To celebrate the release of the brand-new 2015 Guide to Literary Agents, I am bringing back one of my most popular recurring contests: The “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest. Except this time, it’s hosted on the Writers in the Storm blog. So if you’re looking for an agent and want a big database, check out the book. And if you’ve got a horrible idea for a story, I want to hear about it. Welcome to the “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest—a competition that encourages terrible loglines.
2014 “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest
A logline is a one-sentence line that explains what your story is about and shows the “hook” – the unique idea that makes people want to see more. You see loglines all the time on the back of DVD boxes. Here are some examples:
- “Three middle-aged men defeat their midlife crises by starting a college fraternity.” (Old School)
- “When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an evil emperor, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.” (Gladiator)
- “In a future where criminals are arrested before the crime occurs, a cop struggles on the lam to prove his innocence for a murder he has not yet committed.” (Minority Report)
But that’s all the examples I’m going to give you, because I’m not looking for good examples of a logline; I’m looking for bad examples. Nay – terrible, stupid, “oh-my-gosh-that-idea-REEKS” examples.
(Hi, everyone. Chuck here chiming in for a second. I wanted to say I am now taking clients as a freelance editor. So if your query or manuscript needs some love, please check out my editing services. Thanks!)
Examples of Bad Loglines (Previous Winners/Finalists):
a. “After an unidentified cow swallows an armed nuclear device in a botched Homeland Security raid, Agent Tom Anderson is thrust into an unlikely partnership with buxom organic farmer Daisy Jones to sift through three hundred cows and 10 barns full of manure as the clock runs down in a desperate quest to save Kansas City from a moo-clear disaster.”
b. “A young woman discovers she is half unicorn after farting a rainbow at her bat mitzvah, and must go on a hijinx-filled voyage of self discovery to find her real father and fit as ‘one of the herd.’ “
c. “Leonard the narcoleptic snail sets out on his lifelong dream of running the Boston Marathon while humming ‘Macarena,’ and invites you to join the excitement in real time.”
Here are the rules:
- Stick to the format, but have fun with the idea. You want your logline to be one sentence only and must be 60 words or fewer, and explain what the movie/book is about. It’s what you put in that one sentence that will win you this competition. So the trick is to make your logline a terribly creative idea that’s pitched in a minimal, professional manner. (Please note that about 10% of submissions are disqualified because more than one sentence is submitted. Do not make this mistake.)
- The contest will go until the end of the day, 11:59 p.m., PST, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Submissions received after that will not be considered. Once the contest closes at that point, allow up to the end of November for judging to occur. This post will be updated with the winners’ names by Dec. 1, and all winners will be contacted individually by e-mail.
- I (Chuck) will judge the contest, with some possible input from other Writer’s Digest staffers.
- To participate, simply click on “Comments” at the end of this post and leave your submission as a comment with your full, real name. If you are super paranoid about leaving your full name, abbreviate; use “L. Smith” instead of “Leonard Smith.”
- You can submit up to one logline for free. If you want to submit up to 3 loglines, all you have to do for such eligibility is tweet news of this contest and sharing the URL/link. Here is a sample tweet: Got a hilariously awful idea for a movie or book? Enter the “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest: http://bit.ly/1xe69JI – via @chucksambuchino. Include all entries in the same comment, and put your Twitter handle in the comment (if applicable), as well, so we can see if you tweeted.
- The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W: A Content & E-Commerce Company (formerly F+W Media).
- If you have any questions about the contest, do not leave them in the comments and do not e-mail WITS. E-mail me directly at chuck.sambuchino [at] fwmedia.com
The top 3 winners (no order) receive 1) a critique of either their one-page synopsis or one-page query letter from me; and 2) a copy of either the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents or the 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.
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Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books edits the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog is one of the largest blogs in publishing.
His 2010 humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, was optioned by Sony Pictures. Chuck has also written the writing guides FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT and CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM.
Besides that, he is a freelance book & query editor, husband, sleep-deprived new father, and owner of a flabby-yet-lovable dog named Graham.