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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Cardel

Marching On

Hope springs eternal. What do you get when you cross optimism with persistence? A published writer.

And so, we keep trying.

I finally finished revising my dystopian sci-fi, and my agent will soon be submitting it to publishers. This one started out in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) many years ago and has been through several incarnations. It even won the fiction contest at my region’s SCBWI conference.

Since I’m talking about loglines in my Query Tip today, here’s the logline for this manuscript: When a genetically altered soldier discovers he is uniquely qualified to help destroy the oppressive Regime he just escaped, he must decide if losing the girl he loves, his memories, and possibly his life are worth the risk.

My plot doesn’t lend itself well to the formula I give, but I only modified it slightly by substituting his choice for his goal. The point is to make it intriguing without being too vague or giving away spoilers. Did I accomplish that?


Grammar Tip

It used to be against the rules to put an apostrophe “s” on a word that ends in “s” to show possession. Now it’s a style choice. Both are acceptable. For example: Kansas’s law that forbids screaming in a haunted house would be difficult to keep. OR Kansas' law making it illegal to wear a bee in your hat, wouldn’t be a problem for me to keep.


Query Tip

Agents and editors alike love a good logline. A logline, also known as a hook or pitch, is a one sentence description of your book. Most follow a specific formula: When (inciting incident occurs), a (description of MC) must (MC’s goal) or else (stakes) will happen.

For example, a logline for Beauty and the Beast: When her sick father is kidnapped by a hideous beast, a misunderstood young woman must offer up herself in his place or her father will surely die.

Or Back to the Future: When a young man is transported to the past and accidentally keeps his parents from meeting, he must reunite them, or he may cease to exist.

Or E.T.: When he discovers a friendly alien, a young boy must secretly help it contact its people to keep it from being stuck on Earth and experimented on by government agents.

You want to keep it suspenseful. No spoilers. It should hook them so that they continue to read the rest of your query which will give them more details like the character’s name and age, the setting, and any other relevant details.


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

― Anton Chekhov


Book Reviews

MG Fantasy Adventure

The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull

Kendra and her brother Seth discover that their grandparents are caretakers of a secret preserve of magical creatures. Inside the woods, ancient laws keep peace between the trolls, satyrs, witches, imps, and fairies, but when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed and Kendra and Seth must save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.

So imaginative and fun! I never expected all the twists and turns.


YA Contemporary

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

After spending the summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the negative reactions of those around her.

D. J.'s voice will grab you from page one and it won't let go.


Adult Contemporary (with Christian Supernatural twists)

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

The story of eleven-year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy who has reason to believe in miracles. Along with his sister and father, Reuben finds himself on a cross-country search for his outlaw older brother who has been controversially charged with murder. Their journey is touched by serendipity and the kindness of strangers, and its remarkable conclusion shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates. It is an unforgettable story of outlaws, miracles, and love.


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