Logline Critique 28

Title: How to Flip a Pancake

YA Contemporary

After her mom disappears and September is forced to live with her dumpster-diving aunt in the armpit of Wyoming, she signs up for an invention contest at the high school in hopes of earning enough money to get back home. But she soon discovers that home may be a different place than she thought.
 
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11 comments

  1. I was born and raised in Wyoming, so this logline naturally caught my eye. I love the idea of September (fantastic name!) living with her aunt in Wyoming. While I think we get an immediate sense of some of the aunt’s character with the dumpster diving line, I think you might mention where September was living before she came to Wyoming. This could help show some of the conflict and the stakes when you mention her trying to get home. If “home” is New York that is very different than if it is just across the border in Montana.

    The invention contest is really intriguing, but a little vague. Could you provide a little detail here to grab the reader’s attention? What is her invention? I also think you could make the first sentence into two separate sentences.

    This is my first logline critique, so I hope this is helpful, but I love the setting! If you aren’t from Wyoming yourself and need a reader, I’d be happy to read through it!

  2. I really like the first sentence! I think it gives a good sense of the situation September is in. But the second sentence is a little vague (which I know is hard to avoid in a logline!). If it’s possible to add a little detail about the type of mystery going on at home it will make the logline stronger. What are the stakes/consequences if she finds out what’s going on or can’t figure it out? Obviously something’s going on because her mom disappears, but from this we have no idea what it could be (Abduction? Crime? Ran away from something in her past that’s catching up to her? You get the idea). Good luck!

  3. Oooh, I love this already, if for no other reason than it’s starring a teenage girl inventor! I’d love a little more focus on that aspect: is she only entering the contest to get the money, or is she a techie/inventor generally? What does she invent and does it signify elsewhere in the plot? And ‘home is a different place than she thought’ could be interpreted in two different ways: (1) there are secrets that challenge her memories/concepts of home; (2) home is literally a different geographical location than she thought. Clarify? Good luck!

  4. There is a lot to love here – great, humorous details like “dumpster-diving aunt” and “armpit of Wyoming”. I agree with the comment above, it’s cool to see an inventor girl as an MC. Perhaps to add specifics, you could say what invention she enters in the contest (e.g., she enters her solar powered pancake flipper in the high school contest- her invention might tell us more about her). Also, please include more specifics about home. What makes it “different”? Is her goal that she wants to get home or that she wants to get her mom back, and the situation at home gets in the way?
    Good luck! I’m working on specifics too.

  5. I agree with the other commenters. Your first line is gold: so much voice – which is crucial for YA Contemporary – but your second line is vague. I also agree that knowing whether September (awesome name btw) is an inventor already, or just grasping at straws with the contest, will tell us more about her character (as would her invention). If your final line means what I think (she realizes home is with her aunt), then you’re giving away your ending – and not giving us a reason to read the book. What if you focussed on the stakes of the contest? “If September can’t come up with a prize-winning invention, she might never get back home and find out what happened to her mom?” – You could use those stakes whether she’s always been an inventor or just hoping to win.
    Hope this helps. It definitely sounds like it’ll be an interesting book.

  6. I think your first sentence has a lot of good stuff going on. I would try to break it up a little. How does the mom disappear? Does she just leave or is she kidnapped? The second sentence is a little vague. I like the dumpster-diving aunt. I like the thought of an invention contest but I wonder if she has any talent in that direction? Maybe give a hint of that if she does. I wonder how the home would have changed if no one is there. A lot of good stuff here, just need to have some of the details fleshed out more.

  7. Thank you all. I knew that second sentence wasn’t cutting it–I just didn’t know how to fix it. You all have given me great direction. Thank you! 🙂

  8. This is a book I would read, but I agree with the comments above. I’d repeat what they said, but then I’d feel silly. (Unless you want to pretend that I was the first to read your logline and then I could spell it all out and feel smart and insightful! )

  9. I don’t understand the motivation of her goal. If her mom disappeared, shouldn’t her goal be to find her and not to go back home? The first is supposed to incite the second, but that’s not happening here. Aside from that, we need more clear stakes as well as some kind of obstacles. Good luck!

    • I appreciate you so much taking the time to comment, Holly. I’m sure you are very busy, but if you have a minute to spare, I was wondering if you could see if this is any better?

      When September’s mom takes off (again), and she’s forced to live with her dumpster-diving aunt, she desperately tries to earn her way home—whether her mom’s there or not—by joining the school invention contest. She and club president, Wyatt, invent an “automatic pancake flipper,” and begin to fall for each other. But if he learns about the life she’s so ashamed of, surely his feelings will automatically flip—just like pancakes.

  10. The title of the book isn’t tied any way to the log line. When looking at any book, I look at the title. How does it come in? Although it may not be apparent, there should be a hint as to why the book is named what it is.

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