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.
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
"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
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 August 2008. 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.
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.
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) Copies of the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents and the 2009 Writer's Market. 4) Praise on this blog from yours truly.
Two runner-up prizes: 1) A free copy of either the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents or the 2009 Writer's Market. Your choice.