Perfect timing for me. I’m in final revisions and letting my eyes go cross-eyed as I work on my query. My two sentence pitch is below, feel free to comment on it. And then click over to Steena Holmes’ blog to check out the others!
Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist of paintings worth 500 million dollars to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time to the crime scene screws with life in the present. Fiasco hits bottom when he realizes that he controls the fate of the people he loves – and he can’t save them all.
And listening to the feedback so far, here is my one liner.
Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time to the crime scene screws with life in the present until he must choose between his family and friends – and he can’t save them all.
So, let me know which do you like better?
Difficult for me to comment with my ‘English’ English, and I don’t write for this age, and I loved the hook, very clever. The name Fiasco?
I just wanted to thank you for the insightful comments you always seem to be leaving at my place. 🙂
This sound like an exciting story. The only part I stumbled on was “the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist of paintings.” I’ve never heard of it. Maybe simplify it without the name of the heist (the capitalization of Heist is what caused me problems, I think).
Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 thief of paintings worth 500 million dollars from the Gardner Museum to keep his dad out of jail . . . .
You can switch heist for thief. I just didn’t like the word for some reason.
This sounds so cool! I bet my son would love to read this as much as I would.
Anyway, I didn’t trip over the name of the heist, but I also see Stina’s point. Or maybe if you just make heist lowercase.
You seem to have it all – MC, inciting event, goal, stakes and conflict. And really, all of that is in the first sentence; the second sentence just ratchets up the tension.
My one nit-picky comment would be about “Fiasco hits bottom when…”. It’s cliched and sounds like you just didn’t know how to introduce the next part of the sentence. It might be a good way to introduce some voice.
Sounds intriguing. You do have all the point of hook, conflicts, and stakes. I agree with Stina that first line does need to flow better. “Is the 500 million dollars really necessary? I found it bogged down the flow.
Ooooh, this sounds interesting!
Just wondering, why is it up to a 13 year old to solve the crime? Does he have anybody to help him?
Good points everyone. I included the 500 million dollar painting part because I was pretty sure not many people have heard about the Gardner Heist. I’ll fix that cliche about hitting bottom! Thanks!
I like the second one. It still relays the premise of the story in a much more concise way and no cliches.
Love the one liner!
Just a suggestion for the end part of the sentence:
screws up life in the present until he must choose between his family and friends – he can’t save them all.
I stumbled over ‘screws with life’ and think that ‘screws up life’ sounds more like a 13 year old. And I deleted ‘and’ before ‘he can’t save them all’ to make it more immediate. Sounds like a great story!
This is really good! I like your premise, but I agree that the word Heist is a tad confusing. Maybe change it to “theft” or something. And I also think removing the word “and” from “and he can’t save them all” would give a bigger impact. Nicely done!
I love the revised logline. It’s very specific and compelling. 🙂
I’m wondering if you can make ‘screws with life in the present’ more personal to him? Screws with his life perhaps?
I like the second one best, but both are good!! 🙂 The only thing I’d do is take out the reference to 1990.
I’d like to combine them to:
Thirteen-year-old Joseph Fiasco must solve the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time to the crime scene screws with life in the present. Fiasco hits bottom when he realizes that he controls the fate of the people he loves – and he can’t save them all.
Love “screws with his life”!
Sounds like a fun novel. A log line really should only be one line, so I like the second better. Great!
Thanks everyone. I don’t know if I can really take the heist out of the Gardner Heist because that is what it is called. I didn’t name it that. It’s an art theft that still hasn’t been solved to this day. I’ll play around with it and see what I can come up with.
The second one is definitely better! This is great, I really like it.
There’s something about the “until he must” near the end that just… I don’t quite know how to say it. It sort of diminishes the words that come after that, and the choosing part, I imagine, is not something you want to diminish. But… I’m not quite sure what to suggest, so this comment might end up being useless! I’m sorry!
I like the second one. It seems tighter. Also, I like Nicole Zoltack’s suggestions.
Oooh Laura, you’re starting work on your query letter — you know I’m SO jealous. Ha.
I like the one-liner. “the 1990 Gardner Museum Heist” didn’t confuse me and I love that you put the stakes in for the character (keep his father out of jail).
One thing I’m wondering is the choice between his family and friends — I’m the melodramatic type– so what is at stake — their lives or something terrible? A change of fate? When you said that he can’t save them all — it made me think that it was a fatal decision and I’m not sure if that’s the case.
I do love this premise though. Kids would love to read something like this.
Love the oneliner! Sounds like a great premise! 🙂
By a very slim margin, I like the second one. But the first is good too. Sounds interesting; keep us posted on your progress! 🙂
Hi Laura, sounds an intriguing plotline. I also stumbled across all the info on the heist in the longer logline. In the shorter pitch, I found the bit about saving his family and friends to be rather vague – is there any way you can give a bit more info about what the problem is, and why he has to choose between family and friends?
Good luck with it.
Def the second one. Always tighter is better, almost without exception. 🙂
Thanks everyone! In my earlier attempts I was more specific with the last line but I felt like it gave away some of the story. I’ll keep working on it.
No contest between the loglines. Hands down, I like number two. It flows better and reads tighter. Also, FWIW, your story is intriguing. I would read further. I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing.
This sounds like a terrific story! I like the 2nd version better 🙂
Hi Laura, I like the second, one-line pitch. Wow – there’s a lot in your story and it raises a lot of questions in my mind. Like why does he have to solve it? How does he time travel? Why does he have to choose between friends and family? I’d definitely want to request the manuscript!
Definitely shorter ones are always better. We think we need to include information but really we don’t. I guess it works the same with our query! I’ll have to remember that.
Hi, enjoyed the sound of your plot. The log line seems a little wordy,though, maybe requires editing for more punch.
Thirteen-year-old time traveller, Joseph Fiasco, must solve the crime of the century to keep his dad out of jail, but each trip back in time screws with the present. Knowing he now controls the fate of both family and friends he must choose between them, unable to save them all.
Just a suggestion :O)
woah! I really really like the first one. And this sounds like an awesome story!
I think that you have a really great story with some awesome fantasy elements. I tripped up a bit with the name of the museum, because it’s not familiar to me, and wondering why solving a case in 1900 would save his dad in jail now. This is strictly me speaking and my opinion here, but if you used this with your query you could simplify your great concept of time travel by taking out the specifics and simply saying something like… Thirteen-year old Joseph Fiasco must travel back in time to solve a (not sure if these are stolen paintings) to save his father from jail, but every move he makes in the past screws with the present, risking the lives of his friends and family.” OR something LOL IDK!
I actually like the first one better, Laura. 🙂 The only thing is the second usage of the last name throws me off a bit. Is there a casual, close name you can use for the MC to keep with the voice of the pitch? Like Joe or something?
Best of luck, my friend!!!
I loved this logline. Heist works for me, so too the museum name although I don’t know it (or about the heist). I liked both.. maybe the second one just a teeny bit more.
The second one is much better, but I wonder how he figured out how to go back in time. Interesting concept, though!
I wrote a time travel story as well, and boy has the logline been difficult. You did a good job. I prefer the second one, but I almost always prefer shorter loglines, even if there isn’t as much detail. They tend to grab me more. 🙂
I like both! I really liked the line about controlling the fate of his loved ones in the first logline, but I think the second one is clear and to the point.
Love the second one. It’s definitely tighter without the words that tripped me up in the first one. Good luck with your writing!
The second one is much smoother without the unnecessary words. It conveys the story in a much clearer manner – nice work!
I’m not sure what the 1990 Gardner heist is, I wonder if it can be just a general heist in the logline for readers that aren’t familiar with that event. I don’t think you’d lose if you want to take it out, but I’m not really familiar with that and I’m just assuming the target demographic really isn’t either. That being said, I think it sounds like an awesome story.
I grabbed your logline 🙂 If you have a newer one – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! The second one liner is really concise and even though it gets all the relevant info in, it doesn’t feel too long. Good job! I like the name “Fiasco” — I can imagine the fun that is in this story.