LOGLINES

betty.ed (2)

By Betty Kuffel

Welcome to the Montana Women Writers Blog. Winter doldrums are behind us. Spring is in the air. Soon fruit trees and flowers will be in bloom.  spring fruit treesI recently finished a thriller and was struggling with writing a logline so decided to share my research with you.

A logline is a concise single-sentence summary of your story.

Novels begin with an idea that stimulates an author to write the story. The concept is the logline. Your initial description may be too long, but as the story flows, the logline matures. By the time you write, The End, it will solidify but require wordsmithing to convey the exact message.

Loglines are used when marketing your work, whether a book or a screenplay. It must be snappy and precise to capture attention. If you are writing comedy, try to get a laugh from the reader. For your thriller, your logline should build suspense. Use terms that convey tension.

Developing a logline sounds easy, but most of us find it more difficult than writing a synopsis. Relating the full story in 25 words is challenging. There are many ways to approach writing a logline.

Barbara Schiffman presented at the Flathead River Writers Conference a few years ago and gave a helpful talk on developing loglines. Her notes included a formula as follows:

“IT’S A (genre) STORY ABOUT A (main character – include what he/she does or something significant about him/her, like “a struggling attorney” or “a widowed single mom”) WHO (describe what happens or what they do: “battles a ruthless corporate law firm” or “fights to save her dying son’s life” AND LEARNS (what they and the audience learn in the end, like “that David can beat Goliath in court” or “she knew more than the doctors after all”).

Key concepts from the Rain Dance website include:
Increase stakes to add urgency. Ticking time-bomb concept.
Use a setup scene.
Show action.
“Don’t tell the story. Sell the story.”

Don’t use a character name in either a logline or tagline. For the logline, describe the protagonist as: an ex-con, a sheriff, a rodeo queen. Add a description such as: an ex-con turned preacher, a crooked sheriff, an alcoholic rodeo queen.

Example – Jaws: When a swimmer is killed by a great white, a bureaucratic sheriff must take responsibility, protect the people, and kill the shark. (21 words)

What is the difference between a logline and a tagline?

A logline must contain: the protagonist, the goal, and the antagonistic force.
A good logline is helpful in writing a query letter and is essential when pitching. In a blog by story analyst Karel Segers, he presents key elements to successful logline construction.
When a major event happens
The main character must overcome the event (or flaw)
And pursue the goal.

A tagline is a few key descriptive words designed to grab attention.

Example – Alien: In space no one can hear you scream. (8 words)
 The logline is often a component of the description on your back cover. Hone your logline and memorize it so when someone asks about your latest work, you’ll have it ready.

Have a good summer and keep writing. 

Betty

Sources:
https://www.raindance.org/10-tips-for-writing-loglines
https://thestorydepartment.com,
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2019.04.23 The Newbie gets to work

 

By Diane E. Bokor

Hello again from the Newbie Writer, who a few months ago decided to get serious and develop professional habits.  I am happy to report that I have been chipping away at my essay project, producing lots of words on the page. Hooray!

I write to you from Camp NaNoWriMo (the thirty days of April).  My days here at the (virtual) Camp have been significantly rearranged.  Well before dawn’s early light, well before the first bird sings, I wake to the inner trumpet call, the reveille, the call to the keyboard.  

A Writer told me, “Write before your inner critic wakes up.”

That advice seems to work.  

Work. The word keeps coming up.  When I discuss my project with non-writer friends, I often get,

“Oh, that sounds like a lot of work,” as they shake their heads, no-no-no-not-for-me.

Work, as in that school essay they were assigned.  

Another Writer told me, “Give yourself space and time to really wander, to really enjoy the process, especially of the first draft.”

So daily, here at Camp NaNo, I get lost each morning, playing in the woods of words, writing only about things that interest me. It is becoming a habit.

I have a strong work ethic. I admire those with a strong work ethic. But the work of creative writing versus the work of chores on the mundane to-do list…Aye, there’s the rub. I’ve been trained to get up before the birds to keep my household running smoothly.  It comes naturally to me to start a day by tidying the house, responding to emails and calling customer service about yet another situation that needs to be resolved.

Here at Camp, I get the writing done first and go about the day with this funny virtuous feeling in my heart.  I fed my starved inner Artist (who has been hiding in the dark for decades). I worked toward my Goal.

As James Brown would say, “I feel good!”

A new way to live.  Writer with a capital W. Thank you to the women of Montana Women Writers, who show up to share and support and show the way.

Your new friend,

The Newbie

Trilliums for Mother’s Day

brenda olmstead

By Brenda Olmsted

Over thirty years ago, I received my first trillium for Mother’s Day. We moved into our house outside of Bigfork the winter of 1983. The yard was, as yet, undeveloped and the surrounding woods and overgrown natural vegetation was buried under deep snow.

As soon as the snow had melted enough for us to walk through the tangle of undergrowth, I took my daughter and son out to explore our new home. We climbed over downed lodge pole and birch trees, skirted prickly woods’ rose shrubs and stomped through barely-visible wild strawberry plants until we were ready to return inside. Several weeks passed and we ventured out as often as the weather would permit.

One day my daughter found a white flower under a fallen tree. The delicate petals caught her attention in the dark undergrowth where so little sun penetrated the canopy of tall pines. She picked the flower and carried it into the house where we placed it in a glass of water. It sat on the window sill above the kitchen sink for days, slowly dying. Later, I searched books with the flower in hand and discovered its name: trillium grandiflorum, white trillium.  trillium

The following year, when the sun penetrated the trees and warmed the ground, the trilliums emerged and we again placed several in a glass of water on the windowsill. That Mother’s Day, after returning home from church, my two oldest children disappeared outside with their baby sister toddling behind them. Within a few minutes they returned, each holding a trillium in their little hand. “Happy Mother’s Day,” they chimed together.

A tradition was born. From then on, every Mother’s Day,  there was a race to see who could find the first flower. In those early years, there was always a glass or two full of trilliums sitting on the window sill each spring, some bright and cheerful, some already withered. As the years passed, we learned more of their true nature. These spring flowers, too delicate for the summer heat, grew in the rich loam of the forest where a shaft of sunlight penetrated to warm their roots. We learned to pick only the flower, leaving the leaves intact on the plant so more would grow the following year. Even so, as the children grew and our yard became more cultivated, the fewer and fewer we saw of the trilliums. Still, I received a trillium every year on Mother’s Day.

Then, we moved into Kalispell, Montana where there are no trilliums poking out in a patch of sun. For several years the tradition was lost, until one Mother’s Day, my daughter gave me a flat box wrapped in white and green tissue paper. When I opened it, there was a watercolor of trilliums, which she had painted during her first watercolor class.

The picture hangs in a place of honor in our living room; a reminder of those races, little  hands holding trilliums and a chorus, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

    She Said
She never said the morning was old,
or that the sunrise went unseen.
What she said was, the way the stars shone
reminded her that the sky was an object
of intense beauty—burning away the dew,
and the reason she enjoyed the sunset
was for the splendor of the dross. 

She never said the morning was old.
What she said was, to milk the sky of all it has to say
would be impossible, but the stories it could tell!
Dropping hints with shooting stars, aurora borealis
and the moon’s globe always half hidden,
reflecting earth’s star—the great shine,
sending rays of hope, and to discover for what
purpose the planets are aligned.

She never said the morning was old.
What she said was, the earth has its own secrets:

the sight of green across a rain-soaked field,
overripe fruit dropping to the garden floor,
the quickening of a hummingbird’s wings,
magnetic forces underfoot and those places
where laughter can be heard; and still, none so beautiful
as a child’s hand reaching upward.

Brenda Olmsted grew up surrounded by dinosaur bones in the Badlands of Eastern Montana. She skipped rocks, searched for fishing lures and slept by campfires along the Yellowstone River where fishing for paddlefish is a seasonal sport. She moved to Bigfork, Montana in 1978, where she raised her family before turning her attention to writing. Sometimes she calls herself a poet. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family and traveling the roads throughout Montana with her amateur-photographer husband, Don.

May Book News

white coral bellslillies of the valley

 

 

 

 

 

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, my. Spring, at last! Here in NW Montana, we are overjoyed to see you licking at our toes — we don’t even mind you sending pollen up our noses! (Well, okay, I exaggerate a little. But not much.)

mary fieldsAlong with spring, I’m celebrating TWO short story award nominations. My first historical short story, “All God’s Sparrows” (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, May-June 2018), is nominated for the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, which will be awarded at the Malice Domestic Mystery Convention in Bethesda, MD on May 4. Set in Montana Territory in 1885, it features real-life figure Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary and Black Mary. Wish me luck! (And read the story on my website.)

Another short story, “With My Eyes” (Suspense Magazine, Jan-Feb 2018) is nominated for a Derringer Award, given by the Short Mystery Fiction Society, in the “long story” (4-6,000) words. It features a Seattle banker who sees what he wants to see when he falls for a gorgeous Greek woman, only to have his eyes opened on a trip to Athens. Winners will be announced in early June.chai another day (cover without quote)

And I’m getting ready to celebrate the launch of Chai Another Day, my 4th Spice Shop Mystery, on June 11. When Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece overhears an argument in an antique shop, she finds herself drawn into a murder that could implicate an old enemy, or ensnare a new friend. Read an excerpt and join me at a signing or book talk (schedule here).

You do know reading on the back deck counts as outdoor activity, right? Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Away

I just released an audio version of Mrs. Sedwick on audible.com. They provided me with 25 free download codes to pass out to readers in exchange for a honest review on Audible’s sales page for the novel. If you are interested email me mariefmartin312@hotmail.com and I will send the code and Audibles instructions. First come, first served. I have 22 left so far.

 

 

 

https://www.audible.com/pd/Dont-Mess-with-Mrs-Sedgewick-Audiobook/B07QFRY7K6?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-148536&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_148536_rh_us

http://www.mariefmartin.com

 

Author Susan Purvis

April 2019 Author Sue Purvis  received a Silver Nautilus Award for her memoir, Go Find. Recent busy months found her teaching wilderness medicine courses, talking at a number of different venues and MTNPR radio and magazine interviews. Watch for the coming publication in University of Montana Alumni Magazine, Montanan Magazine, where her story will be a cover feature.

West Shore Community Library Lakeside, MT

Presentation and book signing.

Montanan Magazine photo shoot on Whitefish Mountain

https://susanpurvis.com/

 

Arbor Day Connections

By Karen Wills

Climate change thrusts us into a heightened awareness of nature. Oceans, lakes, meadows and trees are the living matrix of which we are a part.  Trees in particular have figured in much fiction and nonfiction of late. Of course, poets have long written about and concerned themselves with trees. overstory treesAmerican poet Robinson Jeffers planted about 2,000 seedlings on his sea cliff property near Carmel, California in the first half of the 1900s.

There is a kinship of us humans to trees. Tree deprivation became as real for me when we lived on the Alaskan tundra as it was for settlers living on the virgin prairies of America. I loved the big, empty tundra with its miles of tiny wild cotton, but trees have always meant shelter, the promise of something to lean against, and shade in the glare of summer. I missed them.

In a recent blog on my website I quoted from Joanna L. Stratton’s, Pioneer Women, which tells of a woman whose husband took her along on a journey to bring home wood. She’d not seen a tree for two years. “…when they arrived at Little River, she put her arms around a tree and hugged it until she was hysterical.”

That reminded me of when we lived on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. We explored the countryside, often peering into abandoned settlers’ houses. One was a stone cottage with a small grotto beside it sheltered by trees. The woman who pioneered there had walked nearly ½ mile each way every day carrying buckets of water to keep her seedlings growing. They flourished. She is gone, but her trees remain, providing homes for birds, being natural wind instruments, and soothing the prairie with their sighing leaves and branches.

An insightful novel about those who plant, nurture, and preserve not just trees, but whole forests, is The Overstory by Richard Powers–winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. One of its most interesting characters is a Vietnam veteran who finds his purpose in life replanting clear-cut, logged-out areas for a living. But he learns that replanting rows of trees earns his corporate employer permission to clear cut more and more forests at a greater profit. That knowledge drives the veteran to desperate, reckless acts.

Another character in The Overstory is Patricia Westerford who devotes her academic and personal life to the study of forests. According to Patricia, everything that happens in nature happens for a purpose. “The environment is alive—a fluid, changing web of purposeful lives dependent on each other.” She also concludes, “We’ve been shaped by forests for longer than we’ve been homo sapiens.”

To return to Jeffers, in his poem “Ghost” he imagines himself as a spirit revisiting the new owner of his former property.  He has the following exchange with the startled man:

“I see you have played hell
With the trees that I planted.” “There has to be room for people,” he
answers. “My God,” he says, “
That still!”

This Arbor Day, enjoy the forests if you can, plant a tree if you’re able, and take a deep breath. Feel your connection to the earth of which you are still a part.