A List of Logline Mistakes

If you think a logline is a sentence that condenses your entire narrative you are missing the mark, and if you think that it only needs to tell enough of the story to perk the interest of the reader you’re no better off.  The way to write a successful logline is to ensure that you communicate the story idea succinctly  and clearly. Importantly you must make the reader visualise the film – instantly.

Easier said than done!

Most aspiring writers struggle to write quality loglines, and in my experience many veteran writers have never mastered the art. Research shows that there is a lot of information (and misinformation) available about how to formulate a logline, and what information must be included when writing one. So I thought I’d take a different angle on it, and share a list of common mistakes that I have collected over the years from various sources.

Of course from this list you’ll also be able to extract what I think you should include in your logline. Good luck…


Bad grammar

It’s a tagline not a logline!

Too much story explanation

Not specific enough

It contains clichés

Not one distinct idea

Sounds like another film

Genre is not clear

World is not clear

Time and place are not clear

Protagonist is not clear

Protagonist’s goal is not clear

Story is not clear

The conflict is not clear

The stakes are not clear

There is a question or unexplained mystery

There is no irony

There is no sense of tone

It uses character names

There is no inciting incident

I left the inciting incident for last, because for me it’s the most important element of a quality logline. Make certain that it’s there.

You are welcome to share your loglines with us in comments – I look forward to seing them.

Richard the Scribe
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  1. Richard Post

    Thanks. Pleased you found it helpful. We do offer classes and Writers Room Workshops, I’ll keep you informed in that regard – also check out our Workshops & Classes pages. There is a Basic Screenwriting series in progress at the moment being held every Saturday morning in Johannesburg in conjunction with the WGSA. I’m hoping that we’ll offer it to writers in Cape Town, Durban and Lesotho early next year.

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