Loglines and Pitches

funny-pictures-cats-mouse

Loglines. Premise. The Story Idea. The Pitch.

For a newbie like myself, these can seem bewildering concepts which are only relevant to screenwriters and of no value to fiction writers.

Wrong.

What do you say when someone who is genuinely interested in you works asks the killer question ‘What’s the Story about?’ and 10 minutes later you are still giving him the backstory about the villian’s demonic mother in the Ukraine, and your potential agent/publisher/friend is desperately signalling to a colleague to find an excuse to get away from you.

Why? What do I need to know BEFORE I can create a compelling, and hopefully High Concept Compass Logline/Story Line for my latest bestseller?

Because you are boring, rambling, and worse, you have not answered the question.

Or, even worse, you are just getting into your stride on all of the research you completed on the causes of the Franco=Prussian War and – wait for it – there is no story because you are still looking for characters who can postulate your theory.
And in doing so you have just demonstrated that you are anything else EXCEPT a professional author.

AHHH! Career alert!

So. What is your Story About?

To me, I have to be able to give a simple answer like this –

My story is about someone [ your protagonist]….who strives for [goal]… and this stands in his way [ forces of opposition and antagonism].

WHO she is, WHAT she wants, and WHAT she is going to have to overcome to get it.

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Attack of the Lizard Brain

Pic =more tea – alex noriega

You know how it is.

You know that you should lose weight, but you still comfort eat.

You know that you have to go and see the dentist because of that nagging tooth pain that wakes you in the night – and you know that all you have to do is one more solid day on the last chapter of your book, and you will have finished the first draft.

But you don’t do it.

Instead, you find any form of procrastination to divert yourself from the things that you know you should do. Sometimes they are the things you MUST do to achieve your goals.

In fact, the more important the thing is, the more excuses you find not to do it.

And it is so frustrating you could scream.

Seth Godin, the internet guru, calls this ‘The Lizard Brain,‘ – “the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer’s block and putting jitters and every project that ever shipped late because people couldn’t stay on the same page long enough to get something out the door.

The resistance grows in strength as we get closer to shipping, as we get closer to an insight, as we get closer to the truth of what we really want. That’s because the lizard hates change and achievement and risk.”

The lizard brain will sabotage us from the inside.

Steven Pressfield calls it ‘The Resistance’ – the block that we have to push through each and every day.

In writing – and in life.

Because the more we care about our work and life and want it to be the best possible, then the more we fear the horror of that thing going wrong and come crashing down on top of us – and all of the misery and pain and criticism that will come with that apparent failure.

Fear = Importance= Deeply caring = Risk. And the Lizard Brain takes over and makes us run away.

It was designed to help the early human avoid becoming some other creature’s lunch. Now it wants to keep us safe.

The tough part is saying – Okay, Lizard Brain. Know you are there but I am okay.

Gulp. This evolution business is tougher that it looks.