This is kind of a first for me but I feel like I stumbled onto something great... because log lines can get you on track when you are stuck. When you don't know what direction you are going in. Log lines are one sentence (maybe cheating with two) premises of your stories.
It took me all of fifteen minutes today to write up nine of my book log lines. But that doesn't mean it took fifteen minutes period. This has been a process. But the more you do it the better you will get. For the reader it is an understanding of what a stranger's book is about. For the writer it is a way to know that you know what your book is about, and if there is conflict (if necessary). It is also a way to know if you are writing too many stories in one manuscript. Or if your book plot may be convoluted/too slight or too nonsensical. Basically it tells you where you are going with plot and resolution.
So why am I so happy? Because I finally figured out (with one of these log lines) how to rewrite a picture book that I have been working on for YEARS. What was initially wrong with it and where to take it. I got rid of one of the things that originally intrigued me which took the plot in another direction. (But I can make up for that in the art because it has to do with color.)
Which speaks for itself. I want to make this a gorgeous book with happiness and sadness (and not in that order) and joy.
And it speaks to children and has lots of emotion. And that stays.
I simplified and streamlined it. Now I have to rewrite and dummy it. But it shouldn't be as hard now.
So don't give up on something if you love, love, love it and have for years. Just write up a log line to get you on track and write it from there.