One Liners

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Wolfe3141
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One Liners

Post by Wolfe3141 » May 19th, 2010, 10:55 am

Having read some of the rules for a one liner about my book I'm still not sure if my brain is able to wrap itself around it ... so I was wondering if I am close with this one liner ...

It’s about a girl just trying to survive the streets of a third world nation full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out, known as America.

Or do I need to be a little more specific like the name of the main character?

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Mark
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Re: One Liners

Post by Mark » May 19th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Can you find a way to rephrase it without 'It's about'? It might have more impact with a character name in it, but you're very close.

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Re: One Liners

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2010, 1:35 pm

It’s about a girl just trying to survive the streets of a third world nation full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out, known as America.
Two principles of all writing are specificity and related personalizing. Any old girl on the American hemisphere is a broad range, half the globe and a significant fraction of its population.

Specificity of setting has a peculiar tendency to appeal broadly, in part from the participation mystique nuances of secondary reality settings. Readers like to be transported to exotic settings different from our everyday routine primary reality settings.

Personalizing doesn't necessarily come from specifically naming a character, it comes from specificity of circumstances. Contrary to exotic setting's audience appeal and rapport potentials, audience appeal and rapport with a character comes from specific physical and personality traits and circumstances similar to an audience bracket's. A homeless girl, for example, a latchkey girl, and so on, go in a good specificity direction, something emotional and empathy-worthy, pity in those two situations. "Kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug handout" complete the empathy cluster with fearful situations.

"Third World nation" "known as America" suggests an exotic setting: time, place, and situation. A futuristic dystopian society is a tradtional setting for fantastical social science fiction.

In addition to specificity of character traits and time, place, and situation settings, specificity of plot direction is useful for building tension in a pitch one-liner. There are hints of plot direction but not as I read it a specific insuperable dilemma the girl faces. Is she trapped and looking for a way out? Is she resisting temptation, resisting change? Or is she a victim of the streets stiving to establish her preferred self-identity apart from the streets' imposed identities? What does she personally need to resolve?
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Wolfe3141
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Re: One Liners

Post by Wolfe3141 » May 20th, 2010, 8:27 am

Yep ... back to the drawing board. Why is writing the book so much easier then a simple one liner? Heck, I haven't even started the query yet. Epp!

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Re: One Liners

Post by Wolfe3141 » May 21st, 2010, 11:45 am

Okay I think I have it now ...

Sarah is a homeless, rocker girl trying to survive the streets which are full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out just to get to her next gig in hopes of making it big and get back into high school.

Maybe.

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karenbb
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Re: One Liners

Post by karenbb » May 21st, 2010, 12:08 pm

Wolfe3141 wrote:Okay I think I have it now ...

Sarah is a homeless, rocker girl trying to survive the streets which are full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out just to get to her next gig in hopes of making it big and get back into high school.

Maybe.
I think it still needs work, but you're making lots of progress. Here's my two minute attempt at rearranging what you already have (btw, I made some assumptions about sequence of events in the story so please excuse if they're incorrect).

Sarah is a homeless rocker girl hoping to get back into high school and then make it big while trying to survive on streets full of kidnapping, murder, rape, and the occasional free drug hand-out.

A few questions--is there a word that could describe the streets? Dangerous? Scary? Terrifying? Perilous? Also, where is she? Is this a big city or a small town? One or two words could help flesh out the picture. I'm also not really getting the threat or tension. Is she longing to get back into high school? Desperate? Is it a must?

Keep going! This very same task is killing me right now.

Wolfe3141
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Re: One Liners

Post by Wolfe3141 » May 21st, 2010, 9:45 pm

<ponders>

Thank you for looking at it again everyone! The comments have been helpful.

<heads off to work on it again>

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Re: One Liners

Post by xouba » May 22nd, 2010, 4:55 am

Wolfe3141 wrote: Sarah is a homeless, rocker girl trying to survive the streets which are full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out just to get to her next gig in hopes of making it big and get back into high school.
My suggestion, only rephrasing what you wrote:

"A homeless rocker girl named Sarah tries to survive in streets full of kidnapping, murder, rape and the occasional free drug hand out; all to get her next gig, make it big and get back into high school."

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polymath
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Re: One Liners

Post by polymath » May 22nd, 2010, 9:03 am

In pitches or queries, there's probably no one thing more likely to raise concerns of an undesirable kind than a basic mechanical style issue. Nondiscretionary spelling concerns being perhaps a number one concern.

In general, I don't believe calling attention to mechanical style in informal discussions like discussion forum venues is an exigent circumstance asking to be addressed. No one's well-being is at stake. No one's going to die, go to prison, or lose money. Unless a circumstance is exigent, I rigorously avoid calling attention to mechanical style concerns, or unless engaged for nondiscretionary copyediting. We are all human. For a pitch, however, exigent circumstances are implicated, in my opinion.

One word, two words, or hyphenated words? are the bane of my existence. Some figures of speech are hyphenated for one meaning, a compounded word for another, some are separate words. They're enough to drive me around the bend. Maybe, perhaps; may be, might be: any more, any additional numerically; anymore, any further and any longer: follow up, verb; follow-up, noun or adjective, for example. I've got an up-to-date reference book with 15,000 entries of those kinds, and it is itself self-proclaimed incomplete.

The words hand out and handout are two different figures of speech with two different shades of meaning. Hand out is a transitive verb, the action of someone handing out something; handout is a noun, as in a free drug handout.

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Quill
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Re: One Liners

Post by Quill » May 22nd, 2010, 10:35 am

Wolfe3141 wrote:Okay I think I have it now ...

Sarah is a homeless, rocker girl trying to survive the streets which are full of kidnapping, murders, rape, and the occasional free drug hand out just to get to her next gig in hopes of making it big and get back into high school.

Maybe.
Indeed, handout would be correct. As it is, it sounds like the drug itself has its hand extended, or that the hand she uses for her drugs is extended.

Secondly, I question whether or not "full" is the best word to describe the streets. Full of kidnapping doesn't make sense to me. A street full of murders. Streets filled with rape. See what I mean? Rife with kidnapping might be better, but still not smooth or supremely accurate.

Also, you might want to say "kidnapping, murders, and rape, and the occasional free drug hand out" lest it sound like the streets are full of the occasional handout.

Finally, looking at "free drug hand out" I'm feeling you might omit either "free" or "handout" as they mean the same thing. I think free is the better word to keep, being more specific and shorter.

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: One Liners

Post by J. T. SHEA » May 22nd, 2010, 3:17 pm

Hows about:-
'Homeless rocker girl Sarah runs a gauntlet of drugs, kidnapping, rape and murder to get her next gig and make enough to escape the mean streets and return to high school and a better life.'

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Quill
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Re: One Liners

Post by Quill » May 22nd, 2010, 3:24 pm

How's about WAY better. Good going.

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Quill
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Re: One Liners

Post by Quill » May 24th, 2010, 10:37 am

Now I'm reading that in a "one liner," AKA logline, one does not use proper names. Hence it might be "rocker girl" but not "named Sarah."

http://www.twoadverbs.com/loglinearticle.htm

http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... pitch.html

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: One Liners

Post by J. T. SHEA » May 24th, 2010, 8:09 pm

The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN logline quoted on QueryTracker mentions Captain Jack Sparrow by name. Likewise the SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE logline. The Twoadverbs article refers only to screenplays. AND our mighty Nathan mentions Jacob Wonderbar in his single sentence pitch!

But Wolfe3141 could leave out Sarah's name without spoiling the pitch:-
'A homeless rocker girl runs a gauntlet of drugs, kidnapping, rape and murder to get her next gig, make enough to escape the mean streets, and return to high school and a better life.'

I also deleted the second last 'and'. I think I have the interaction of lists of things and actions, commas, and 'and' right, but I am open to correction.

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Re: One Liners

Post by BrokenChain » May 29th, 2010, 6:35 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN logline quoted on QueryTracker mentions Captain Jack Sparrow by name. Likewise the SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE logline. The Twoadverbs article refers only to screenplays. AND our mighty Nathan mentions Jacob Wonderbar in his single sentence pitch!

But Wolfe3141 could leave out Sarah's name without spoiling the pitch:-
'A homeless rocker girl runs a gauntlet of drugs, kidnapping, rape and murder to get her next gig, make enough to escape the mean streets, and return to high school and a better life.'

I also deleted the second last 'and'. I think I have the interaction of lists of things and actions, commas, and 'and' right, but I am open to correction.
I think there's problems with the flow if you cut that "and". I suggest slightly rewording: "A homeless rocker girl runs a gauntlet of drugs, kidnapping, rape and murder to ger her next gig, make enough money to escape the streets, and return to high school for a better life."

I substituted that second "and" there at the end with "for". Any thoughts? I'm totally open to criticism.

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