The Ink Well Writing Prompts: 50 Story "Loglines"


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Hello all community members and guests in The Ink Well! This post contains 50 story "loglines" to fuel your writing adventures and help you think in creative ways about characters, scenarios, conflicts and interesting resolutions. These will also be your story idea resource for The Ink Well Summer 2021 Short Story Contest.

In case you're not familiar with our community, The Ink Well is a Hive blockchain-based social media community of creative writers. If you love to write short stories, we invite you to join us. Or peruse the work of our community members.

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Our community rules are designed to make our community a safe, welcoming, plagiarism-free space for self-publishing original short stories.

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About Loglines

Loglines are traditionally from screenwriting, but now they are used to provide a "teaser" for all kinds of creative works.

A logline differs from a story prompt, which could be a word, a color, an image, an idea or a few sentences designed to prime the pump of creativity.

By contrast, loglines are nearly always one-sentence briefs of what a story is about — characters, scenario and conflict. They were created as a method for enticing an editor to read the screenplay or story. But in our case, we're going to use them as story prompts!

There are many resources that describe the elements of a logline.

Here's a common and simple description of the structure of a logline from Studiobinder:

A logline, or log line, is a brief (one to two sentence) summary of a movie, tv show, etc. that hooks the reader in and describes the central conflict of the story.

And here's another from Filmdaily:

A logline tells the essence of your story, stimulating excitement without giving the full story away. A good logline consists of three major elements: the character, the character’s goal and the obstacle to overcome. You need a logline to develop and market your story.

We hope you have fun with these! If you ever want to create your own, you can use a logline generator.

50 Short Story Loglines

You can use any of these if you are participating in our contest, or feel free to use any of them to fuel your imagination anytime!

Note: You do not need to keep the names provided. You can change them to anything you want in your own story.

  1. The mafia in a mid-sized town in Ohio is known simply as “Panettone,” which creates havoc, as this is also the name of the local bakery.
  2. Two sisters in their 70s, who have never traveled before, take a trip to see their parents’ childhood home halfway across the world, only to discover their parents were not who they thought they were.
  3. Amanda begins the search for her birth parents, who abandoned her on the steps of a police station 20 years before, and finally learns the bizarre circumstances of her birth.
  4. Two people whose spouses cheated on them (with each other) meet for dinner, and each has something startling to reveal.
  5. A genius college student must choose between academic success and an addiction that started as a way to handle stress before getting out of control.
  6. Two people pass on the street, but then stop and turn back to look at one another, as they have crossed paths before… under dire circumstances.
  7. A couple that has grown weary of trying to overcome fertility problems, adopts a little boy named Jimmy… but there is something very odd about little Jimmy.
  8. Mama Cecilia is the best chef in town, until Mama Rosa opens her restaurant down the street and a culinary customer-stealing battle ensues.
  9. The old shuttered house is known to be haunted, but only the elderly in town know the story behind it, and what can be done to stop it from driving everyone mad who enters the house.
  10. As grapes shrivel in the sun in the worst heat and drought Italy has ever seen, an enterprising farmer invents a way to make rain, never suspecting the sequence of terrible events that will ensue from toying with nature’s already upset balance.
  11. When two boys use a metal detector on the beach, they have no idea that what they pull from beneath the sand will have global implications.
  12. They call Charlie “the closer” because he is often brought in to pitch when the bases are loaded and everything is at stake; but the stress of mental preparation is turning him into a zombie… literally.
  13. Henry meets his fairy godmother at a bus stop, but doesn’t believe she is who she says she is until she jumps on a bus and rides away, then realizes something she did or said indicates she was telling the truth… and he just lost his chance to get his life wish granted.
  14. When bots start to take over the Internet and bring information networks and financial transactions to a standstill worldwide, only one autistic teenage boy knows how to stop it; unfortunately he is non-verbal and his intelligence is completely misunderstood by everyone except his sister.
  15. A man walks into a bar… in a ghost town; bizarrely, the place is packed and the atmosphere is hostile.
  16. During the Gold Rush, a man named Gordon Hutch sells maps to veins of gold in the mountains, until people figure out he’s a scoundrel and call for a lynching.
  17. Nothing ever happens in the town of Smallsville, until the day the traveling circus comes to town, and the house of mirrors they set up changes the town forever.
  18. A young girl sneaks out of bed the night before Christmas, in the hopes of spying on Santa, but from her hiding place in a closet she sees something else entirely… and retains the secret for 20 years until revealing it to her therapist.
  19. A boy with two mothers, instead of a mother and father, is taunted at school until one day both of his mothers join the class on a school field trip and the kids are amazed by something incredible the moms share with them which wins them over.
  20. A career criminal finds posts from people on Facebook who are going on vacation and burglarizes their homes while they are traveling, until one fateful day.
  21. A man committed to living most of his time in nature sees a unicorn on one of his lengthy sojourns, and must decide whether to tell anyone since it’s likely no one will believe him.
  22. The teddy bears at the picnic have no idea they are stuffed animals, until Betsy prevents her mean brother from pulling their stuffing out.
  23. An old woman who is evicted from her home by her landlord for keeping dozens of cats, warns him that terrible things will happen when the clock strikes midnight on the next full moon night.
  24. Captain Mick realizes that the AI system on his spaceship has been compromised by a computer virus, and he must find a way to outsmart it and save the crew.
  25. A frustrated father at his wits’ end takes his very bratty daughter on a hot air balloon ride for her 16th birthday, and it takes them to another world where survival depends upon complete collaboration.
  26. When George Washington crossed the Delaware, a (fictional) drummer boy recorded the highlights, and nearly died in the freezing cold.
  27. Coral hears monsters under her bed, discussing her demise, and comes up with a way to thwart their plan.
  28. A couple in Nazi Germany who have been hiding Jews in their basement suddenly realize that their neighbors are spying on them.
  29. An enterprising inventor develops a way to deal with the world’s garbage by converting all of it to compost, but his invention is stolen by someone who wants to use the idea for a money-making scheme.
  30. The workers go on strike in the shipping and receiving department of a large company — all except Sam, whose father always taught him never to quit when the going gets tough — but in this case it makes things much worse.
  31. One Saturday morning, when a cross-country team goes for their weekly training run together, their members start disappearing… and the explanation for it is chilling.
  32. When Amy’s father, who suffers from dementia, wanders away from home and the police fail to find him, the clues for where he may have gone take her into the roughest part of town.
  33. A very powerful religious leader predicts the end of the world by a certain date, and when it becomes clear that it won’t come true and he will be a laughing stock, he sets about ensuring that his prediction will come to pass.
  34. In 2060, when people are taking pleasure trips to the moon, two people meet on the spaceship back home and discuss everything they saw, then realize they each was shown what they wanted to see.
  35. After Eloise wins the lottery, suddenly long lost relatives come back into her life, either with their hands out or with bossy suggestions about how to manage the money.
  36. Four people are on a raft that is sinking, and they must find a way to survive.
  37. A young girl meets Elvis at a party, and she believes they are meant to be together, especially when he tells her she is the most beautiful girl he has ever met… but it all changes when the party is over.
  38. When two boys are walking through a corn field, they see a scarecrow… and realize it is walking ominously toward them.
  39. An aging couple discovers something terrible about one another on their 40th wedding anniversary and they must then decide whether they can stay married.
  40. A small group is riding in an elevator to the 13th floor of an office building when one of them presses the emergency stop button and shouts, “You will all do as I say!”
  41. A young woman pretends to be seeing her ex-boyfriend’s best friend just to make him jealous, and it goes way wrong.
  42. A teacher with an unruly class comes up with a new way to get the students’ attention, which involves wild animals.
  43. A man crawls through a desert looking for water and when he is near death and about to give up, he sees an amazing oasis and is saved by a fantastic creature there… for a price.
  44. When some children come upon an abandoned shack, they think it’s the best imaginable fort; the only trouble is what they find inside.
  45. A beautiful but ruthless princess holds her fairy godmother hostage, and tries to force the FG to make her queen; but the fairy godmother has some tricks up her sleeve.
  46. Lois works at the post office and collects information from everyone who comes in; during a dry spell in town gossip, she starts making stuff up… which breaks up a marriage and causes trouble around town.
  47. A woman who has been estranged from her domineering mother for 20 years, fights through anger to go to her mother's deathbed to forgive her, but it’s more complicated than she imagined.
  48. A young woman, aware that her younger “special” brother is being bullied, finds a way to free him from torment, knowing she will ultimately go to jail.
  49. When a homeless street musician is hit by a bus and laid up in the hospital, a professional violinist who loves his music takes his place to help pay his costs… and learns something incredible about the street musician’s life.
  50. A boy feels a “calling” and runs off to join the circus, then finds that all the actors, clowns and acrobats know his father, the investment banker, very well.

Have fun!

We look forward to reading your stories!

@jayna, @agmoore and @gracielaacevedo

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