurai Answered on March 11, 2020.
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          This is incredibly vague. What, specifically, is happening to him? Next chapter… what’s he trying to achieve? What’s his objective goal?

          Life tests everybody’s resiliency. Why is this guy any different? What makes this story one to watch? This protagonist one to want to succeed? What’s the hook?

          Singularity Answered on March 11, 2020.
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            People trying to do something is uninteresting…when people need to do something, that’s compelling. It’s why many loglines include the word “must” — because the actions of the character are imperative.

            Gotta tell us what the next chapter is, otherwise it’s a blank page.

            Testing a character’s resiliency is a given, don’t need to state it. His eagerness is also irrelevant, and presumed; if he wasn’t eager for something he wouldn’t be doing anything.

            Anyone who doesn’t know what Murphy’s Law is won’t understand the conflict. Be specific. And “pretty much” every turn doesn’t sound very challenging; it’s all or nothing. Be simple and clear and to the point.

            You want the tone to come across as well. If this is a drama, make sure we understand the struggle. If it’s a comedy of errors, make the struggle sound silly and fun.

            Samurai Answered on March 11, 2020.
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              This is my first attempt at a log line, so I wasn’t sure how descriptive to be of details.  It’s (mostly) based on a true story, similar-ish to “The Pursuit of Happyness”.  Thanks for the input!

              Penpusher Answered on March 11, 2020.

              No problem. This was all new for us at one point. Loglines are way harder than people give them credit for too.

              In simple terms a logline is a concise summary of the plot up to either the midpoint or the beginning of the final act phrased as a single sentence ideally under 35 words. This is simply a guide though. What you’re trying to achieve is the reader’s version of the film in their head after reading the logline being as close to what’s in your head as possible. Specificity is key (most of the time).

              on March 11, 2020.
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                Version 2.0:

                Mostly based on true events, a newly discharged veteran must use his resiliency when faced with challenges involving career hurdles, obstacles at college, and a deceptive roommate.

                Penpusher Answered on March 12, 2020.
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                  Your version 2.0 is way clearer and is definitely giving me a better vision of your story.

                  The last clause (about the deceptive roommate) feels like it’s a different beat to the rest, somehow. Maybe because a specific antagonist is included here, whereas the other challenges are less specific?

                  So maybe, as a suggestion, you can drill down to your protag’s goal and then expand out from there:

                  A Vietnam vet fights to get his life in order while dealing with a corrupt welfare system and the deceptions of former friends.

                  Mine example’s a bit lame, but hopefully you can see what I mean. With some brainstorming around what’s most prominent in your story for you, you’ll definitely get this thing in shape.

                  Thanks for sharing your updates — love watching people brainstorm and re-work their concepts. Kudos.

                  Samurai Answered on March 13, 2020.
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