Logline Critique 33

Title: CHECKMATE
YA Contemporary/Thriller
15-year-old chess prodigy Priyanka gets on a train going the opposite direction from her next tournament to escape her restrictive life and create a new identity.  But to keep her new life and new friends, she’ll need to stay one step ahead of her overbearing, abusive coach, who has initiated a real-life chess game to get Priyanka back.
 
 
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10 comments

  1. Love the last part about the real-life chess game, sounds interesting! I think you could tighten up the first part. When a 15yo chess prodigy creates a new identity to escape her restrictive life of constant competition, she must stay one step ahead….

  2. hi, your story sounds intriguing! Since it’s a thriller and with a heroine named Priyanka, I’d love to have a sense of where it’s set in the logline.

  3. This sounds like a great story, and I think your logline is strong. Like Rebecca, I’d love a sense of where the action is taking place. I’d also spell out fifteen-year-old (also, I’m not sure how many YA’s feature fifteen-year-olds – 13 to 15 seems to be a dead zone – but I’m not an expert on this).
    Good luck with this one, I look forward to seeing it on shelves!

  4. I like the chess theme which holds the promise of strategy and thinking ahead and this has the universal appeal for teens that are constantly asked “to perform.” Instead of ending by defining why the coach is trying to get her “back, is it a high school tournament? Is this a high school coach or is the protagonist h”aving to play adults?

  5. I like the start of this and where it seems to be going. I would try to be more specific than saying just restrictive. Is it the coach she’s trying to flee or the overall lifestyle? Either way would work fine but maybe give us a hint so we know more clearly what she’s rebelling against. I love the ending with the real-life chess game!

  6. I think deleting “to keep her new life and new friends” might tighten this up and make the punchline stand out more. I like this premise. Good luck!!

  7. This begs to have the country identified. Also, I think you could drop “…create a new identity” since you go on to say, “But to keep her new life and new friends,…” but there are lots of good suggestions above so you may have cracked that nut by now. I love the premise.

  8. As a rule of thumb always spell out numbers less than 100. Also, try not repeating words (the two “new”s) for example. As a person who is in the WCF (World Chess Federation), you hooked me immediately and I don’t normally read these types of books.

  9. I think I’ve read this one before but maybe not…

    You’re close but you need to connect this part “to escape her restrictive life and create a new identity” and the coach. The first part sounds like she’s trying to get away from her parents (because why would she run away from home if she hates her coach?) but then you say it’s her coach who’s trying to get her back, which makes me think he’s the one she needs to get away from. Also, you can’t have two goals. Either she wants to get away (which will achieve a new life) or she wants a new life (which will require that she gets away).

    Finally, if this is all about him, we need a tiny bit of motivation and clarity here, otherwise, I would think she would just quit and be done with it. I like the whole “real life chess game” but it would be stronger if we knew if this is life or death at stake.

  10. Thanks for the notes, everyone. Looking forward to revising this to incorporate your thoughts. And thanks, K. Callard, for hosting this critique!

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