How to Write a Logline

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Nov 30

Before writing your next great epic, try writing a (short) one sentence logline that summarizes:

– Who your main characters are and what they’re trying to achieve?

Who are their antagonists?

What makes your story interesting and unique?

Also, it has to be highly descriptive and not bore people.

It’s a good idea to write a logline before you start and then see if it helps you stay on track to tell your story. After you are finished, revisit it and refine it if necessary. If you hope to get published or turn your work into a TV pilot, film or documentary, you should know that producers rarely get past the logline to read your synopsis so if it isn’t any good, you’re toast.

For Quantum Entity Trilogy, I wrote the logline this way:

A brilliant, other-directed young physicist loved by two women—one a performance artist from Palos Verdes and the other, a marcom graduate from prestigious Elmira College—unleashes unlimited bandwidth quantum phones and intelligent quantum entities on an unsuspecting world coming into conflict with entrenched commercial and governmental interests.

Then I wrote this slightly shorter version where the antagonists are not expressly named but implied:

A brilliant, other-directed young physicist loved by two women—a performance artist from Palos Verdes & a marcom graduate from prestigious Elmira College—unleashes unlimited bandwidth quantum phones & intelligent quantum entities on an unsuspecting world threatening to undermine encryption algorithms allowing the Internet to resolve.

Here is a longer version where the antagonist is expressly named and the consequences (ushering in an era of plenty and undermining encryption algorithms which allow the Internet to resolve) are spelled out:

A brilliant, other-directed young physicist, Damien Bell, loved by two women—Nell, a performance artist from Palos Verdes and Ellen Brooks, a marcom graduate from prestigious Elmira College—unleashes unlimited bandwidth quantum phones and intelligent quantum entities on an unsuspecting world ushering in an unprecedented era of plenty but coming into conflict with entrenched commercial and governmental interests as quantum computing threatens to disable encryption algorithms which allow the Internet to resolve.

Then I rewrote this for InkTip’s magazine which only allows a maximum of 60 words. This version has 57 words and manages to mention both the Internet issue and main antagonists:

A brilliant, other-directed young physicist loved by two women—a performance artist from Palos Verdes and a marcom graduate from prestigious Elmira College—unleashes on an unsuspecting world unlimited bandwidth quantum phones and intelligent quantum entities who threaten to disable encryption algorithms allowing the Internet to resolve thereby coming into conflict with entrenched commercial and governmental interests.

Here’s another one I wrote for submission to a publisher:

This trilogy tells the story of three, somehow interconnected families—the Bells, the Brooks and the Hopi of Third Mesa—from the first moment artificially intelligent agents, called quantum entities, are unleashed on an unsuspecting world by a brilliant, other-directed young physicist loved by two women (a performance artist from Palos Verdes and a marcom graduate from prestigious Elmira College) until a war amongst nations struggling for supremacy or survival ends in an evolutionary step for both quantum entities and their human partners.

Lastly, here’s the logline for the entire trilogy. It is exactly 60 words long:

This trilogy tells the story of three, somehow interconnected families—Bells, Brooks and Hopi of Third Mesa—from the first moment artificially intelligent agents (quantum entities) are unleashed on an unsuspecting world by a brilliant, other-directed young physicist loved by two women until a war amongst nations ends in an evolutionary step for both quantum entities and their human partners.

Finally, here’s the synopsis of the trilogy:

This is a trilogy that concerns itself with the big questions about life and the small details of how we live it. Young Damien Bell, physicist and engineer, designs then unleashes Quantum Communications and Quantum Entities on an unsuspecting mid-21st century world. The tech company he co-founds along with Romanian mathematician Traian Vasilescu and Elmira College marcom graduate Ellen Brooks, Quantum Computing Corporation (QCC), becomes a fast growing, vastly profitable, globe-spanning one in a remarkably short few years.

Inevitably, they come into conflict with established commercial interests as well as security agencies around the world, first, because their quantum phones (later known as Q-phones) based as they are on hacked iPhone 40s completely disintermediate established carriers and, second, Quantum Entities (QEs) are fully actualized quantum computers that are not only superb examples of AI but appear to be conscious, sentient creatures come to join humanity on its voyage to a collective destiny whatever that may be. What it also means is that Internet security, paywalls and all forms of digital encryption are wide open to possible exploitation by QEs and their human counterparts as well as QCC.

Quantum Entities apparently comply with all human laws but there appears to be an issue with a small minority of QEs called ‘Drogues’ who, for some reason, do not successfully form a bond with their human hosts. This ultimately results in a war on Drogues and other problems for QCC and its founders.

The introduction of Quantum Communications and Quantum Entities leads to an era of Quantum Economics (later called the Quantum Era), a time when scarcity becomes a thing of the past at least for some. It also leads to a new competition amongst nations—some like the United States embracing (to an extent) the new era while others such as Imperial China apparently rejecting this new technology. This leads to a clash amongst world powers when Imperial China and its ally, Germania (a renamed EU), attempt to impose a new hegemony on a mostly unwilling planet. The last book of the trilogy follows the lives of those who would resist a new tyranny by the Cartesian Powers (sometimes referred to as the Cartesian Axis or simply Cartesians) and how they attempt to do just that.

The trilogy spans four generations and follows three (somehow interconnected) families (the Bells, the Brooks and the family of Chief Dan of the Hopis of Third Mesa) as well as introducing a wide cast of supporting characters and geography including Toronto, Boston, Ambergris Caye, Bucharest, Langley Airforce Base, St Jo’s Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, San Quentin, Austin, New Orleans, Carthage, Shenyang or Shengjing (盛京), capital and largest city of Liaoning Province, Wreck Beach, Vancouver, New Zealand, Stockholm, Hermosa Beach, University of California, Berkeley, Oregon (Umatilla National Forest), Luna Colony, Shackelton Crater, Mars Colony, Europa, Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Gabriola Island, Port Isabella, Free State of Texas, Q-space and the Guatemala Highlands.

The Trilogy is made up of nine parts, numbered I to IX. Each book contains three parts, 16 chapters and one epilogue. The Trilogy finishes early in the 22nd century but there is a prequel chapter at the end that returns to the year 1929. The prequel follows real life quantum physicist Paul Dirac on his voyage from Cambridge to America and from there through the Panama Canal to Japan before returning to England via Siberia. He was accompanied on his journey by Werner Heisenberg (author of the Uncertainty Principal for quantum mechanics). Dirac and Heisenberg make a (relatively) short detour on their way through the Panama Canal to Marco Gonzalez on Ambergris Caye. Their never-before-revealed voyage to Belize sets in motion all that follows in Quantum Entity Trilogy. There is one final Postscript with the last two reveals of the trilogy.

Book 1 shows what it is like to conceive, found, grow and then defend a major tech biz. Book 2 looks at what it takes to rescue a moribund economy after a great reset and meltdown. Finally, Book 3 examines what it is like to organize a massive project in resistance to those who would seek to dominate and enslave the solar system and it also tries to answer big questions including are we alone in the galaxy, where are other intelligent species, why don’t we see them, what is the purpose of life and what’s next for humanity.

Prof Bruce

ps. copies of the trilogy are available from http://www.brucemfirestone.com/quantum-entity/.

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Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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