How to Write Better Loglines to Interest Producers and Book Buyers


Are you a screenwriter looking for that big break by having your script produced? Or are you a writer looking to get your book published and who needs a great logline? Then consider the many components you must master. And while mastering them, use them in a sentence or two to pitch to book buyers or producers. This article is geared at this usage, that is, it aims to show how to write better loglines.

A logline is a lean one- or two-sentence summary of your book, screenplay, or film. Its goal is to capture the basics of your story and ping the curiosity of buyers. Producers are busy, and when they hear many pitches and read many loglines that allude to ho-hum scripts, they readily pass on them. 

Your logline, then, must not bore them. Make your logline stand out by using strong, active verbs, and by avoiding clichés.

What exactly does a logline do? Glad you asked. It packs a lot of information in one sentence, which typically comprises 25 to 50 words. The logline does these things:

  1. Introduces your main character 
  2. States your character's goal
  3. Identifies the main conflict
  4. Tells what's at stake

All of the above must fit into one (sometimes two) sentence. There is an art to this. In addition, the logline must interest a producer. Examples of loglines are given later in this article.

However, before you learn how to write better loglines, you’ll need to become skilled at creating a high concept. This is also known as a premise. 

Learn How to Write Better Loglines by 
Understanding the High Concept

Female movie producer

A high concept is a story idea that captivates a reader or producer. This concept promotes excitement, a wow moment. The idea may be an old one with a fresh, unique twist. It’s an attention grabber that starts the mind to imagine the story. It involves the emotions. 

Commercial book businesses and film and television industries thrive on the concept:

In filmmaking, the term “high concept” refers to a type of movie with a simple yet compelling premise. Typically, a high-concept film has the chance of mass audience appeal.

High-concept films are heavily plot-driven, and their high-stakes nature generates immediate interest from the audience. High-concept films usually have a central idea writers and producers can summarize quickly to communicate the project to financial backers and the audience. (MasterClass)

A concept tells us what the story is about. A high concept or story idea will appeal to producers for them to make a film that will delight an audience.

MasterClass has more to say about high-concept films.

How to Write Better Loglines Using
Examples of High Concept Ideas

High concept idea

The art of crafting an appealing logline is crucial as producers often face time constraints and prefer summaries that quickly ignite their curiosity and show potential for a gripping story. However, it starts with the premise or concept, the idea. This idea is a hook, and as stated above, must be compelling. 

Here are some examples of high concepts (hooks):

  • What if snakes somehow escaped inside an airplane? (Snakes on a Plane)
  • What if a billionaire discovered he could bring dinosaurs back to life through DNA found in amber? (Jurassic Park)
  • What if a scientist made a man from human body parts and brought him to life? (Frankenstein)

Books and films are not all made from high concepts, but having one helps tremendously. A high-concept story may be one that is hard to believe can happen. It is doubtful that snakes on a plane will happen. That’s what makes it so intriguing.  

Your premise or concept serves as an irresistible hook, making producers stand up and listen. 

How to Write Better Loglines Using Examples of 
High Concepts With Critical Components

Man understanding loglines

Image created with Tai and Canva

A logline represents a high concept because it may be difficult to imagine it happening in real life or it has wide audience appeal. Also, note that a high-concept idea does not always mean the genre is science fiction or fantasy. 

For instance, the high-concept movie, The Silence of the Lambs, released in 1991, is considered by some to be a blend of horror and crime drama. It is also depicted as a psychological thriller: 

A young, female FBI trainee must befriend a notorious incarcerated psychopath and use his knowledge to track and stop an active serial killer before his latest victim is murdered.

The Silence of the Lambs’ premise approaches the waters of unbelievability. Notwithstanding, we can see how it would have wide audience appeal. It starts the mind to ask questions to which it wants answers. The logline has the wow factor. Right?

The premise or concept is the basis of the logline. Below is a logline I created. The high concept is: What if people's heads are becoming transparent, making their thoughts visible?

It’s brief, clear, has a strong hook, denotes the genre, and should have mass audience appeal. Next, we will need to focus on four critical components in keeping with how to write better loglines. As stated previously, with a little expansion on the components, these are:

  1. Know your main character. What makes him/her interesting and relatable?
  2. What is the protagonist's goal? There must be something the protagonist wants badly. 
  3. Why is his/her goal important? It could be a matter of life or death.
  4. Who is trying to interfere with the central character achieving his/her goal? Your antagonist creates the conflict that powers your narrative. 

Here’s an example of a logline I wrote:

Scientist Charmaine Morgan must find a way to stop people’s heads from becoming transparent because the dystopian regime has been able to read their thoughts.

Female scientist

You do not have to name your protagonist in the logline. You can just say a female scientist, if you want. Here, I chose to give her a name.

1. Dr. Morgan is our main character (protagonist). She’s a scientist.

2. Her goal is to stop people’s heads from becoming transparent. 

3. If she fails her mission, there are serious implied consequences from the dystopian government.

4. The dystopian regime (antagonist) needs this transparency to read people’s thoughts for nefarious objectives.

Practice writing loglines starting with the high concept and in keeping with the four critical components. Study the loglines of books and films to master the process. Undoubtedly, you will have several drafts of your logline, as most writers do. Keep perfecting it until it becomes a stand-out.

These techniques used in learning how to write better loglines will catch the attention of book buyers and movie producers. Loglines are not just summaries but invitations for them to ask for your manuscript or screenplay. Make them eager to discover fresh and engaging worlds that you have encapsulated in the essence of your story. Of course, you must have a dynamite manuscript or screenplay at the ready to back up your amazing logline.

All images created with Tai unless otherwise indicated

“High-Concept Movies: How to Write High-Concept Screenplays.” Arts & Entertainment, MasterClass, 23 Feb. 2023,