Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Loglines and Taglines for Fiction or Memoir #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

First, I’d like to wish you all health and success in 2020. Happy New Year, Everyone! As I continue to crawl forward in revision on my college memoir, I’m thinking about loglines and taglines. When I researched online about these pitching tools for fiction or memoir, I gleaned the following definitions from blogs and webinars at writerly sites:

A Logline gives the gist of your book in a sentence. It tells something about the main character, the conflict, and the stakes. So, the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY of your story.

A Tagline is a catchphrase that sucks the reader in. It’s the idea behind your book. Also known as the hook. It might be on the front cover of your book.  The tagline’s job is to evoke emotion.

According to JennieNash of Author Accelerator, a pitch or logline is one line that gives some sense of the character arc of change; who they are, what the plot is, and where the plot goes.

Okay, so how do we do it? I found some questions that are helpful to answer when creating a logline and/or a tagline. So I answered them.

WHO is your main character?   Victoria, a mother of 5 young children
WHERE does the story take place?   South Jersey home and college campuses
WHAT is the situation?   Victoria tries to allow her special needs daughter Marie a chance at living her dream of attending college, but they are told Marie would never succeed.
WHY does it matter?   Victoria was told the same thing when she wanted to attend college.
HOW does the character solve the problem?   By swallowing her own fear of failure and beginning college herself first.

Now that we know who, where, what, why, and how, we condense it into what we as writers hope is a pithy logline.

“A South Jersey mom of five gives her special needs daughter the opportunity of college by swallowing her own fear of failure and beginning college first.”

            Does it work?
I think there’s an arc of change in the protagonist, the mom, from a paralyzing fear of failure to actually beginning college.
We know what happens; she’s going to attempt college.
And we know why it matters to her; she wants to help her daughter.

            Of course the story is much more involved than just these few pieces, but does it make someone want to read the whole book?

The tagline, the idea behind the book, according to our definition, the hook. The tagline is supposed to evoke emotion. I came up with many, but here are two I’ll share for your comment.

Every important journey begins with doubt.
Find permission within yourself to begin a difficult journey.

What are your thoughts on these? Do they evoke emotion? Is doubt even an emotion? Does finding permission within oneself sound more personal? Can other people [readers] relate easier to it than the more general statement about journeys beginning with doubt? Is finding permission more original?

These are necessary questions for all writers to consider as they try to condense their stories into pithy loglines and taglines.

*Please feel free to offer any insight or ask any questions regarding the details of my college memoir logline or taglines. It would be truly appreciated.* 

Has anyone prepared a logline or tagline for their story? I’m interested in how you came to condense your story into a sentence or two. Please share any tips you may have about loglines or taglines in the comments section of Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much!

And thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in the comment so I can be sure to do the same for you. To continue hopping through more amazing blogs or to join our Author Toolbox blog hop, click here

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Insecure Writers Want to Know: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular story or person? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

First, I’d like to wish you all health and success in 2020. Happy New Year, Everyone! I am honored to co-host this month’s question. My gracious co-hosts are T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling WomanReneeScattergood, J.H. Moncrieffand Stephen Tremp

Insecure Writers Support Group offers an excellent opportunity to pitch your stories, if you are ready. You can find details about the #IWSGPit, which is January 15th, here. Good luck, everyone! 

You can also find details about IWSG’s new anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost here. Congratulations to all the writers included in the anthology! Writers helping other writers. That’s what Insecure Writers Support Group is all about.

Now about our January question, I have always been a storyteller, like my father before me. I love adventure and romance, and I always envisioned myself in the story I read or watched. I was the protagonist, the main character who saves the day and wins her man. And I always did it with style. But getting it all on the page and hoping others would like the story? Well let’s just say this is why I’m part of Insecure Writers Support Group.

             When I was growing up, my father would tell wild tales of adventure in our patio to me and my siblings and any neighborhood kid who hung around. We’d wait until dusk. He’d light a candle on the picnic table and begin his fanciful tale. The characters were whoever came to listen to the story. It didn’t need to make sense. His baritone voice kept us rapt on his every word wondering what would happen next.

            Because of my father, I took to telling my own children stories, but my stories would be based on anecdotes. It started when we went camping as a family. You can find many of our adventures on Camping with Five Kids

In the evening, sitting around the campfire, I’d tell the children stories. And they would ask for the same stories based on the same anecdotes. Then I started the “what if” stories. These were not actual happenings. These were pure fiction. My children liked those as well, and I started to think maybe I should try my hand at actually publishing these stories.  

            As you know, many of my short stories are based on adventures my family and I have had camping around this beautiful country of ours. But to make them worthwhile for others—and to keep within word count—I had to ditch the parents and any extraneous character and cut the time frame.

Right now I’m working on an adventure in the Adirondack Mountains where a teen and his younger sister are taking their first hike without their father who died in a car accident. It’s a familiar hike, but they’re both grieving. *Internal struggle* One external struggle is the younger sister keeps comparing her older brother [protagonist] with their father. Then I include a flash thunderstorm at the peak of the mountain, a flooded trail that takes them off course. Now there’s a swift river they need to cross on huge narrow boulders. And their mother is waiting for them at the foot of the trail. No cell service in the forest. I’m trying to get the pacing right, so feel free to offer comments or ask any questions on this. Thanks!   

I’m at the beginning of another short story that deals with an allergic reaction and the use of an EpiPen.
Does anyone have information as to what truly happens in an allergic reaction to a bee sting? 
Does anyone have any experience with using EpiPens?
Do you know of a reputable site to reference to help me learn about allergic reactions or EpiPens?

I’ll be interested to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s great having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing game.

Thanks so much for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.