Foundations of Storytelling – #Loglines – #Blurbs by Sean Carlin


Screenwriter/author, Sean Carlin wrote this gem of an article on Loglines. He states in his informative post that successful stories should emerge from a logline (elevator pitch) and outlined around the logline. This is a fascinating post from the always informative and articulate Sean, who is as generous with this replies to comments with nuggets of worthy information as he is with his succinct and in-depth posts on the various aspects of writing. Sean breaks down each stage of writing beautifully with examples.


This is the first post in an occasional series.

With the Second World War looming, a daring archaeologist-adventurer is tasked by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant—a Biblical artifact of invincible power, lost for millennia in the desert sands of Egypt—before it can be acquired by the Nazis.

On Christmas Eve, an off-duty police officer is inadvertently ensnared in a life-or-death game of cat-and-mouse in an L.A. skyscraper when his wife’s office party is taken hostage by a dozen armed terrorists.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, a resort-island sheriff finds himself in deep water—literally—when his beach is stalked by an aggressive great white shark that won’t go away.

All of the above story concepts should sound familiar—that’s why I chose them.  Yes, Raiders of the Lost ArkDie Hard, and Jaws are all popular—now classic—works of commercial cinema.  But they are also excellent exemplars of storytelling at their most basic, macrostructural levels, as demonstrated by the catchy summaries above, known in Hollywood as “the logline.”


The logline is a sales pitch:  In a single compact sentence, it conveys the protagonist (respectively:  the adventurous archaeologist; the off-duty cop; the beach-resort sheriff), the antagonist (the Nazis; the terrorists; the shark), the conflict and stakes (possession of the Ark for control of the world; the confined life-and-death struggle; the destruction of a man-eating leviathan), the setting (1930s Egypt; an L.A. skyscraper at Christmas; a summer resort), and the tone/genre (action/adventure; action-thriller; adventure/horror).  You can even reasonably glean the Save the Cat! category of each:

  • Raiders as Golden Fleece (Subgenre:  “Epic Fleece”)
  • Die Hard as Dude with a Problem (“Law Enforcement Problem”)
  • Jaws as Monster in the House (“Pure Monster”)

A cogent synopsis like any of the above allows a prospective buyer to “see” the creative vision for the movie, ideally triggering the three-word response every screenwriter longs to hear:  “Tell me more.”

Note what isn’t included in the logline:  The names of any of the characters.  Thematic concerns.  Emotional arcs.  Subplots.  Descriptions of particular set pieces.  That’s the “tell me more” stuff, and none of it is necessary—it is, in fact, needlessly extraneous—for the “elevator pitch,” so called for the brief window one has to hook to an exec before he steps off onto his floor (read:  loses interest).  The point of a logline is to communicate the story’s most fundamental aspects, and to capture what’s viscerally exciting about the premise. . . Continue Reading at Sean’s blog


Note: Don’t forget to read the comments under Sean’s article, they are also filled with tips.


Source: Foundations of Storytelling, Part 1: The Logline as Both a Sales and Writing Tool




Writer’s Tips – Best Book Promo Sites, Book Design, Writing Exercises and More!

Welcome to this month’s edition of Writer’s Tips with a great list of book promo sites, Writing exercises, How to pitch the media, How to choose a book narrator, Designing your book covers and more!


Best sites for Book Promotion by David Gaughran

Source: Best Book Promo Sites in 2020 | Sell More Books | David Gaughran


24 Fantastic writing ideas to get the creativity flowing

24 of the Best Writing Exercises to Become a Better Writer


Comparables: Where Does Your Book Fit In? Searching for book comparisons by Carol Balawyder


Three items writers dread – writing the blurb, synopsis and logline by Mae Clair at the Story Empire



My friend Doris Heilmann of 111 Publishing is sharing secrets from editors about how they want to be pitched and what makes them choose accept or reject

How the Media Wants to be Pitched



Also by Doris Heilmann, what you need to know about narrating your own audio books.

DIY Narrating and Audiobook Production



Nicholas Rossis shares the Kindlepreneur’s instruction on how to make a book cover


Authors Publish featuring 8 pieces of writing advice from some of the legends

8 Lessons From Legendary Authors That Will Improve Your Writing





Writer’s Tips -7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog, Loglines, Promotion Opportunies

Tips for Writers


Today in Writer’s Tips I’m sharing a few worthy articles for bloggers and authors offering some valuable tips from blogging to book writing to editing and promotion.



Hugh Roberts with 7 helpful tips to look for before following a new blog:

Source: 7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog – Hugh’s Views & News



Many self-publishing authors dread the costly editing process – which is a big mistake.  It might cost them not only readers but a valuable reputation as a marvelous writer. Often, authors a…

Source: Finding the Perfect Editor for Your Books | Savvy Book Writers



Would you like to be interviewed? Colleen is generously offering writers to submit your answers and be interviewed on her blog – The Fairy Whisperer. Free promotion!



Are you using Windows 10? If so, you will want to read this article about the upcoming HUGE Windows update coming to a computer near you!



Expert advice from Kristen Lamb on how to condense your entire book into one attention-grabbing logline.

The Log-Line: Can You Pitch Your ENTIRE Story in ONE Sentence?



Three famous writers share their experience on the writing and editing process.

3 Famous Writers on Process and Productivity

Writer’s Links: Practical Tips for #Writers

Tips for Writers

This week’s share of helpful links for writers I’ve come across in my reading.


Don’t delete your unused writing!

Old manuscripts sit gathering dust in your writing archives. NYT bestseller Ruth Harris has practical tips for reviving those abandoned books, at the blog of Anne R. Allen

Source: Practical Tips for Finding New Opportunities in Your Old Manuscripts



Great tips from Jane Dixon-Smith on book covers. Incidentally, Jane is the cover designer for my first two books – Conflicted Hearts and Words We Carry

5 Top Tips to Create a Book Cover that Sells : JD Smith



Editor Jeri Walker with some excellent tips on learning how to self-edit.




Guest Author and Blogger Feature – Marsha Ingrao on Journaling

Guest Featured Author

I’m excited to have over here today, friend, author, retired teacher, and blogger extraordinaire Marsha Ingrao. Marsha offers excellent insights on her 2 blogs. offers blogging tips, author interviews, blogging challenges, as well as an excellent series on book reviews. Marsha also runs a blog where she shares her travel reviews and photos on some of the many places she’s traveled to, as well as sharing her pet projects raising funds for her Woodlake community.

I invited Marsha over today to talk about the different methods of journaling. We thought it was an appropriate post because I do much of my writing from journals where my thoughts and books begin. So without further ado, I’ll let Marsha take it away . . .


Ways to Journal

You can call it a journal or a diary. Either way, in the 21st century there are two ways keep track of your thoughts, online or offline. Both have their advantages. This post will discuss the time-honored handwritten journal. The next post will explore the differences in an online journal.

 Journaling by Marsha Ingrao


Handwritten Journals Show Specific Benefits

Research shows that the kinesthetic act of writing aids learning. Writing by hand slows a person’s raging thoughts and makes the writer focus on what is essential. Many journalists use a personal shorthand, which engages a different section of the brain. Others include drawings which activate additional cognitive processes.

A 2005 study shows that the act of writing a journal has mental health benefits as well. It does not lessen the seriousness of the situation a person goes through, but it does help to put their troubles into perspective.

UCLA researcher, Matthew D. Lieberman told the Guardian  that “”writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally.” Even writing bad poetry or songs, writing by hand made the calming effects of journaling more effective. He also said that “men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more than women, and writing by hand had a bigger effect than typing,” Dr. Lieberman said,

A  2014 study found that individuals who journal a form of narrative focused on positive outcomes in adverse situations reduces stress. In a 2010 study, Briana Murnahan from Eastern Michigan University also conducted a study on the results of journaling and found that diaries and journals both helped people reduce stress, but men were more likely to keep a journal, which is less private.

Handwritten Journal Basics

  1. Bound journals don’t get lost as easily. They are available in all sizes and prices with and without clasps and a ribbon bookmark
  2. Include the date of each entry.
  3. Leave the first few pages blank to write in a table of contents or index of pages you want to revisit
  4. Leave the first few pages unmarked for frequently used information like sign in codes, birthdates, (coded, of course)
  5. Use the inside covers or back few pages for lists.  This might include books you’ve read, new people you meet, prayer requests, anything you might want to add to as you work through your journal.
  6. Write a page number on at least every other page.
  7. Don’t worry about form, grammar, or neatness.
  8. Review it.
  9. Keep it handy.

In the next post in this series discover how keeping a blog or an online journal differs from a handwritten one and how you can use both effectively.


Thank you so much Marsha for being my guest here today and for sharing your wonderful insights on the many reasons to keep a journal. I know I’m looking forward to your follow up post – on Online Journaling and would be thrilled to host it here too. 🙂



Marsha Ingrao


Before becoming a consultant in history and English language-arts, Marsha Ingrao taught grades K-5 for many years. Marsha journaled to work through the tragedy of her first marriage, which ended in the death of her husband at the age of forty-seven from a rare genetic disease. Encouraged by doctors not to have children, she whined to her journal as she also kept it crammed with lesson plans, poetry, news, prayer requests, drawings, Bible studies, and lists.


She retired in 2012, wrote Images of America, Woodlake, blogs, and volunteers in her community through several service organizations.  She and her second husband live in the foothills of California with their dog, Kalev and two cats.


Connect with Marsha on Social Media:

FB Page: 
Twitter: @MarshaIngrao
Google +: 

Check out Marsha’s books:

Woodlake – Images of America

Sign up for Marsha’s newsletter HERE and receive a free copy of her book – So you think you can blog?

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Guest feature – The Kindlepreneur – Dave Chesson On How Outlining Boosts Confidence

Guest Featured Author


I was ecstatic when the Kindlepreneur – Dave Chesson asked me if he could guest post on my blog today. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dave, he’s known as the Kindlepreneur. His website is a wealth of information for Indie authors where he covers everything Self-Publishing.


Dave Chesson Kindlepreneur

Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


At Dave’s site you will find information on everything from writing, to book covers to great places where to promote your books. Here’s just a sampling of what you will find there:


Find out which Print On Demand Amazon platform is better: KDP Print or CreateSpace. In this in-depth analysis, we found out which one is the best. [UPDATED]…



[easy-social-share] You’d be amazed at how many websites have pirated or claim to have pirated your book. There it is…



Learn everything about creating a bestselling book cover design including book cover design tools, tips, tricks and even design services. …



Get your book to show up in front of the right market and the right time with these two international book link services both free and paid….





Check out Dave’s website for tons of great information


How Outlining Boosts Confidence


It can be tempting to sit down to a new writing project and just let the words pour out.


After all, isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? A pure, free-flowing act of creativity unstifled by any form of restraint?


At first, I believed this. I felt any form of plotting or outlining was antithetical to the purity of creation. I felt that it was somehow ‘nobler’ or ‘truer’ to write without restriction.


The trouble was, it just didn’t work! I eventually ended up stuck too many times, and had too many half-written projects just sitting on my hard drive without a hope of being finished.


I’ve since come to believe that outlining or plotting is often the right way to go. It’s massively helped my writing confidence and productivity and I’m going to share the hows and whys with you today.


Even Famous Authors Outline

One of the major stumbling blocks that held me back from outlining was the belief that it was somehow amateurish to do so. I felt that ‘real writers’ wouldn’t need an outline and therefore I shouldn’t either.


Turns out, I was simply shooting myself in the foot, and all under false pretences! Many authors that I read and admire outline their work.


For example, JK Rowling, arguably the most successful author of the modern era, outlined the Harry Potter stories meticulously. You can see her handwritten outlines here. Outlining was also used by Joseph Heller and Sylvia Plath to help produce some of their greatest work.


When you come to the realization that many of your heroes outline, it turns what can feel like a wrong way of working into a way of standing on the shoulders of giants.


So how exactly should we outline, and how does it help our work to do so?

Creative Time Travel

There are many different ways of outlining and it’s worth considering different options before settling on any one method. You can simply write a list of summaries for each key chapter or event in your work, follow a formal method such as the snowflake method which lets you expand the core idea of your work into something more complex, or challenge yourself to summarize your entire planned work in a freely written paragraph.


No matter the outlining method you use, you will end up with a big-picture view of your work, and this brings a number of benefits.

  • Having a big-picture view of your work can help with the scheduling of your project. If you have an overview of what you will be writing, you can determine how much time to allocate to the project.
  • Outlining allows you to perform what I think of as ‘creative time travel’. By this, I simply mean that you can zoom back and forth chronologically in your work. If you get stuck at a particular point, you can move forward or back in time, and work on a different section.
  • Outlining can increase motivation. If you write without an outline, there is no clear path of progression. With an outline, you have clearly defined next steps to complete, which can increase your drive to finish them.


Outlining can also help you in ways outside of the obvious pragmatic benefits explained here. Contrary to my expectations, I’ve actually found outlining helps me to be more creative and expressive, as I’ll now explain.

A Ticket Out Of Your Comfort Zone


If you’re anything like me, you’re not short on ideas and dreams for your writing. There are a million and one things I’d love to write. The problem isn’t so much a matter of ‘what’ as it is a matter of ‘how’.


I like to think of outlines as recipes that can be followed to cook up delicious writing. You can add your own ingredients and spice things up your own way, but you have the confidence of following a proven formula that has worked for other writers.


Using the outlining methods of famous writers is almost like having a reassuring guide with you as you work. It can remove a lot of the self-doubt and hesitation that comes with trying a new style of writing without a blueprint.


If you are comfortable doing so, you can download a template for your work, and use it with your favorite writing software. My personal pick for this way of working is Scrivener. I love using Scrivener templates in order to access the structures successfully used by others.


You can also do this without any particular technological requirements. Simply find a way of outlining that sounds useful to you, and jot down the steps. As you work, follow the notes you have made. Simple, but very effective.


Outlining Final Thoughts


Hopefully you now see how outlining has helped famous writers produce their best work, how it’s helped me overcome my own creative struggles, and how it can help your own work.


In summary, outlining is a tool used by respected, successful authors, there are outlining methods to suit any taste, and outlining can be a high or low-tech affair depending on your own personal preference.


Next time you are feeling stuck or uninspired, consider outlining. It just might be the best way to let your creativity flow.



“Dave Chesson teaches advanced book marketing ideas at He is passionate about helping authors find the best ways to share their work with the world.”




Dave Chesson
Kindle Marketing Jedi,
Check out my latest Software: |


Please note this post was re-written (to the best of my ability) and re-published today, originally published Tues. Aug. 29th due to today’s crash of my computer, courtesy of WordPress. I appreciate if you would reshare as the original post’s links are now dead and will be a 404 page. So please overlook what will look like double posts for those who subscribe to my weekly notifications.