Thursday, March 7, 2013

Twitter Pitch Loglines Part 1: Key Ingredients

Logline Ingredients:
Character, Conflict, Choice
(Image Source)
With more and more Twitter Pitch Contests popping up, the ability to pitch your novel in a single, succinct logline is increasingly important. 
It's our hook.

But how do we write a twitter pitch?

At first glance, it's easy. All you need to do is provide a one-line intro to your storyline that grabs readers' attention. Sounds simple enough. But then you start to drill down and  realize just how complicated this can be. 

Sidenote: If you'd like a little entertainment while crafting 
your pitch, you might check out my Pitch Generators.

For those of us building a basic pitch from scratch, here are some key components:

    Key Ingredients of the One-Sentence Pitch
    • Character 
      • Adjective that succinctly describes the character and/or vocation 
      • Age or audience (YA/MG/NA)
      • MC Name (optional)
    • Conflict: goal & obstacle
    • Stakes:  choice & consequences

This provides a nice baseline formula for a logline or Twitter Pitch (see more pitch recipes here):

When [OPENING CONFLICT] happens to [MC], s/he must [ACHIEVE GOAL or MAKE A CHOICE] or else [CONSEQUENCES]

But, unless the plot itself is *the hook* it may be difficult to get people's attention with just this bare-bones pitch. It can be especially difficult to pitch literary/character-focused stories. In that case, we may need to add a little something extra:

   Spicing up your Novel's Twitter Pitch
    • Setting: Worldbuilding Flavor
    • Antagonist
    • Vivid Visuals
    • Character Arc
    • Narrator Voice
    • Tone (comedy, drama, high fantasy, horror etc)
Here are a few loglines snagged from IMDB that highlight these elements in different ways :


Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match. - The Hunger Games

Antagonist & Visuals, with a hint of Character Arc:

When her mom is attacked and taken from their home in New York City by a demon, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl, Clary Fray, finds out truths about her past and bloodline on her quest to get her back, that changes her entire life - The City of Bones

Eleven year old famous wizard, Harry Potter, is sent to wizarding school to learn magic, but ends up solving a mystery over life and death all with the most evil of wizards, Lord Voldemort, trying to kill him - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (found here)

Tone & Voice:

Tone and voice are two things that I find movie loglines don't do too well. Mostly, they're just trying to summarize the movie succinctly. So for examples of tone/voice, I'd recommend you refer to some of the winning pitches from PitMad this past January.

Final Advice?

Have fun with it. Write down a list of things that are interesting/unique about your book. Jot down favorite phrases your MC likes to say. Usually, you'll use more than one pitch in a contest (probably more like 10 or 20), play around with a bunch of them! There's really no rules here. In fact, you don't even have to include stakes.

Related Posts:

More Resources:

What do you see as the key ingredients of a Twitter Pitch? What are some good examples of pitches? Bad examples?


  1. Thank you so much for this! I'm constantly having to remind myself what a logline is ^_^ Now I have a reference I can keep bookmarked. Hooray!

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog the other day. I was looking at your "About Me" page and saw that you were at ASU. Cool! That's where I went to undergrad. I grew up in Phoenix (although - another connection - I was born in Seattle). Uber jealous that you live in Australia now.

  3. I've been eyeing all these pitch fests and thinking I'll get in on some of those once I finally, finally, FINALLY have my MS all polished and pretty (speaking of which, I read your last post and nodded and smiled the entire time because you described the exact process I'm going through - need to be thorough!). Thanks for the post! It was boggling my mind on how to even go about writing a pitch :)



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