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Finding the Core of Your Story: How to strengthen and sell your story in one essential sentence (How to Write a Logline Book 1) 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition
|Length: 109 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Spoiler Alert...He succeeds.
2016 update: I have recommend this book to everyone I know who writes since I read It in 2013
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I'm an aspiring author, and on a forum for like-minded fellow authors, a few years back I noticed a lot of members spending a lot of effort to write and refine loglines for their stories. I'd run across the concept, in its original context, a few times, and this seemed like nothing more than yet another gimmick, like taking a personality test "in character" as the protagonist. After all, as Kipling wrote in a famous poem, "There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays / And every single one of them is right!" Why, I reasoned, should I put time and effort into creating a one-sentence summary of a story I'm having trouble condensing into an outline? Especially since loglines were invented for feature films, which are about equivalent in content to a short story?
And then I got the book when it was on sale for 99 cents, and read it. And pretty much immediately I made creating and polishing the logline a central part of my iterative-outline-based writing process. If I can't condense a story into a single sentence, that's a sign that I don't understand it well enough to write it properly. Just like it's better to find a problem with the plot when the story is a six-page outline than when it's a six-hundred-page draft, it's best of all to find and correct these problems when the story is a sentence or a paragraph-length summary.
You can probably get enough of the central idea of this book from the free sample Jordan Smith offers on his website (or probably even the Kindle Preview) to see the value of creating a logline and learn the basic method. But this book also goes on to cover variations (one standard formula does not fit all stories) and other uses for the concept (such as seeing the story from other characters' perspectives to check that their actions are consistent with their motivations).
Even now, three or so years after reading it for the first time, I still go back and reread some chapters to refresh my memory on the finer points of loglines, and to renew my motivation for writing them. (And I'm looking forward to reading his forthcoming sequel to learn some of the finer finer points.)
This book helped me to take a step back and look at the big picture. What is my book about, really? What is the main storyline? How do I explain the main storyline in 1-3 sentences (preferably just 1)?
I was able to pinpoint not only the weaknesses in the story as a whole, but in each major character's motivations and actions. This is not just a book about writing log lines or book blurbs, it is a brainstorming wizard with the purpose of helping you find the core of your story (whether it be novel, screen play, or short story), with a dash of humor and a whole lotta wisdom!
It may not be as fabulous for everyone as it was for me, but it is definitely worth checking out - it just may be the push you need to take your story where it needs to go. It definitely was for me.
Best for Ages: 10 and up
I don't think I have enjoyed a book on the writing craft as much as this one in a long time. I picked this up one Sunday afternoon, feeling in the mood to learn something. I came away with a skill that I didn't even know I needed, but I am so glad I have.
Almost every book I have picked up on creative writing has been... uncreative. Not so with this book. Jordan has an engaging style of writing that made me wish he had a whole series of books on different aspects of writing. You feel like you are sitting in a small class with a personable professor who injects just the right amount of humor into his lessons.
The subject of the book itself was very timely. Writing loglines, one sentence summaries, of your story is something every author us supposed to do, but it can be very hard. Jordan made it easy. He used lots of examples that showed me how to write it. By the end of the book, I wrote three loglines that I was very proud of.
I highly recommend this book for all writers.
Jordan has a way of presenting his tips and tricks without getting bogged down in details, leaving readers with no doubt as to what he was trying to say. This method of precise communication enables storytellers to improve their own writing without having to struggle through understanding what was just conveyed to them.
The additional chapters in the revised version covered a lot of material that was overlooked or rushed through in the first edition. "Revised and Expanded" is a very accurate description of this release.
Overall I loved the book. Definitely worth the reread. And the future rerereads that are sure to come as I learn to further improve my own craft.