One-Line Army

A recent link to the Phase method of novel writing reminded me of the Snowflake method, which in turn led me to remember the log-lines exercise on edittorrent, which, unlike the first two, I actually would do. (I’m just not that methodical–over-outlining or overthinking a story would mean I lose all interest before I ever finish it. This modified snowflake method is probably as far as I could take it, though probably still too detailed and fussy for me.)

So for s&gs, between work, I started doing the log-line exercise. And laughing, because I had a hard time taking it seriously, and ended up filling out the worksheet part a bit facetiously. However, I think I did come up with a few reasonable one-line summaries of the story–which are a bit useful.

I’ll post my favorite two above the cut, and the rest plus the worksheet–which does contain spoilers–below it. If you’ve done the log-lines exercise, or feel like doing it, I’d love to see yours!  If you don’t feel like doing it, feel free to laugh at mine!

Torn from a life of idleness by a magical attack on his family, a merchant’s son must hunt down a mad prince before he can turn the witches of the Shining Empire into his own flesh-hungry army.

Torn from his idle life by a brutal magical attack on his family, ne’er-do-well Taiver must hunt down a mad prince before he can pervert the very nature of magic in the Shining Empire.

Torn from a life of idleness by a magical attack on his family, a merchant’s son must hunt down a mad prince before he twists the witches of the Shining Empire to his own agenda.

An easy payday turns nightmarish as a carefree merchant’s son finds his life turned upside down by a

An easy payday turns nightmarish as a carefree merchant’s son finds himself dragged into a fearsome battle between rogue witches.

When an easy payday turns into a chaotic clash of mad witches and magic, a carefree merchant’s son finds himself in the middle of a fight

When an easy payday turns out to be anything but, a carefree merchant’s son finds himself dragged across the Shining Empire in a quest to save the world.

When a simple retrieval job turns out to involve mad witches and magic, a devil-may-care merchant’s son finds himself in far more trouble than he ever bargained for.

The worksheet:

The protagonist: Rogue heir, would-be scoundrel, devil-may-care merchant’s son, trouble maker and heir to the Beneshkir fortune, carefree scoundrel, malcontent, troublesome heir, reckless heir, irresponsible bastard, adventure-hungry troublemaker, mischief-maker

The goal/reward: To be relieved of his damn responsibilities so he might do whatever he wants; to be free of the expectations of his parents (which he has long decided he will never meet); respect despite all this

The obstacle(s): His family doesn’t believe in letting his sister run the business even though she IS, he then gets dragged off by a mad witch on a crazy adventure which he finds fun despite himself, that insane fool Kennich is trying to give “peace” to witches but really spreading a cult that twists witches into something even worse

The antagonist: the Nerudhan prince, Kennich

Consequence of failure: the world is overrun by witch zealots who want to kill/eat each other and will probably destroy the world thanks to their war

Motive: He’d just like to go home now please. His sister ordered him to go, and there were people coming to arrest him. Also, eventually he makes friends with the crazy witch, and decides it’s probably useful if Kennich didn’t take over the world.

Challenge to self-image: Perhaps there are really things he cares about other than himself and having a good time

Inciting Event: A crazy fool of a witch comes along and blows up his house, accidentally, and then the Imperial army thinks he was involved

Ticking Clock: Kennich is going to convince the Emperor to spread that evil formula all over the Empire if they don’t move fast…

Important steps taken: He decides to help the crazy one, leaving his life and friends behind; he chooses to help the crazy one destroy the corrupted tafil factories even though it means he becomes a refugee from justice; he confronts Kennich

Final reversal : The crazy one seems ready to help Kennich instead of stop him

Outcome: They stop Kennich, but the ideas Kennich preached live on, and despite himself, Taiver decides to help Ellius c

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