What’s your logline?

I got my royalty check recently and I was pleased to see it was over $20! You thought maybe I was getting rich with my stories–think again.

It can take upwards of twenty novels before an author has a chance to make a living from books alone. Some are even turning to AI to help generate books as fast as one a month. I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered some student papers written or at least helped by AI and paraphrase generators. My reaction was to suspect the students had schizophrenia. Not only is critical thinking missing, the lack of figurative language gives it away as being not fully human. I nearly called the mental health councilors until a friend sent me an AI generated short story. Besides having some shorting comings, AI generated content is considered plagiarism

Needless to say, I enjoy writing for other reasons beyond making a living–at least for now. I want to entertain and in a way, teach. As you may recall, fiction is a sort of mental dress rehearsal for bad things that might happen, and if enough people read fiction, perhaps the bad things won’t happen. Reading can give you things the school of hard knocks won’t–such as critical thinking skills and other mental habits. Readers even live longer. As I see it, we are all different and therefore, need a diverse set of authors with a myriad of experiences to help us humans survive.

As a kid, I always asked “what if..”It’s a good skill for both a scientist and an author and much safer in the hands of an author. Being an author has taught me as well. In a way, it’s like putting together a puzzle. The first part is a bit of a slog but when it all comes together, it’s extremely satisfying. It fills my need to be creative and feed my curiosity. Some books can take a huge amount of research in order to be accurate, even if they are a work of imagination.

You might not aspire to write a whole novel but a fun exercise is to write a fictional log line. Or maybe you want to sum up your 2022 by writing a logline for the year.

A log line is like the blurb that tempts you to watch a movie or perhaps a show on Netflix– sentence or two with main characters and what there is to gain or lose (the stakes as we call them in writer lingo)

There are two predominant styles for writing these short, enticing summaries.

Inciting incident + protagonist + action + antagonist

and

Protagonist + action + antagonist + goal + stake

These are the loglines for books in my series:

Book 1 Mixed In

Catrina uses her scientific know-how to help bartender Ulysses expand his black-market condom business while playing it cool with the authoritarian Vice Patrol, who’d love see her deported and Ulysses executed.

Book 2 Lost in Waste

If she wants to see her genetically modified lover again, Callie must devise a way for a giant lagoon full of hog shit to turn a profit while keeping lecherous authority figures pacified.

Book 3 Wrinkles in Spacetime

Stella helps a resurrected version of Sir Isaac Newton create a homunculus for the authoritarian Cochton brothers, risking her neck to pull off the impossible task. It becomes even more dangerous when she unwittingly uses germplasm from a killer vine to fashion a make-believe baby for each brother.

(I had to get a little advertising in here. I was asked to start a blog by a former publisher and the book is out of print but the blog persists.)

I’ll take a stab at writing a logline for my 2022

Seeking adventure, protagonist leaves the stability of her job, but will $20 be enough to live on?

One thing I like about loglines is the way they condense the essence. Think of them like a game. It should come as no surprise that AI can generate book blurbs and loglines. But let’s not go there. So far, I’m living on the stipend I got for quitting my job so I’m not planning to AI soon. Besides, I want to keep my mind sharp.

If you wrote a logline for 2022, what would it be?

Warm wishes, cheers, and may you be the hero of your tale in 2023!

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