In 2161 time travel is common place, but highly regulated, when he’s shot, a cutthroat businessman’s consciousness is sent back in time by his life insurance company to prevent his upcoming murder, without disrupting the timeline too much or his provider cancels his contract.
This logline is in desperate need of a comma after “killed”.
I don’t think “thanks to his company’s retcon issuance” does anything other than confuse me. It’s a SciFi so I have no problem accepting time travel or the whole bringing back to life.
I think you can lose the “high level” bit from the character’s description. I don’t need to know that to understand him and this story.
I’m not going to lie, this is a tough one. Anything SciFi and fantasy are always harder because there is a certain amount of world-building that needs to be done to make sure the reader understands what’s happening. Why is this deal so important? Why is it worth risking his life over? Surely, knowing that he will be killed for this deal, any sane person would just walk away? At that point he can just go on living his life? He can’t be allowed to walk away – that needs to come across!
I really like the idea that a company is sending him back in time, and I’m hoping that if he’s not preserving the deal then they can just pull the plug on him otherwise why would he bother. So he’s got to find a way of covertly investigating his own murder while overtly being seen to save this deal. Think this is great!
When his corporation bring him back to life seven days before his murder, a cut-throat businessman is given no choice but to save the multi-billion dollar deal that may have gotten him killed.
This is probably the best I can come up with. I think it suggests the corporation as the antagonist which, in-turn, shows that he can’t just walk away. A multi-billion dollar deal is enough to think that a company would risk its employee’s lives over. It could definitely do with some tweaking depending on what the story is you’re trying to tell.
Hope this helps.
I don’t get the story, the lead is sent back in time but must do the same thing? Normally in a story, the lead would learn from his mistake and do it differently. Why would the company send the lead back in time if he failed the first time and must do it the same way the second time?
And what is the leads goal? The companies goal is to preserve the agreement what does your lead character want?
“When he’s killed, a cut throat businessman is sent back in time 7 days by his company to prevent his murder, but must preserve the agreement he secured for his firm, that may have gotten him killed, or the deal is off.” (42 words)
Inciting incident: “When he’s killed, a cut throat businessman is sent back in time 7 days by his company to prevent his murder” —>I am a bit confused. If he’s already dead, how can they send him back? But anyway, the inciting incident doesn’t seem to be when he’s killed, it’s when his company comes to him to send him back. This part can definitely be reworked to for clarification. From mikepedley85’s review, it sounds as if there was a previous version of this logline which was edited. I think the phrasing of his example works much better.
Protagonist: ” a cut throat businessman” —-> I believe ‘cut throat’ is one word, at least in the way you’re using it. Otherwise, this is okay.
Goal: “must preserve the agreement he secured for his firm, that may have gotten him killed, or the deal is off.” —-> The logline seems to put too much attention on the protagonist trying to stay alive. It looks to me like the reason for him to continue and pursue his goal is because he doesn’t want to die, but those are just the stakes. His objective, the goal of the story is described as “must preserve the agreement he secured for his firm,”. Now, the problem with that is that it is a bit confusing. If he already made the agreement, why does he need to preserve it? If this is the goal, then doesn’t that mean that the inciting incident should be the whatever happens to the agreement?
Think about it this way. The goal: “must preserve the agreement he secured for his firm,”. Why must he pursue this goal: Because he’s killed and his company sends him back in time.
I think it lacks a causal relationship. It seems very close, as if the logline describes an event that is close to the inciting incident, but I’m not sure it’s the actual one. The logline answers why he’s sent back in time, not why he must preserve the deal. In this logline, the goal described could be switched out for anything. He could save someone else from being murdered, go to murder someone else, etc.
Here’s an example: After his milestone arms deal falls through, a ruthless businessman must be sent back in time to secure the agreement for his firm. (23 words).
I know, I cut out a lot. But to me, that seems to be story in it’s simplest terms. (obviously I made up some of the stuff, such as ‘arms deal’.
“A cutthroat businessman is sent back in time by his life insurance company to prevent his murder in 7 days.” (20 words)
Inciting incident: None described —> I think this logline would benefit from an inciting incident. Why does he need to prevent his own murder? I think including the inciting incident would help give this context. As a general rule, I believe most loglines should describe an inciting incident, but the only ones which can get away without are romance and drama loglines. Action, fantasy, sci-fi, etc should describe an inciting incident to help give a reason why the protagonist pursuing their goal.
Protagonist: “A cutthroat businessman” —> Good. But, if the character has a an arc, you may want to use an adjective which helps to imply that arc.
Goal: “is sent back in time by his life insurance company to prevent his murder in 7 days.” —> I mentioned the lack of context above. What catches my eye is ‘life insurance company’. I know it’s a labeled as ‘SciFi’, but this is something that stands out; as far as I know, along with most people, we don’t think or believe that life insurance companies have time machines. I suggest either using an adjective, or changing it to generic term.
Antagonist: Implied to be murderer —> Okay.
Overall, I think this attempt needs a little tweak, and should have an inciting incident added, but overall it’s good.
The question I have, is this the ‘A’ story? Above, it sounds like the main conflict is trying to fix the deal, but in this version it’s trying to prevent his murder. What do you consider to be the climax of your story? Is it when he faces the person/group who murder him? Or is when he is about secure the agreement?
“In 2161 time travel is common place, but highly regulated, when he’s shot, a cutthroat businessman’s consciousness is sent back in time by his life insurance company to prevent his upcoming murder, without disrupting the timeline too much or his provider cancels his contract.” (44 words)
This version includes a bit too much background, making it too long. I suggest taking the previous version, “A cutthroat businessman is sent back in time by his life insurance company to prevent his murder in 7 days.” and adding a few adjectives and the inciting incident which will help.
First, a breakdown:
Inciting incident: “when he’s shot,” —> This is a good inciting incident, it’s simple. But I’m not sure it’s the correct one. If the goal is to to prevent his murder by traveling back in time, then I suggest that his company sending him back in time is the inciting incident.
Protagonist: “a cutthroat businessman’” —> Good.
Goal: ” to prevent his upcoming murder, without disrupting the timeline too much or his provider cancels his contract.” —> Why does his company send him back? What must he accomplish by preventing his murder? I think that would be the more suitable goal. It’s good to include the stakes of what happens if he doesn’t accomplish his goal, but what is really the point of sending him back?
For example: After his struggling company sends his consciousness back in time, a cutthroat businessman must kill their top competitor to prevent her from securing a multi-billion dollar contract or else be executed. (31 words)
When you mentioned sending his consciousness back in time, it reminds me of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”(2014).