Log Lines: Getting Ready for the San Francisco Writers Conference

sfwcThis was Barry Eisler at one SFWC. One of the best keynote speakers ever!

Now that most of winter is over (such as it is, it’s been 40 degrees and mostly no snow, so I’m not complaining), and the holidays are behind us for another 300+ days, it’s time to get busy and write!

I’ll admit, after November’s NaNoWriMo, where I barely cobbled together my 50K words, I took the entire month of December off. I spent ten days Dad-sitting, which was great! The dad was in good humor and the weather in Colorado was fantastic, until the night before I left, when the area was hit by freezing rain. Then came the holidays – blah, blah, blah. I normally don’t do anything for Christmas (bah humbug!) but this year, my son came home for Christmas – first time in seven years. He ate and drank us out of the house, fought with his sister, and succeeded in spoiling the cat and dog to the point where they don’t want to eat pet food anymore.

Now that he’s gone back to San Francisco (last Wednesday, thankfully), the house is returning to its normal, stress-free and bland condition. My husband and I enjoy relative calm, can you imagine?

In a month, I’ll be packing up for the San Francisco Writers Conference, which means my procrastination must come to a screeching halt right now. I just realized I have three completed novels in various stages of the editing process, and pieces of three more in notebooks and computer files.

Coincidentally, the local RWA email loop has been discussing the topic of “log lines”, which is totally different than an elevator pitch. Remember when I had that problem many years ago with the synopsis? And then the pitch? Well, a log line is ONE sentence – that lays out the entire gist of your work. Think of the old TV Guide listings and descriptions of sit-coms. “When Hyde’s father asks him to house-sit while he is out of town, the gang convinces Hyde to throw a party.” ~That 70s Show The log line is just enough information to give you an idea of what is to come.

But one sentence?! Are they insane? Can I use a run-on sentence?

I have my pitches ready, but realize I need to fine tune the log lines. I don’t want agents’ and other authors’ eyes to glaze over when I begin to talk about my work. I’ve seen that happen, and it’s not pretty.

So… here are some log lines of my current works in progress:

  1. Three women spend a month contemplating the birth of a child that will change all of their lives; one, a hopeful adoptive mother, another, a confused pregnant teen, and the third, the teen’s mother.
  2. Hollywood mom Maya Cooper and her daughter seek to find a way back to LA-LA land after a short banishment to snowy Michigan, but will they both discover that home is not where everything glitters but where the heart is?
  3. It’s the Virtual Moms’ wedding of the century, but with everyone in the midst of personal drama, it’s dicey whether or not the bride and groom will say “I do.”

Holy cow. That was hard. (You didn’t see me back-spacing over my words while trying to make my stories make sense in a sentence. There was a lot of that going on.)

As for the Works in Pieces?

  1. In mid-1970s San Francisco, three lost souls wrestle with the demons of their pasts as they consider taking a final jump from the Golden Gate.
  2. After spending twenty years looking for her deceased son’s daughter, the woman’s search comes to an end when a woman claiming to be the long-lost granddaughter arrives on her doorstep.
  3. Sioux’s search for her father leads to an unexpected result.

Again, log lines are tough.


I’d be interested in finding out how other writers deal with this. Can I be the only one who balks at writing them? (And synopses, and query letters…)

Back to work…

Posted in books, DIY, editing, Finding Cadence, indie publishing, Joanne Huspek, NaNoWriMo, people, querying, reading, San Francisco, San Francisco Writers Conference, VIRTUALLY YOURS, VIRTUALLY YOURS FOREVER, womens literature, writers conference, writing Tagged , , , , , , ,

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