After his wife and childhood dies unexpectedly from an illness, a Marine gains the ability to time travel so that he can remember all the times he spent with her.
Too vague, too general. There’s no hook. and there’s no plot, just a hint of a story.
And a logline is a statement of a plot, not a story. What is the difference between a story and a plot? Well, as the English novelist E.M. Forster said in “Aspects of the Novel”:
“A story [is] a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence. A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. ‘The king died and then the queen died’ is a story. ‘The king died and then the queen died of grief‘ is a plot. The time-sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it.”
There is no causality, no chain of cause and effect in this logline. There is only a sequence of events in time. Two characters fall in love. One of them dies. End of story.
A logline must be a statement of causality: because X happens (aka: the inciting incident), Y character must do Z.
Your logline: “Two childhood friends become lovers until one of the dies unexpectedly.”
Currently your logline only states an event…
Event: Protagonist’s lover dies. Dies of what, murder, illness, accident, suicide? Dies when, at the inciting incident, midpoint reversal? We need to know the specifics of this and most importantly HOW it changes the protagonist’s life.
- Protagonist: Not described in detail. Remember the logline formula: “an [adjective] [protagonist]”, or to put is more simply, “a [what] protagonist”.
- Goal: The protagonist has no goal. At the moment it seems that after his/her lover dies – at what’s presumably the start of the film – he/she just resorts to doing nothing.
- Antagonist: Not even hinted at. An antagonist needs to oppose the protagonist’s goal.
- Stakes: Without a goal (nor an antagonist) there’s no stakes to your story.
As it stands this a merely stated event happens which makes your logline read like a thing of the past, well before it has even started.
Please refer back to the logline formula and when writing your next logline start with this list:
(I’ll exclude the stakes in this list because they can be hard brainstorm for, rather they seem to come naturally when you understand the first three elements of your story.)
This is not so much for this specific logline but rather your overall logline writing skills, and so here are some important resources to further your understanding of a logline:
- Fast Screenplay – The Producer’s Perspective Part 1
- Fast Screenplay – The Producer’s Perspective Part 2
- The Script Lab – How to Write a Logline
- D4Darious – How to Write Compelling Loglines
Watch these videos in order and watch them again and again until you’ve memorised what loglines are all about. Being vague on what makes a logline puts you at a huge disadvantage up against people who understand what makes a logline.