The logline. The so-called “elevator pitch.”
I think in writing novels, the logline maybe claims more importance than it really has — some folks paint a world where you have to sharpen this short blurb of your own work to an atom-splitting point, keeping the weapon in your back pocket because at some point you may find yourself at a coffee counter with an agent or editor and have a sudden chance to pitch them. (Which I’m sure is awesome for the agent or editor. Particularly if they haven’t had their coffee yet. Pro-Tip: never pitch an agent or editor before they have consumed at least one cup of their daily caffeine. You may lose a hand, an eye, a few toes.)
Still — I like it as an intellectual exercise because it helps you distill the work you’re doing down to its manageable essence. You’re figuring out what lies at the core of the work and you’re also helping figure out how the work can be mentioned and brokered without taking people on a ten minute snooze-worthy journey — because, man, I’ve been the guy who gets cornered by an “aspiring” novelist who wants to tell you about his book. It takes forever, and it makes me want to rip your trachea out and shove it in my earholes.
Plus, you’re keeping me from refilling my drink.
(Pro-Tip: never keep a writer from refilling your drink. We won’t just take a hand, eye, toes. We’ll go for the soul. We’ll write you into our next book as a possum-molesting Neo-Nazi who gets thrown into a wood chipper as everyone else laughs.)
Clarity and conciseness are powerful skills for the writer.
So, let’s practice.
You’re working on something now, I take it?
Give us the logline.
Meaning, hook us into the story with a single sentence.
Then: feel free to discuss everyone’s logline with them. How’d it work? How’s it sound? Did it hook you? Did it compel you in some fashion? Was it both clear and concise?