The logline is probably my single best take-away from Save The Cat. It's that bit that you say when someone asks, "What's it about?" It's the narrator's voice at the beginning of the trailers you see in theatres.
I first used it in my novella I was writing and it really helped clarify things. Then I wrote one for Sold to the Highest Bidder.
I recently started Rescued by the Rancher and something kept feeling off. I wrote a whole first chapter and it was all wrong. I have started in the wrong place. Today it's my job to decide what the RIGHT place is, and so I thought perhaps a logline would give me a clue.
The first one I wrote down was this:
Veterinarian Andrew Laramie is back in Larch Valley to make amends, but how can you make things right with a dead man and a woman who doesn’t want to be rescued?
Well, well. It's rotten. It told me right away what part of the problem was with my chapter one. Number one, the focus is on the hero. Which works with some books but not this one and generally not in the Romance line (there are always exceptions). Maybe my logline isn't just WHAT'S it about, but WHO is it about? Is it about Andrew making amends? Or is it about his relationship with Jen??? AHHHHH. DUH. It doesn't have the right focus. So I thought, let's put this from the heroine's point of view.
This is what I came up with:
Jennifer O’Keefe has lost everything, and will do whatever it takes to get her business back. Until Andrew Laramie arrives back in town, and she realizes the one thing she won’t do is be rescued by the man who broke her heart in the first place.
I think this works much better. I'm focused on the heroine - right where I should be. I've set up the problem, and I've also set up the conflict between her and Andrew.
The logline needs to be something I can go back to when things get fuzzy. It needs to be an anchor. It needs to be something that solidifies what the book is about at it's core. And it's about Jen losing her own business, Andrew providing a way out, and whether or not she'll swallow her pride and accept help from her childhood sweetheart.
There are always lots of twists, turns, layers of conflict and developing of the romance. But the logline really does provide a lighthouse when the fog creeps in.