The Acme Instant Logline Generator

All novels need a logline, sometimes also known as a hook line – a single sentence that describes the plot and acts as a sale pitch to agents and publishers.

The form is usually “[Character name], [character description] has to [action] in order to [result].”

The result usually has an emotional content. Hard to winnow your story down to it? Try this. Begin with the logline instead. All you need, in fact, is a six-sided dice. Roll once for each variable and complete the sentence:

1. Roger Dodger the old Codger,
2. Peregrine Hyphen-Hyphen Folderol,
3. Snoot,
4. Adele,
5. Eric,
6. Heinz Dasistwirklicheinesehrdummelangeswortistesnicht von Abernatürlichistesjaabsolutichdenkeso of Sehrgutwerdeichgehenundhöreaufmeinekraftwerkalben,

1. a world-renowned horologist,
2. a rock god,
3. an up-and-coming railway enthusiast,
4. a truck driver specialising in cab-over series Macks,
5. an unemployed random-generator writer,
6. a rodent exterminator,

has to

1. win a challenging drag race
2. build a box-girder bridge with a toothpick
3. write a vampire fan-fic novel
4. learn how to sing and dance
5. cook a souffle
6. defeat the evil Thog monsters from Planet Zil

in order to

1. become the Ruler of the Universe.
2. rescue beloved from certain doom.
3. be home in time for tea.
4. get to Buckingham Palace and receive a knighthood.
5.  audition for ‘America’s Got Talent’.
6. finish up at the beginning again, only better for it.

Have fun.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

22 thoughts on “The Acme Instant Logline Generator

    1. I was thinking of extending it to massive hardback volumes allowing readers to create a fantasy character by random die roll, but I think it’s already been done… 🙂


  1. If Wile E. Coyote taught me anything, it was to never buy anything from Acme!

    How about a Hemingway logline generator (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”)?


  2. Hi Matthew, I recently returned from the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators annual conference, where the topic of loglines came up several times. Your post is the simplest (and most fun) explanation I’ve seen to date. I’d like to reblog this post for the benefit of newer writers, giving you full credit of course. What’s the best way to handle this?


    1. Thanks – glad you liked the post…it’s funny how humour can sometimes force us to nail down the serious core of a concept. And thank you for asking apropos a re-blog. I very much appreciate your courtesy and kindness! So often stuff gets copied without anybody asking first…Please, with my blessing, re-post on your own blog. All I ask is that you link back to my site and credit me – I guess the reblog button will do the trick with a single click (I’ve never used that applet myself).


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