Have you got a horrible idea for a story? Well I want to hear about it. Welcome to the (third) "Worst Storyline Ever" Contest - a competition that encourages terrible loglines. This contest happened before, so click on "Contests" at the bottom of this post and scroll down a bit to see previous incarnations. (If you have any problems or concerns, e-mail me at email@example.com.)
"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 an unidentified cow swallows an armed
nuclear device in a botched Homeland Security raid, Agent Tom Anderson
is thrust into an unlikely partnership with buxom organic farmer Daisy
Jones to sift through three hundred cows and 10 barns full of manure as
the clock runs down in a desperate quest to save Kansas City from a
moo-clear disaster." (past contest winner from Livia Blackburne).
"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. "After losing badly in The Kentucky Derby, a
horse is sold to the glue factory where he is processed and bottled,
and we follow the stories of everyone who uses the glue, from a
nose-picking pre-schooler to a dyslexic kidnapper who glues cut-out
letters on a ransom note, until the last drop is gone." (past contest winner from Chris Whigham).
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 story/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
2. The contest will go until the end of the day,
11:59 p.m., EST, Sunday, March 28. Submissions received after that will
not be considered.
3. 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 real 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. By posting a terrible logline for consideration in this contest, you
are agreeing to the terms written here.
Please note: To be eligible to submit, I ask that you do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media - blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add the Guide to Literary Agents Blog (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog) to your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so I can verify eligibility. You can e-mail the links if you wish (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 one-year subscription to
WritersMarket.com; 4) Praise on this blog from yours truly.
Two runner-up prizes: 1) A one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com (value $50).
First Round Judge Final Round Judge:
Chuck's dog, Graham Graham's owner, Chuck
(pictured age 3) (pictured age 11)
* Please do not throw dog mentions into every entry. Graham is an independent judge who is looking for just plain funny.