It all started with a website designed specifically for getting feedback on your logline. In concept, a great idea. You post your logline, other writers let you know what they think of it and how it could possibly be improved.
On this site, there are a handful of commenters who offer their thoughts on pretty much every single entry (a lot of which, I have to admit, are very poorly written. Hence the seeking out of feedback).
Earlier this week, on a total whim, I posted the logline for my Chinese restaurant script. No intention of changing it. Just wanted to see what people thought.
To refresh your memory, here it is again: A Caucasian chef in a struggling family-run Chinese restaurant takes on a sleazy powerhouse competitor determined to shut it down.
Perfect? Of course not. Does it need work? Sure. But the rewrite of this script is an extremely low-priority item, so I’m not that worried about it.
And the reaction?
Lo and behold, a grand total of two comments from two of the usual suspects.
The first substituted “humble” for “Caucasian”, then suggested I describe what it is they do to save the restaurant.
The second said that the stakes should be “hire” (sic). How does the main character change over the course of the story? (this one I can understand) Could I add a ticking time bomb element (a particular favorite of this commenter’s)? Was it a comedy (“Sounds like Dodgeball, but with restaurants.”)?
And the one that really sealed the deal for me – “Success or failure of a restaurant is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.” Besides the fact that any family who owns a struggling restaurant would probably want to bash your head in for such a statement, you’re saying the story’s not important enough?
Words fail me. It’s almost as if they’re working off a checklist. And misspelling a common word like “higher” severely damages your credibility.
Pass to the Nth degree.
So that’s it. I’m done. While I may occasionally pop in to look around, I definitely will not be seeking opinions from this site ever again and instead rely on my network of friends and trusted colleagues to tell me what I’m doing wrong.
2 thoughts on “Another chapter comes to an end”
What “site” do you speak of?
I hate that about loglines, too. I try to keep them out of the groups I manage, but you let one in, and they all want to post. As for those offering suggestions, it tends to be the “blind leading the blind” in most cases. As for the suggestions, you call it “checking the boxes”, but the truth is, there IS a formula to a great logline; you just have to figure out what it is.
Regarding yours, though, I see much more good in it than bad. Mind if I take a crack (maybe some MORE blind leading the blind)?
IMO, you should describe the protag by the character flaw BEFORE arc, as well as occupation. I’m guessing your protag is going to be Caucasian after the arc, too, so that might be improved.
You only have 21 words in it now (excellent) so you have room to improve on it and provide more information. “Sleazy powerhouse competitor” can be simplified to “sleazy rival”- the same point is made.
Now, with these changes, and nine or ten more word space left, you might want to add more about the protag’s personal goal- to get the girl, to win the award, etc. To me, that’s the only thing missing of any relevancy.
I hope I didn’t misspell anything to reduce MY credibility any- if there were any to begin with!
Whenever I get comments like that, I take into account that there is a VERY good chance I am getting snarky advice from someone in middle school.