Taglines, part two

Last month at Wordsmith Wednesday – Taglines and Blurbs, we worked on our 30 word tagline. Today, we’re going to work on cutting that in half. Brutal, you say? Perhaps, but next month for this Wordsmith Wednesday we’ll talk about another possible use for it. And after that, you can thank me for the misery I’m putting you through.

Let’s use mine for an example. My 31 word tagline was Finding the body of a nearly nude aristocrat in the park leads Emily to travel from the highest levels of Edwardian society to a notorious club where everything is for sale. Yeah, I know. 31 words. I’m not perfect, but I try.

I’m going to try to cut this down to 15 words. Let’s see how I do. Finding an aristocrat’s body leads Emily to a notorious club where everything is for sale. Yes! A punchy 15 words! Getting to the 30 word limit, more or less, made the 15 word tagline much easier.

I changed the beginning to take out a few words and then removed the middle, leaving the ending alone. That technique might not work using your 30 word tagline, but give it a try. Advice I would give that I didn’t follow in this example was to use strong verbs and get rid of adjectives.

Now, let’s see what you come up with. If you saved your 30 word tagline, include it with your 15 word attempt. Put it in the comments box and we’ll see what we can do to help. Due to an epic server fail last month, we didn’t get to finish the 30 word tagline tries. That won’t happen this month, so bring it on, and we’ll all help each other.

Murder at the Marlowe Club, Kate’s twelfth historical mystery, is coming out soon, and she’s using it for Tagline practice in this column. Out October 15 is Christmas Revels VI, including a Regency romance novella from Kate. Follow her at a site that is new to her but other favorite authors have been using for years. Check it out.

36 responses to “Taglines, part two”

  1. Thanks for this great blog, Kate. I’m off to my long day at day job, but wanted to post my thoughts and my tagline, for help, please.

    Last month, I started here.

    Jilted love is the unknown reason a psychopath seeks revenge against a federal judge’s family, hurling U.S. Marshal Aden Nash into a case that could cost him his heart’s desire.

    And thanks to all the help I received ended here:

    U.S. Marshal Aden Nash’s mission is to stop a psychopath from seeking revenge on the family who stands between him and his heart’s desire.

    Then I thought, this is a romantic mystery, thriller and I should be focusing on the hero and heroine and not the other characters: ie the judges family. So I came up with this for today’s work.

    Journalist Cora Zeigler’s only protection from a revengeful psychopath are her wits and a wounded U.S. Marshal.

    It’s 17 words, but I like the adjectives. I also like ‘her wits’ because I think it shows she’s smart.

    Any suggestions to make it better?

    I’ll check back when I can. Thanks!

  2. I love exercises like these. 🙂 Here’s mine from last month:

    Jenny makes a wish for a “fairy tale Christmas” and wakes up married to a prince – but can she make the enchantment last when she realizes she’s falling for him?

    Now to tighten it down…

    Jenny woke up married to a prince, but can she make the Christmas enchantment last?

    or maybe…

    Jenny’s fairy-tale Christmas wish came true, but can she keep her happily-ever-after?

    • Kate Parker says:

      Combining the two I got
      Can Jenny’s fairy tale Christmas wedding to a prince become a happily ever after?

      I’m not sure it’s an improvement. Anyone have a suggestion?

    • Combining yours and Kate’s, how about something like, Can Jenny’s fairy-tale Christmas wish-come-true become a happily-ever-after? Hmmmm, IDK, I think I like yours better. Fantastic job on tightening it up!

    • Lydia Stevens says:

      Hey Vivi,

      I came up with this quip.

      Happily-ever-after will be happily-never-after if Jenny’s Christmas wish doesn’t come true.

      I’m not sure if these are supposed to be more quirky or as much summarization as possible in 15 words, but this is what popped into my head!

  3. Hi Kate!

    Thanks for the prompt. So last month I posted this and it was exactly 30 words:
    Here is mine. It’s from the third book in my Hell Fire Series. The series premise is Catriona is a demon mercenary working to atone for her sins. She collects the marked souls of the damned in exchange for atonement. She has been thrust into the position of ruling Hell when Satan is on sabbatical.

    Book 3 line:

    Trina, Hell’s co-ruler, races to save the damned from destroying one another in the name of love when Casonova, casts a spell making Hell go head over heels.

    Here is the 15 word line I came up with for this week.

    A love spell over Hell has Trina racing to save the damned from amorous annihilation.

  4. Kate, you’re a whiz at this!

  5. I know I’m late. I’ve been traveling and in meetings, but here is mine from last time:

    A missing girl, a flasher named Doug, and an old flame that refuses to burn out. What else could go wrong on newly sworn-in sheriff Sunshine Vicram’s first day?

    Here is my attempt at tightening:

    A missing girl is just the beginning for Sunshine Vicram on her first day as sheriff.

    The problem is, it doesn’t speak to the humor in the story. Any thoughts are welcome!

  6. Lydia Stevens says:

    I was able to get it to 16 words and do a play on the word heat because in this case it is a double entendre.

    Sheriff Sunshine Vicram cranks the heat with a missing girl, a flasher and an old flame.


    A missing girl, a flasher, and an old flame crank the heat for Sheriff Sunshine Vicram.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to the Blog

The Latest Comments

  • Lydia Stevens: I think where I am struggling with this the most is because Atlantis is typically a lost city, a...
  • Lydia Stevens: I wrote mine two ways, one I’ve had stuck in my head for my pitch on Saturday at a conference...
  • Elizabeth Langston: This is so true! Editors are like readers, they have subgenres and tropes they love–and...
  • Darynda Jones: I have an INCREDIBLE developmental editor who looks over my work before I send it to my publisher....
  • Lydia Stevens: Hi Autumn! Thanks for the post. I love my editor. She is amazing. I would also like to point out, it...