September 26, 2013

Book Review: Finding the Core of Your Story

"How to strengthen and sell your story in one essential sentence."
Author: Jordan Smith

I’ve been studying the world of fiction publishing and marketing for long enough to have heard plenty about the importance of a good logline—or elevator pitch, or whatever you want to call it. But recognizing your need for one and actually writing one are two very different ballgames.
Until Jordan Smith contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to review his book for him, I’d never seen or even heard of a book dedicated solely to the construction of a good logline. But that’s exactly what Finding the Core of Your Story is: a step-by-step, how-to guide to writing a logline sure to catch the interest of potential publishers, agents, and readers.
Even if you’re new to the writing and publishing thing and you’re not even sure what a logline is, that’s okay. The author starts out with a straightforward explanation of the concept and purpose. From there he builds on with basic logline templates, then expands even further with concept ideas for using tools like irony, intersecting plot threads, conflict, and even a chapter dedicated to giving characters individual loglines. Even if you’re like me and your story has 14+ plot threads tangled together, don’t worry. Read the chapter “Untangling the Threads of Your Story.” Frustrated with trying to convey the uniqueness of your characters and/or story world in just one concise sentence? Read the chapters “Tickle Me with Your Adjective Feather” and “In a World Where…”
Even if you’re not to the point of needing to pitch your book to editors/agents/publishers yet, a logline is still a great tool to have on hand. Just this week I wrote a logline for the project I’m tackling in NaNoWriMo this year. Doing so has helped me figure out the characters and their motivations, as well as give me a core idea to focus on.
I could go on, but I’m sure you’re starting to get the idea.
The thing that really made this book super helpful and the logline writing process make so much sense were the examples the author used. Rather than just telling you to “find what makes the situation the most ironic and capture that in your logline,” he actually shows you how by writing loglines from real movies and books. For someone like me, who learns best by example, it was a huge help.
And if you’re writing one of those exceptional stories—you know, the ones that defy all the models and break all the rules—he’s got you covered there, too, not only with formats for handling those unique situations, but with great guidelines for highlighting just exactly what it is that makes your story so unique.
The author has a fun, conversational voice and a humorous approach—complete with generous doses of hilarious writers-only humor—that made this a delightful read.

Those of you who’ve been hanging around here at the Lair for awhile will have read enough of my reviews to know that I don’t just rave over any old book. But this is one of those special times when I am totally comfortable raving. : P
I whole-heartedly endorse this resource. Every writer—whether experienced or aspiring—should own a copy. Mine has become one of the two most-used books in my writing resource library, no joke.
Click Here to order Finding the Core of Your Story from Amazon!

I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my review, but was under no obligation to review it favorably. My opinions are my own.


  1. I've heard SO much about this book! I'm seriously considering buying it.


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