Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Loglines, and Pitches, and Queries — Oh My!


Ten days and counting until the opening bell at the Writers’ Institute.

I’ve got my WIP–well, the first 50-ish pages or so–polished pretty well. A lot left, but experience tells me if an agent is going to request, it’ll be a partial request. Crossing fingers I’ll get that far!

Next, the infamous logline, pitch, and query, not to mention the synopsis.


I’ve written the above before.

It was a challenge every time. And that’s just counting the endless revisions for only two books.

People say writing a 90k-word book is hard. A logline, etc should be a piece of cake, right? I mean, it’s only a sentence or two. And a query? That’s only a couple paragraphs, and you don’t even have to tell the ending. A synopsis is only one or two pages. After a 300-page book, a couple more pages should be a snap.

Uh-huh. Do unicorns fart rainbows in your world, too?

The challenge in trying to distill a 300-page novel into a logline is well-known to many writers, and is a cause of insomnia and chocolate binges. Not only does the logline have to give the gist of your story, it has to entice an agent. For those who choose the self-pub route and don’t need to lure an agent, you still need a cover blurb that entices readers to want to read your story. Even agented books need a cover blurb (usually the pitch incorporated in the query).

Remind me why I set out on this writer’s journey.

To write down all the cool stories in my head before it explodes. (my head, not the stories)

What good is writing those cool stories (the easy part) if no one will read them?

Time to buckle down and dig into the tough stuff. There’s no shortage of advice on queries, synopses, loglines, and pitches. I’ve got a ton of pages of suggestions, templates, and advice stored in my Evernote.

Does it help?

Will it write my logline and pitch for me? No? Then “help” is a relative term. I have found some advice to be more understandable/relatable for me. Janice Hardy, of Fiction University fame, has a synopsis formula that makes sense to me. The rest is more elusive. I figure I’ll pore through all the stuff on loglines, pitches, and queries that I’ve saved in Evernote, wander aimlessly for a few days, then stare at a blank page for another couple days to wait for that strike of “a-ha” that spawns the most enticing, awesome pitch ever.

And then I’ll go out and buy a lottery ticket because my odds must have improved by now, right?

*hangs the ‘Do Not Disturb–Disturbed Writer Within’ sign on the door*

Well, here I go. If you don’t hear from me in a week, send chocolate. And wine.

And a unicorn that farts rainbows, because they should be chock full o’ leprechaun gold, right?


Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

12 thoughts on “Loglines, and Pitches, and Queries — Oh My!

  1. I am commiserating with you as you know — still plugging away at my synopsis.
    Not chocolate involved. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, man. Chocolate is vital to writing a good synopsis, doncha know 🙂 And you’re so close to Ghiardelli you could just drive on over to the factory and pick up some fresh stuff 🙂 Wait, maybe you’re missing the wine…

      You can do it! And I’ll have a rainbow-farting unicorn sent your way 😉


  2. I know. Those are so hard. A friend of mine asked me what my current WIP is about and I couldn’t describe it at all without rambling. My husband finally interrupted me and told her. Now if I could just get him to write it down. Good luck to you, Julie. You’ll get it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of my writing sisters did the same thing, asked me to tell her what my WIP was about (a pitch, basically). And I couldn’t nail it down in two sentences, which made me realize how much work I need to do 🙂

      Good luck with yours as well! Then we’ll have to toast with some good wine and chocolate 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t mind the log-line and blurb as much as the synopsis. I have a mental block about putting together a synopsis. Positively dread the wretched things. I know I’ve got one waiting in the wings I need to work on, as my editor will likely come knocking soon.

    I’m crossing my fingers and wishing you luck with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, maybe that’s part of my problem–a mental block. Too bad it isn’t a mental block party; it’d be more fun 😉 Dread is the right word. I’m digging in, though. Good luck with yours!

      Thanks for the luck 🙂 Now, if I could only find one of those rascally leprechauns…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Agh, it’s so hard to boil down all those words and ideas and brilliant concepts into a sentence or two. Good luck! You can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I understand how you feel.
    I, too, have dozens of stories running around in my head, and dozens more and scribbled on pieces of paper, thrown together in a folder. And yet…. what good is it to write if no one wants to read it.
    That’s not entirely true.
    People MIGHT want to read it, but they never will if we don’t find a publisher first. 🙂

    Good luck. I’m holding my thumbs for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie, the easiest way to write the dreaded synopsis is by using your story beats, the skeleton of your novel. Hook, 1st Plot Point, 1st Pinch Point, Midpoint, 2nd Pinch Point, 2nd Plot Point, Climax, Resolution. The All is Lost Moment is optional, but if you have one, include that too. Write a few lines for each beat, then add some color. Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent advice, Sue! Thank you! That’s pretty close to Janice Hardy’s “template”, which is what I try to use because it makes sense to me. It’s the few lines for each beat part I sometimes have trouble with. I’ve got until Thursday to try to get something put together, then I’m off to Madison WI for the conference. Can’t wait!

      PS Wish I could’ve made WPA this year; I’m going to miss Tami Hoag! And you! Alas, I can’t swing more than one writing event a year. Boo. Maybe when I sell my book…

      Liked by 1 person

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