The (Second) 'Worst Storyline Ever' Contest!

This contest is now CLOSED (as of Oct. 6). 
Thank you to everyone who
submitted.  Judging will take place in the next 7 days or so
and winners will be notified by e-mail just before I make
the results public.  Thanks!


Have you got a horrible idea for a story?  Well I want to hear about it. Welcome to the “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest – a competition that encourages terrible loglines.  This contest happened once before, so feel free to check out that go-round. (If you have any problems or concerns, email me at

“Worst Storyline Ever”


A logline
is a one-sentence line that explains what your story is about and shows the “hook” – the unique idea that makes people want to see more.  You see loglines all the time in TV Guide and on the back of DVD boxes. Here are some examples:

  • “Three middle-aged men defeat their midlife crises by starting a college fraternity.” (Old School)
  • “When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an evil prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.” (Gladiator)
  • “In a future where criminals are arrested before the crime occurs, a cop struggles on the lam to prove his innocence for a murder he has not yet committed.” (Minority Report)

But that’s all the examples I’m going to give you, because I’m not looking for good examples of a logline; I’m looking for bad examples. Nay – terrible, stupid, “oh-my-God-that-idea-is-dumb-as-hell” examples.

Examples of Bad Loglines

1. “After the death of his goldfish, a priest renounces his faith and gets a job at the local White Castle, where he becomes addicted to special sauce and tries to dance his way to getting respect on the streets.”

2. “A man’s lifelong plan to dress up like Jabba the Hutt and star in a new line of workout tapes finally comes to fruition, but everything goes horribly awry when the man gets ink poisoning, lead poisoning and mercury poisoning all at once.”

3. “When a woman dies and is reincarnated as a power saw, she uses a telepathic link with feral cats to help trick and trap and kill her former-lover-turned-murderer-turned-taxidermist.”  

Here are the rules:

1. Stick to the format, but have fun with the idea. You want your logline to be one sentence only and must be 60 words or fewer, and explain what the movie is about. It’s what you put in that one sentence that will win you this competition. So the trick is to make your logline a terribly creative idea that’s pitched in a professional manner.
2. The contest will go until the end of the day, 11:59 p.m., PST, Monday, Oct. 5.  Submissions received after that will not be considered.
3. I will judge the contest, with some possible input from other WD and WD Books staffers.
4. To participate, simply click on “Comments” at the end of this post and leave your submission as a comment with your full name and e-mail. You must include your full name and e-mail.  If you are super paranoid about leaving your name (Google!), use “L. Martin Smith” instead of “Leonard Smith.”
5. You can submit up to two (2) bad loglines.  You can include both in the same comment post as you wish.
6. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA‘s publisher, F+W Media (formerly F+W Publications).
7. There are a lot more rules (most of them dealing with legal stuff) that you can find in the comments section of this post.
8. By posting a terrible logline for consideration in this contest, you are agreeing to the terms written here as well as the terms added by me at the beginning of the “Comments” section of this blog post.

The Prizes:

First prize (grand prize): 1) A query letter critique from me. 2) A follow-up phone call to discuss the query critique and a plan of action for seeing your work published (basically: you ask questions, I answer). 3) A copy of the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents; 4) a one-year subscription to; 5) Praise on this blog from yours truly.

Two runner-up prizes: 1) A free copy of any one (1) of the following books: the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents, the 2010 Writer’s Market; the 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market; or the 2010 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market; 2) a one-year subscription to

Good luck!!!

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164 thoughts on “The (Second) 'Worst Storyline Ever' Contest!

  1. wholesaler

    I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me. Really the article is spreading its wings rapidly.

  2. Linda H.

    Struggling writer spends hours doing yoga to increase her flexibility in order to kick herself in the butt for missing the 2009 Worst Storyline Ever contest.

    What a total bummer! But I had a great time reading these. I especially enjoyed the shopping mom story by J. McEntee, the Nascar driver story from Hank Nielson, the mime tale by Steve Forti, and Steven Carman’s Chalk it Up. Jane Lebak…the Jane goes blond storyline–that one line says a lot. Since I have no chance due to being a day late, I wish the 5 of you good luck.

  3. Larisa Williams

    The Ranidaphobic* Princess: The heir to the Spork fortune travels across Fiji, Finland and France with her narcoleptic Chihuahua in search of everything she can eat with a spork and discovers she can eat, love, and pray for frogs…all she needed was a stronger spork—A literary masterpiece with commercial appeal.
    *fear of frogs

  4. Larisa Williams

    Bad Blood: A grumpy ho and seven, sex-starved dwarves plan to infect the world with AIDS until the founder of Blood Suckers Anonymous, a hunky vampire with a mysterious rash and a new addiction to red Slurpees, uncovers their plan and sucks them up with his super-sized Hoover specially equipped with six tool attachments—A psychological thriller.

  5. Kathy McIntosh

    Former firefighter Fritz Falconi, flabby, forty and forlorn, foresees failure but finds fame, fortune, and favor facing his fierce fear of fire when firestorms flail and frantic friends flee fourth floor flames, finding Fritz fighting ferociously, flooding the flames.
    Number 2:
    When champion yodeler, astrologer and retired pole dancer Margo Targeaux infiltrates a traveling band of carnies to prove they’re peddling drugs, she uncovers a sinister plot to blackmail philandering city officials and must use every skill she has to foil their plans, avoid becoming a target herself and befriend and save the impish orphan who’s become the band’s mascot.

  6. Donna Huffman

    Day after day Tiger threw himself in front of cars, jumped from buildings, and even let himself be mauled by a rottweiler to prove the theory that cats really do have nine lives, only to find out in the end that he himself was a dog.

  7. Skye Torrey

    Poised over a Mystical Ouija Board one dark and stormy night, Chuck Sambuchino encourages
    I.M. Ariter to ask the spirits the age old question, “Will I ever get published?” and then, wide-eyed, they watch the planchette move slowly across the board of unanswered prayers and crazy wishes as it stops briefly at these letters … r-e-v-i-s-e a-n-d r-e-s-u-b-m-i-t.

  8. Carl Bettis

    A ten-year-old boy from backwoods Appalachia realizes his dream of performing the title role in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway.

    A grocer with unrecognized engineering genius is a dead ringer for the president of a banana republic, and when the dictator falls ill and slips into a coma, the grocer must flee foreign agents who want to install him as the head of a puppet regime — in the plane he has been building in his garage.

  9. Pat Brown

    Slick Chance wants to marry his sweetie, Guantanamo Willy, but first he has to escape the deadly perils that face him at the hands of his faceless, all powerful enemy, Queequog, who has a map to the treasure of the ghosts of Oxnard.

  10. John Cartledge

    Born in a manger, raised in a log cabin, elected to public office seven times in seven tries by landslide margins, the presidential candidate with the seemingly perfect resume sees her campaign unravel after allegations are made by a former classmate that she once finished fifth in a fourth grade spelling bee.

  11. S. Torres

    "On a quest to lose weight a 500 lb. exotic dancer bonds with a customer who; unbeknownst to her, plans on fattening her up even more in order to feast on her at a lavish dinner party, donner style."

    “While watching his favorite show, Cathouse, a young man is pulled into his television only to discover that the women he loves to watch give pleasure on tv have been replaced by his Mother, Aunts and Sisters and they are all hell bent on pleasing him.”


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