Did you know that a lot of newer books have one-sentence summaries (a.k.a log lines) on the copyright page? I don't know how many books I've been living under, but I only made this discovery a few months ago. Now I check every time.
Let me give you a sampling from some YA books I have in front of me.
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway:
"While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker at the Scooper Dooper, sixteen-year-old Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top Billboard charts."
The Miles Between by Mary Pearson:
"Seventeen-year-old Destiny keeps a painful childhood secret all to herself until she and three classmates from her exclusive boarding school take off on an unauthorized road trip in search of "one fair day."
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:
"In a future North America, where the rules of Panem maintain control though an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districs against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place."
Viola in Reel Life by Adraina Trigiani:
"When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film--her first."
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson:
"A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school."
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson:
"Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friends death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder."
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green:
"Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in his life."
Each of those summaries is only one sentence. It's an amazing thing, isn't it? So, the next time you're trying to write your own log line, check your bookshelf for some examples that will resonate with you.
Here are some articles and how-to tips on writing log lines:
How to Write a Log Line by David Macinnis Gill.
Writing a Logline/The One-Sentence Pitch by the QueryTracker blog.
What Do You Look For in a Logline on Ask a Literary Agent.
How to Write a Logline that Sells on eHow.
And for fun, here is a Random Logline Generator.
Do you have any tips, articles, or blog posts you want to share on log lines? And, if you're feeling up to it, feel free to grab a book or three and post the summary (if it has one) in the comments. I'd love to grow the list of examples and promote authors while we're at it!