Using a Logline to Build a Query

After delving into loglines and discussing what I’ve learned about them (here and here), I thought I would try illustrating how one can use a logline as the foundation for constructing a query.  One problem we often see when writers first attempt a query is that they throw in everything but the kitchen sink — names of numerous characters, places, and objects, an entire paragraph of back story, a long synopsis-y description of the plot that tries to bring in all the secondary plot lines, etc..

The key is finding the central plot line and choosing the most significant elements to focus on, and then developing that enough to make it both clear and intriguing, without trying to include and explain everything.  What makes this far more difficult than it sounds is that when you’re looking at your own story, which you know so well, it’s hard to stand back and see it objectively enough to break it all down into something so brief.  Naturally, you think all of it is important (otherwise you wouldn’t have written all those words). 😉

This is why starting with a logline, in which you’ve already pared the story down to that essential kernel at the heart of it, can be helpful.  So I’m going to walk through the process here, in the hopes that this may make the task easier for anyone who’s having a hard time wrestling with the big bad query beast. Continue reading