Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Did you know?

Over and over again, I'm surprised by what I don't know about this business of writing. I try hard to keep up with everything happening, but some times, something new comes out of the woodwork and I find - I had no idea about that at all.

Such a think happened a couple of weeks ago, and I'm still stunned.

For authors and script writers, some of our selling tools, the things we use to get a publisher to take a good look at our work include things like the back cover blurb, what makes you want to buy the book, the synopsis (which a lot of authors don't like to write - including me) but also something called a tagline or a logline.

Up until a week ago, I had no idea they were not one and the same. Can you imagine my surprise when I found an author (recognized as an expert in most aspects of this profession) that there is a difference?

Yep, a tagline and a logline are not interchangeable things. What? you say. Yeh, I know. Shocked me too.,

So what exactly did this author say was the difference?

Actually, it's pretty simple. The logline tells the story in a simple sentence, short, usually about twenty five words which sums up who, the goal, the motivation, what gets in the way and action required by protagonist. Okay, so most authors write those. They are not easy, but they are much shorter than the blurb and a quick why to describe your book.

So what is a tagline?

This is what blew me away. I have never written a tag line, and I don't even know if I can. It's really short; good taglines are less than 10 words and they don't tell the story, only hint at what it's all about.
Lucy V. Hay found some in a Goggle search which are used in movies. Since this particular movie is on cable frequently, I'll site this one.  The tagline for this movie is -

"Earth - take a good look. Today could be your last."

Nine words to intrigue you. So what's the movie?  "Independence Day" Movies use them all the time.

But what does all of this proved to me? Only that I have so much more to learn. Off to find out what else I don't know.

Allison Knight


Big Mike said...

In a workshop I've given, I suggest that a tagline is more than a sells tool. It is the core of your story. The "OMG" inference a reader takes away on the last page once all elements come together in one focused beam of light. That's why, before I start all my stories, I first evolve the tagline, then write around it, like layers in an onion.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Well put, Mike. Tag lines, cut lines in newspapers under pictures, etc., have always fascinated me. They are meant to entice. Also, being short, everyone will read them when they see them, unlike the log line which involves investment in the subject matter.