My book is called The Kitchen Daughter, and it’s about a woman who discovers she can invoke ghosts by cooking from dead people’s recipes.
Does that say everything there is to say about my book? Heck no. But does it say enough? In my opinion, yes, just.
Writing is hard, and I’m not just talking about the book itself. Getting a book published and making it a success requires countless other writing tasks. The query (about which most of us have been known to bellyache.) The synopsis, or synopses. The logline. The outline, if you outline. Pitch letters. Catalog copy. Countless forms of sum-it-up pitching. Each of those is a challenge, and each is important. But my advice to you is to shrink your logline. Work and work and work on it. Test it and tweak it. Whittle it down shorter and shorter, until you nail it.
It may be the most important sentence you ever write.
I’d already been planning on writing about loglines this month, but this past weekend I saw the lesson driven home yet again. I attended the Backspace Writers’ Conference, where I watched a competition called “Midtown Idol.” Writers submitted their queries, first two pages, the genre, and a logline. The idea was for a panel of agents to listen to the queries read aloud, pass their favorites through to a second round, and then hear the pages read aloud so the audience could pick a winner. Time got short in the first round. Many of the queries were long and meandering. More and more often, the agents would say, “Okay, well, what’s the logline?”
And here’s the problem: [Read more…]