When a stranger’s corpse tells her he’s an unsolved murder victim, an impetuous journalist must follow his clues and unmask the killer for the story of her career.

    Summitry Posted on January 30, 2019 in Noir.

    Comedy Noir. Possible title “Fatale”

    on January 30, 2019.

    Version 1: When a stranger’s corpse appears in her bedroom and reveals he was murdered, an impetuous film critic must piece together the clues and unmask the killer so she can rest in peace.

    on January 31, 2019.
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    3 Review(s)

      Seems like a simple, solid idea. The logline also seems pretty good, but is a bit long.

      Logline: “When a stranger’s corpse appears in her bedroom and reveals he was murdered, an impetuous movie critic must piece together the clues and unmask the killer so she can rest in peace.” (32 words)

      Protagonist: “an impetuous movie critic” —> Usually, I only recommend describing a character by their career if it implies skills that the protagonist would be able to use in the conflict. In this case, I’m not sure ‘movie critic’ is effective. It takes two words.At least to me, being a film critic doesn’t really involve the type of investigative skills someone would need to solve a mystery. So I recommend either finding a way to shorten it to one word, or consider a different description.

      Antagonist: “the killer” —> Clearly described. This is okay.

      Goal: “must piece together the clues and unmask the killer so she can rest in peace.” —> This could be trimmed. I’m also confused. The corpse is described as ‘he’ but in this section the logline states: “so she can rest in peace.” Is this just a typo, or are you referring to the protagonist being able to rest in peace?

      Inciting incident: “When a stranger’s corpse appears in her bedroom and reveals he was murdered” —> Could be trimmed as well. Otherwise, is okay. It shares a causal relationship with the goal and the possible climaxes could be easily inferred from this event.
      >Climax: Either the protagonist solves the case or she doesn’t. —> Either is an inevitable outcome of the inciting incident.

      Example: After an undead stranger tells her he was murdered, an impetuous film critic must find the killer so the stranger may rest in peace. (24 words). 

      I hope this helps.

      Summitry Answered on January 31, 2019.

      Thanks for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

      It was deliberate that I said “she” rather than “he” but I fully expected someone to highlight this. I wasn’t able to underline it or italicise it but I wanted to suggest to the reader that she’s only investigating for selfish reasons – she wants to get rid of the corpse (who won’t leave until she solves the mystery – debated about trying to include this in someway). This also is part of the reason why I made her a film critic – she’s very quick to look out and criticise what she sees, rarely considers her actions and the consequences, and never looks inwardly at herself. This obviously sets up her arc.

      The end of the story is that her actions actually led to the death of this person, somewhat indirectly but enough to be a wake up call for her. It’s kind of A Christmas Carol meets Swiss Army Man.

      on January 31, 2019.

      I suggest different wording, then. ‘rest in peace’ obviously has a very specific connotation, especially when there’s a dead character. Something like, ‘so she can have peace of mind’ or ‘so the stranger will stop bothering her’. Something along those lines would be more clear. But including this isn’t exactly necessary for the logline. Describing the protagonist as “impetuous” helps to hint at a character arc on its own.
      That also brings up a point I failed to mention in my initial review: Why must the protagonist specifically investigate the crime? Why not go to the police, hire an investigator? If it’s a stranger, why does she care?
      So I suggest a slight tweak to include a compelling reason that she would have to investigate herself.

      on January 31, 2019.

      Thanks for your further comments. Totally understand where you’re coming from.

      on January 31, 2019.
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        I like the premise. I think it makes a good comedy/mystery.

        However, why a corpse? And not a ghost? (Just curious if you have a reason)

        Singularity Answered on February 1, 2019.

        I feel like ghosts has been done and I really like the visual comedy you could get from a corpse wandering about town pretending to still be alive. I loved Swiss Army Man, and the bits in Scrooged and An American Werewolf in London where the corpses talk to the protagonist so I thought it could be a nice new take on the Christmas Carol idea. Glad you like it!

        on February 1, 2019.

        Cool, I was just curious.

        on February 2, 2019.
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          It feels weird that a ‘corpse tells’ her his story. Does that mean corpse talks to her? If so, it’d have to be either a zombie or a ghost. In that case, you might as well use the actual term. Or the corpse could be part of an experiment which protagonist will discover and eventually uncover the scientist behind it. I very much like the premise but logline could be more clear and catchy.

          Penpusher Answered on February 2, 2019.
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