My Writers Circle

Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 06:32:12 PM

Title: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 06:32:12 PM
I thought this could run the same way as First Liners. Put in genre and target audience and short blurb.(Not a synopsis.)

Here's mine to start the ball rolling. I'm not happy with it and I've got this competition looming.

Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age 8-11yrs

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 17, 2014, 06:59:56 PM
Quote
Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.

The immediate problem I can see is there are three separate threads to the story, and they're all rather complicated.

Tripps and his murderous mother.
Lexi - and Syreeta who knows 'the truth' about her mother (a diferent mother to Tripps's).
And someone (could be Lexi or Syreeta) adding children's souls to a bracelet.

Without some connection the story comes across as a complete muddle. Not the best way to attract curious readers. I can't see any 8-11-year-old understanding this blurb enough to want to read the story inside.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 17, 2014, 07:03:44 PM
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is here's one I prepared earlier:

'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance.
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.


H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 07:06:08 PM
Okay, thanks H3K. Now I'm stumped on what to do. I find this incredibly difficult.

Oh, you darling man, thank you. I've read loads of blurbs, but then get swayed by trying to cut down the word count.  

 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 07:20:12 PM
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is here's one I prepared earlier:

'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance,
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.


H3K

I really like this, not just as a helpful aid to mine, but in its own right. Is the book finished?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on September 17, 2014, 07:32:12 PM
Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.

I have a specific way I want and write blurbs which I'll share.

1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.

Right now, your blurb doesn't show a plot. More like a situation. Also, the ending sentence hints at a problem. No hinting. Show what it is instead.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 17, 2014, 07:39:32 PM
I thought this could run the same way as First Liners. Put in genre and target audience and short blurb.(Not a synopsis.)

Here's mine to start the ball rolling. I'm not happy with it and I've got this competition looming.

Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age 8-11yrs

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.



You have all you need here I believe. Using Wolfe's stencil just put them all together

But bring them closer rather than filtering

Make it so.  example

Tripps' mother killed before, and she'd kill again if he didn't do something. Lexi was responsible for her mother's death, but no one would believe her. Syreeta just wants more souls for her bracelet. Why should she care?


I don't know more about your story, but if you want more words you can bring in to fill

Best luck by the by.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on September 17, 2014, 07:40:13 PM
When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home. Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance, Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously. When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

The first line confuses because there's a question of whether Katie or Nadia is center stage. The followup word choices made me cringe because they read cliche-ish. "Mysterious disappearance", "behaving very suspiciously", "life-or-death situation" makes me believe I'll see more cliches in the novel itself. The passive voice worries me too. Finally, the last sentence lacks something. It feels . . . predictable. Maybe because I've seen it done so many times before.

My apologies, but it needs a rewrite.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 07:45:18 PM
Thank you. My trouble is Tripps believes that it's his mother, but he is wrong. How do I get across that the whole book is misconceptions?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 17, 2014, 07:53:53 PM
My apologies. I imagine you can still use 'he believed' but I still think you should keep the first sentence active, with that bang, vice just a belief/possibility. Lots of people here can help you better than I. Don't rush to change, gather then sift. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 07:59:34 PM
My apologies. I imagine you can still use 'he believed' but I still think you should keep the first sentence active, with that bang, vice just a belief/possibility. Lots of people here can help you better than I. Don't rush to change, gather then sift. :)


Thanks Paley. I've got myself such a convoluted plot, I don't know how to wittle it down to three sentences. Feeling a bit sick now. :'(
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on September 17, 2014, 08:06:03 PM
How do I get across that the whole book is misconceptions?

Say it. Make it the first or the last line in some way, shape, or form. A blurb isn't about subtly. It's about grabbing a reader's attention and hoping they'll open your novel.


In the summer of 1996, Brick Dawson and three other inmates escaped Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary. Their jailbreak started the largest manhunt in Tennessee's history. They were never found. Because they never escaped. And now Brick's journal, discovered inside the warden's office after he committed suicide, tells the truth about what really happened that summer.


Notice how I lead the reader to believe one thing, but switched it around at the end? That's one way you can show how your book is about misconceptions.

Hope the example helped.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 17, 2014, 08:09:20 PM
Say it. Make it the first or the last line in some way, shape, or form. A blurb isn't about subtly. It's about grabbing a reader's attention and hoping they'll open your novel.


In the summer of 1996, Brick Dawson and three other inmates escaped Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary. Their jailbreak started the largest manhunt in Tennessee's history. They were never found. Because they never escaped. And now Brick's journal, found in the warden's office after he committed suicide, tells the truth about what happened that summer.


Notice how I lead the reader to believe one thing, but switched it around at the end? That's one way you'll show how your book is about misconceptions.

Hope the example helped.

Thank you, Wolfe. That is a good example for me. I'm too tired to think about it now, but I shall work on it and post again. I haven't a hope in hell of winning this competition, but I want to do my best. :)  Time for some positive thinking.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on September 17, 2014, 08:10:52 PM
No worries. Remember . . . if writing were easy, everyone would do it.  ;) Always keep at it.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on September 17, 2014, 08:23:10 PM
Glad you started this thread, Mrs. N. There are many helpful tips already.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on September 17, 2014, 10:29:14 PM
]When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance,
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

To be fair, I read this to a beta reader and she was very interested. So, obviously, opinions will vary. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on September 18, 2014, 01:19:00 AM
But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late.

These lines sounded uninteresting, too vague. I would trim it as follows:

When Katie discovers the school photographer is involved, she ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 03:26:41 AM
What a fantastic idea for a thread!

I've always thought a good blurb can help focus a story while you're writing it.

Quote
Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age 8-11yrs

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.

I agree with others that this has too many things going on. I don't know how it all links together. I also don't know whose story it is. Who am I supposed to care about the most? We have two mothers, one a killer, one dead. And then the souls of children. How does it tie together?


Quote
'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance,
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.
H3K

This just needs a trim. You know how to do that well, Hilly, so I won't be more specific. I also agree about the cliché phrasing. And I don't understand the title.


Okay, to keep the ball rolling, here's an attempted blurb for the book I'm working on:  :)

Crime/thriller, adults. I'll shoot for about 85-90,000 words:

In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on September 18, 2014, 04:51:02 AM
In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

She knew it would happen.... She thought it was forgotten.

These two comments seem to contradict. Also, I felt this was a slow read -- too many words for the message. Needs a trim.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 04:55:36 AM
She knew it would happen.... She thought it was forgotten.

These two comments seem to contradict. Also, I felt this was a slow read -- too many words for the message. Needs a trim.


Thanks, Bailish. Looks like an "it" issue. The first refers to the kidnapping, the second to the film. Will work on it!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on September 18, 2014, 05:29:54 AM
There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.

The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.  Hard to improve on Wolfe's advice for this.  What they're looking for is the ultimate synopsis - a beginning, a middle and an end, in maybe 150 words.  They need an overview of the finished product.  They don't want catchy or clever, but they do want a fair representation of how you write.

If your pitch is successful, the second kind of blurb you'll be asked for is for the jacket, to be read by potential purchasers.  This time you don't want to tell the whole story, however briefly.  You want to introduce your main characters, in just enough words that PPs might start caring what happens to them, and sketch in the difficulties they face (if no difficulties, no book!) but stop short of the spoiler than might make a PP think, "Well, now I know what happens I don't need to buy it!"  Some sort of a cliff-hanger, as long as it isn't too crude, can work well, completing the blurb but leaving the PP wanting more.

Writing a good blurb is harder than it sounds.  The fewer words you have to play with - the publisher will specify what he wants for the jacket - the harder it is.  I always find I've grossly over-written, but the exercise of cropping is beneficial in its own right: makes me concentrate on what really matters.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 05:48:49 AM
Great points, thanks, Jo. I was thinking more back-of-book blurb, but the thread did say publishers.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 06:11:23 AM
To be fair, I read this to a beta reader and she was very interested. So, obviously, opinions will vary. ;)

 ;)

The question is - would my target audience (or their parents) find it interesting enough to buy/read. I'll keep working on it. . .

. . .and yes, Mrs N. It's finished and about to be released on Createspace ahead of my second YA novel due for publication by Red Telephone Books later this year. I guess the more writing you have out there in the big wide world the more likely you are to start generating sales and some kind of 'market presence'.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 06:13:29 AM
There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.
The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.

In which case my example doesn't fit on here. It was meant to be the back-cover blurb.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 06:15:23 AM
When Katie discovers the school photographer is involved, she ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

Thanks. It's shorter - but it now reads as cause and effect, which isn't the case. I'll keep working on it.  ;D

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 06:17:50 AM
I don't understand the title.

Toad in the Hole - Katie's favourite food (Sausages baked in batter)

Toley Bags - Katie's least favourite things (doggie poo bags)

It's set in Scotland (hopefully soon to be the independent nation of Scotland) so the title would make more sense around here.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 06:25:21 AM
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

This would intrigue me enough to browse between the covers. But you can trim here and there without weakening the hook imo.

In 1955 Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen but she can’t tell the police. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

We discover she was an actress soon enough.
If she expects it to happen she'll automatically know who's involved.
The threat to her new identity is also implied since she'd hardly be putting her Nazi involvement on her CV.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 06:35:55 AM
This would intrigue me enough to browse between the covers. But you can trim here and there without weakening the hook imo.

In 1955 Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen but she can’t tell the police. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

We discover she was an actress soon enough.
If she expects it to happen she'll automatically know who's involved.
The threat to her new identity is also implied since she'd hardly be putting her Nazi involvement on her CV.

H3K


The Trim King has come through again. Thanks.  ;D

It's early days for this book, but a decent, focused blurb (basically, a good premise) will save me a lot of grief, I think. I'll be putting this and other revision suggestions in my novel scrapbook to refer to as I go along.

Maybe as we continue the thread, posters can specify if they're putting up a blurb for a publisher versus a back-of-book. Both are good skills to practice and can exist on the same thread.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 06:38:42 AM
Toad in the Hole - Katie's favourite food (Sausages baked in batter)

Toley Bags - Katie's least favourite things (doggie poo bags)

It's set in Scotland (hopefully soon to be the independent nation of Scotland) so the title would make more sense around here.

H3K

Thanks for the explanations. Learn a new thing every day.

(*Small hijack: I'm neutral on Scotland, since I'm not British. But it is interesting to see the English beg... Hijack over.*)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Don on September 18, 2014, 08:19:37 AM
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.

She knew it would could happen.

At least Lily isn't psychic now. Truth be told, I don't think the line is needed at all.

(Note: I like Annmarie's suggestion that we also specify which type of blurb--publisher or book jacket--we are trying for.)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 18, 2014, 08:59:03 AM
Good point, Don.  I could cut that and keep She knows who did it, but she can't tell the police. Thanks.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 01:03:19 PM
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is here's one I prepared earlier:

'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance.
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement,but it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.


Hi, Just my preference, but I liked this.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 18, 2014, 01:20:19 PM
Thanks, Rho. Good suggestions.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 03:07:37 PM
Okay i will try one based on what Wolfe said.

130,000 fantasy set in modern day UK.

Alex Aylward, with the help of a large wolf has to rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
Alex finds friends to help protect the girls from dark forces.
They all move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, who had been imprisoned by a warlock – and wants them back.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 18, 2014, 03:30:34 PM
Okay i will try one based on what Wolfe said.

130,000 fantasy set in modern day UK.

A large wolf helps Alex Aylward, with the help of a large wolf has to rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
Alex finds friends to help To protect the girls from dark forces, they all move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, who had been imprisoned by a warlock – and who wants them back.

 ;) ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 03:34:12 PM
Thanks 510bhan.

I kept changing between the last who/and but as I had who earlier I went for latter.

But you solved that.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 03:36:51 PM
A large wolf helps Alex Aylward rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
To protect the girls from dark forces, they move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, imprisoned by a warlock – who wants them back.

You're so quick.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 18, 2014, 04:18:42 PM
Okay i will try one based on what Wolfe said.

130,000 fantasy set in modern day UK.

Alex Aylward, with the help of a large wolf has to rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
Alex finds friends to help protect the girls from dark forces.
They all move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, who had been imprisoned by a warlock – and wants them back.

For me there is too much.

Alex
large wolf
twin daughters
armed gangsters
mythical creatures
mansion
warlock

I want to be able to digest it. So, for example:

Alex Aylward has to rescue his daughters, and with the help of a large wolf and new found friends he hopes to do just that. But dark forces don't give up easy, especially when a warlock's involved.  
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 04:52:52 PM
I can see what you mean there, Pale.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 18, 2014, 05:56:06 PM
I like the idea of a blurb for the back of the book/blurb for publishers.

Great pointers, Jo. My feeble attempt was geared at publishers.

Laura: Thanks. ;D

H3K: When I read yours I imagined it on the back of a book and didn't have a problem with it. I liked the title, didn't need to understand it. Toley bags sounded cute!! Didn't for one minute guess the real use. Ugh. Too much knowledge and all that! ;D

Annmarie: If this is a blurb on the back of a book it seems to give too much away. You tell us the children vanish, then you tell us a woman took them. No mystery there. (Is this your 'Berlin, the tart' book? Great first line, I still remember it. ;))

Rho: I agree with Pale's version.
 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 18, 2014, 06:47:21 PM
Back of the book blurb. Action/Adventure. 60,000 words.

Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley Manner's life in paradise exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. Living on Marathon Key, fishing the Florida Straits, a battle with a twenty foot Great White ended with his boat sunk and Charley adrift in his fishing chair. Rescued by the Coast Guard, he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. That's when things got interesting.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 06:57:37 PM
Hi, AQ.

Murder, a map of hidden treasure and an ambush by the Cuban mafia almost cost Charley Manner his life.

A battle with a Twenty-foot Great White ended with his boat sunk and left Charley adrift in his fishing chair.

Rescued by the Coast Guard, he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. That's when things got interesting.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 18, 2014, 07:22:07 PM
Thanks Rho. I see the benefit of fewer words to increase focus and impact. Here's a slightly shorter version. What do you think?

A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and Charley Manner adrift in a fishing chair. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. That's when things got interesting. Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley's life in the Florida Keys exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 18, 2014, 07:30:48 PM
That's better, but I still tweaked it.

After a battle with a twenty-foot Great White left Charley Manner adrift in just fishing chair.

After being rescued he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair only to find a body in it.

That's when things got interesting. Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley's life in the Florida Keys exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 18, 2014, 07:43:02 PM
Doesn't work for me. Uses 'After' twice to start first two sebtences.

I'm thinking, as I read again my tweak, stating 'That's when things get interesting' is not needed. Ergo

A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and Charley Manner adrift in a fishing chair. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and former Navy Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley's life in the Florida Keys exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him.

Now the blurb is 72 words. I've read that less than 75 should be the goal
AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 18, 2014, 08:02:54 PM
Thanks Rho. I see the benefit of fewer words to increase focus and impact. Here's a slightly shorter version. What do you think?

A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and Charley Manner adrift in a fishing chair. ??? ::) After a Coast Guard rescue, he and former Seal teammate, Hawk Handy, return to retrieve the chair and find a body in it. That's when things got interesting. Murder, a map and hidden treasure mixed with ambush by a Cuban drug cartel make Charley's life in the Florida Keys exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him.

AQ

Charley's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel demand action. Perhaps more than Charley can manage.  :-[ :-[ :-[  70 words.

  Just fiddling -- the reason I shifted the nearly kills him to the front is the link to his boat accident rather than the other aspects because placed last it acts as a spoiler -- hey, he must survive if it only nearly kills him. :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 18, 2014, 08:11:07 PM
Charley's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel demand action. Perhaps more than Charley can manage.  :-[ :-[ :-[  70 words.

  Just fiddling -- the reason I shifted the nearly kills him to the front is the link to his boat accident rather than the other aspects because placed last it acts as a spoiler -- hey, he must survive if it only nearly kills him. :-\ :-\

Good point, Sio. The order of events and how they are portrayed in the blurb are key. Got to keep that in mind. Thanks for your fiddle. Feel free to fiddle another tune when you get the chance.  ;D

Here's a tweak of your fiddle that I think hits the mark:

Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 19, 2014, 03:16:06 AM
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. Sso exciting, it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White sunk his boat and left him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he Charlie and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle. just might be enough to sink Charley once and for all.

AQ

Just some tinkering with the tinkers. The rhythm isn't right yet, but it might work with a polish. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on September 19, 2014, 03:53:59 AM

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.



You seem to have 3 plots running along each other which would tie up with the mixed pov's I know you have used. I do worry this together will be far too much for this age group. From all the research I have done you should only have one pivotal plot. However, Mrs N, that being said I am great believer in breaking the mould. But it would need to be quite an easy read.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 19, 2014, 04:28:13 AM
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

I'm not sure it's wise telling the reader Charley's life is exciting. Too much tell in the blurb is not going to attract many readers. You either imply the excitement in what follows or leave it out entirely.
I also think you need to remove the mundane details (the length of the shark and how Charley got rescued) and focus on the plot. Something like:

Charley Manner's battle with a Great White leaves his boat sunk and him adrift in the Florida Keys.
When a former Navy Seal teammate helps Charley retrieve his fishing chair they stumble across a body and a map to hidden treasure.
But when a Cuban drug cartel becomes involved Charley's battle is only beginning.


H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 19, 2014, 04:38:32 AM
A large wolf helps Alex Aylward rescue his twin daughters from armed gangsters.
To protect the girls from dark forces, they move into a mansion and discover mythical creatures, imprisoned by a warlock – who wants them back.

130,000 words seems excessively long even for a fantasy. If you manage to secure a publisher the chances are they will ask you to cut that in half.

As for the blurb - it's coming across as two separate stories at the very least.

1) Alex's children are being held by armed gangsters (most gangsters are armed so no point mentioning it)

2) A large wolf (again - the size makes no difference in the blurb) helps rescue them. . . and they move to a mansion (?)
That seems a rather strange thing to do - maybe a too-convenient attempt to marry together two separate plot elements

3) Mythical creatures are imprisoned inside the mansion by a warlock. . . and so?

Gangsters, children, wolves, mythical creatures and a warlock. . . it seems a bizarre combination to me and comes across as chaotic rather than original, I'm afraid. jmo.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 19, 2014, 04:58:35 AM
130,000 words seems excessively long even for a fantasy. If you manage to secure a publisher the chances are they will ask you to cut that in half.

As for the blurb - it's coming across as two separate stories at the very least.

1) Alex's children are being held by armed gangsters (most gangsters are armed so no point mentioning it)

2) A large wolf (again - the size makes no difference in the blurb) helps rescue them. . . and they move to a mansion (?)
That seems a rather strange thing to do - maybe a too-convenient attempt to marry together two separate plot elements

3) Mythical creatures are imprisoned inside the mansion by a warlock. . . and so?

Gangsters, children, wolves, mythical creatures and a warlock. . . it seems a bizarre combination to me and comes across as chaotic rather than original, I'm afraid. jmo.

H3K


Word count is a problem, it was nearly 400,000, so I split it into three books.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 07:14:12 AM

Quote
Charley Manner's life in the Florida Keys is exciting. So exciting it nearly kills him. A battle with a twenty-foot Great White left his boat sunk and him adrift. After a Coast Guard rescue, he and a former Navy Seal teammate retrieve his fishing chair and find a body in it. Murder, a map and hidden treasure plus ambush by a Cuban drug cartel add more challenges. Perhaps more than Charley can handle.

A lot happening, but does it all need to be told right here? I don't know if you do. You need to leave a bit for the story, so they don't see it all but want to. . . or so my thoughts on blurps seem to be. So another pov.

*

Charley Manner's day went to hell from the get go. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and the Cuban drug cartel wanted their cut. Most would walk away. Then again, most weren't ex Navy Seals. But would that training be enough?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 19, 2014, 07:56:35 AM
Just some tinkering with the tinkers. The rhythm isn't right yet, but it might work with a polish. ;)

You say the rhythm isn't right yet, Annmarie, but I do like where you've taken it. The pace accelerates. Thanks.


I'm not sure it's wise telling the reader Charley's life is exciting. Too much tell in the blurb is not going to attract many readers. You either imply the excitement in what follows or leave it out entirely.
I also think you need to remove the mundane details (the length of the shark and how Charley got rescued) and focus on the plot. Something like:

Charley Manner's battle with a Great White leaves his boat sunk and him adrift in the Florida Keys.
When a former Navy Seal teammate helps Charley retrieve his fishing chair they stumble across a body and a map to hidden treasure.
But when a Cuban drug cartel becomes involved Charley's battle is only beginning.


H3K

Good advice about the telling, Hilly. I like the directness of your version, but still like the rhythm of Annmarie's suggestion. Merging the two, Annika's style and your content, may be a good recipe. Thanks.


A lot happening, but does it all need to be told right here? I don't know if you do. You need to leave a bit for the story, so they don't see it all but want to. . . or so my thoughts on blurps seem to be. So another pov.

*
Charley Manner's day went to hell from the get go. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and the Cuban drug cartel wanted their cut. Most would walk away. Then again, most weren't ex Navy Seals. But would that training be enough?


Thanks, Pale. Another good example of accelerating tension, using a simple listing of events without extraneous fluff.


All three suggestions are appreciated. A balanced combination will make the blurb stronger.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 08:21:55 AM
Quote
In 1955, actress Lily Romero’s children vanish from a Hollywood backlot. She knew it would happen. She knows who did it. But she can’t tell the police. The truth would strip away the life she worked so hard to build since she fled Berlin. In the war, she starred in the last film the Nazis ever made. It was never finished. She thought it was forgotten. But the woman who took her children won’t let her forget.


Your's is kinda harder to do because the connections. She seemed too focused on the career vice her children in this blurp, and she might indeed be that type of woman, but I think you don't want to turn a reader off too quickly. You need to show some sort of turmoil, and determination. And yet, also show that type of woman you want her to be.  so...  

*

In 1955, actress Lily Romero's children were abducted by a woman from her past, one who knew of her Nazi connections. Torn between the safe return of her children, and the possibility its investigation could ruin her new life in the States, Lily didn't know what to do. Or did she?

*

I don't know if details from her past need to be shown, just the results for now, hints that 'something' might not be accepted by her new homeland. The last line, you could expand, if she had help from another, you could direct it more with a name, or an organisation. You want the reader to want to know.

Hard to say because this is a difficult one
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 19, 2014, 09:43:26 AM
Genre: Action /Adventure
Title: Something Fishy
Word count (goal): 60,000
Target audience: 80,000,000 boomers

Charley Manner's retirement in the Florida Keys is full of surprises. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and a Cuban drug cartel wants the treasure. Charley's training as a former Navy Seal prepared him for dangerous situations but this may be more than he can handle alone.


I've melded the previous suggestions and revisited Wolfe's formula for blurbs while reducing the word count to 58.

Wolfe's formula, with my [comments] added:

1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation. [Charley is a retiree, how exciting. No, but my hope is to attract the millions of boomer retirees with so much time to read and dream about a more adventurous life living in 'paradise,' shark fishing, finding dead bodies and hunting for hidden treasure.]

2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible. [With the helpful suggestions from Hilly, Pale, Annmarie, Sio, and Rho I believe the second line concisely states the main plot, including murder, treasure and danger.]

3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict. [The drug cartel antagonist challenges Charley's ex-Navy Seal skills and is the primary source of conflict.]

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 09:51:57 AM
Yup, I think if you entice a reader, it should work. You have a whole story setting the hook. I know they all shouldn't be in point-form, so a bit of free-flow probably helps.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on September 19, 2014, 09:57:54 AM
Genre: Action /Adventure
Title: Something Fishy
Word count (goal): 60,000
Target audience: 80,000,000 boomers

Charley Manner's retirement in the Florida Keys is full of surprises. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and a Cuban drug cartel wants the treasure. Charley's training as a former Navy Seal prepared him for dangerous situations but this may be more than he can handle alone.

I'd buy that book. And I'm in Generation X, or rather a cuspie between that and the Boomers.

I like this one AQ.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 10:03:09 AM
In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is here's one I prepared earlier:

'Toad in the Hole and Toley Bags'
30,000 words - 9-12-year olds:

When 13-year-old Katie MacCallum's best friend, Nadia, goes missing everyone assumes she's run away from home.
Only Katie and her light-fingered brother seem interested in investigating Nadia's mysterious disappearance.
Katie is convinced that her friend has been abducted by aliens. But the school photographer is also behaving very suspiciously.
When Katie discovers a vital piece of evidence proving his involvement it's too late. She ends up in a life-or-death situation - about to suffer the same fate as her friend.

...assumes she'd run away. / or / ...assumes she's run away.   - I can assume it is from home, more importantly it is the act that she has run away you might wish to draw attention to.

...seem interested in investigating.  - I know what from the previous mention. ) interesting in investigating  - in sounding

...is convinced her friend has been abducted by aliens.  (love this :) - but I don't think  'that' is require and sort of takes a bit away from a human touch'  that/her   - which is stronger?   I think 'her'  ' that  ' I would use on an object.

it's too late - for me this lessened the power of discovery, it's too late, so no sense reading about it.  I'd leave that off.

*Watch out for 'seems/assumes' they lessen again.

**

Still, as with all these blurps, the interest is there.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 19, 2014, 01:01:28 PM
Hi Paley,

everybody assumes she has done something - or everybody assumed she had done something.

I read somewhere that blurbs are best written in present tense regardless of how the story itself is narrated.

Your other suggs are good though. Thanks.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 01:15:00 PM
Yup, they are interesting in themselves and often remind me of those 50 word flashes. The good thing about this thread is normally I don't get to practice them nearly enough, nor have a wider sense of opinions.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 19, 2014, 01:15:41 PM
Thanks, Paley. Will take your suggestions on board. Since the book isn't written yet, I have time to get this right. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 19, 2014, 01:23:32 PM
:) Annmarie

I think it is far harder to write one prior. Still great to though.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 19, 2014, 01:31:22 PM
Yup, I think if you entice a reader, it should work. You have a whole story setting the hook. I know they all shouldn't be in point-form, so a bit of free-flow probably helps.


Thanks for your help, Paley.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 19, 2014, 01:38:57 PM
I'd buy that book. And I'm in Generation X, or rather a cuspie between that and the Boomers.

I like this one AQ.

Well I guess I'd better get cracking and finish it.  ;D

I agree with Annmarie's comment in Reply #17: “I've always thought a good blurb can help focus a story while you're writing it.” This thread has helped me gain a better understanding of the story. It will help me stay on track to keep things moving forward. Thanks Mrs N for starting this thread.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JewelAS53 on September 20, 2014, 08:26:58 AM
Thanks, Mrs N, for starting a good thread.

I'll throw in my 2p'orth:

Literary Fiction / 80000 words

Zinkele abandons her quiet and peaceful Swaziland mountain village for the frenetic and vibrant South African city of gold, Egoli. She anticipates a new, exciting life. But Zinkele soon realises she has been seduced by her idealistic hopes and must find her way back home while she still remembers she once had one.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on September 20, 2014, 08:34:03 AM
Thanks, Mrs N, for starting a good thread.

I'll throw in my 2p'orth:

Literary Fiction / 80000 words

Zinkele abandons her quiet and peaceful Swaziland mountain (not sure if you need mountain)village for the frenetic and vibrant (I would use one or the other. Or find a word that sums both up) South African city of gold, Egoli. Anticipateing an exciting, new life (I would try and find one word here too) She anticipates a new, exciting life. But Zinkele soon realises she has been seduced by her idealistic hope and must find her way back home while she still remembers she once had one. (could you say while she still has one?) Not sure what your trying to convey.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 20, 2014, 09:21:28 AM
Quote
Zinkele abandons her quiet and peaceful Swaziland mountain village for the frenetic and vibrant South African city of gold, Egoli. She anticipates a new, exciting life. But Zinkele soon realises she has been seduced by her idealistic hopes and must find her way back home while she still remembers she once had one.

First impressions - I'm not hugely fond of your character's name. Also employing two adjectives where one might serve better (three times) suggests this is going to be over-written.
The resolution - she's been enticed by the vibrancy of city life but now realises she needs to find her way home - also lacks something. We need more than your MC journeying from A to B then deciding to return to A. Just my twopence worth.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 20, 2014, 09:30:43 AM
Hi Jewel -- I think it's too vague. I need a conflict to hang onto, or something more intriguing than the setting. Who or what did the seducing? What will she do about it? Run home?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 20, 2014, 09:40:31 AM
Mrs. N -- Sorry I missed your comment about my blurb. I'll have to watch what I reveal. No, this isn't the Berlin, you tart book.  :) That one needs to wait for now. At the moment, it's too big for my britches. :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on September 20, 2014, 09:42:41 AM
Mrs. N -- Sorry I missed your comment about my blurb. I'll have to watch what I reveal. No, this isn't the Berlin, you tart book.  :) That one needs to wait for now. At the moment, it's too big for my britches. :D

Annmarie, did you just call Mrs N a "tart book"?  ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 20, 2014, 09:51:30 AM
 :D :D

Uh...no. But I bet she wouldn't mind. :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 20, 2014, 10:11:37 AM
Thanks, Mrs N, for starting a good thread.

I'll throw in my 2p'orth:

Literary Fiction / 80000 words

Zinkele abandons her quiet and peaceful Swaziland mountain village for the frenetic and vibrant South African city of gold, Egoli. She anticipates a new, exciting life. But Zinkele soon realises she has been seduced by her idealistic hopes and must find her way back home while she still remembers she once had one.

I don't think your first sentence should have words like quiet and peaceful, even if she is abandoning them. Since you mention her return to 'home' at the end you could bring in that longing for its peace then. I think it needs a hint of darkness, I mean she abandoned her life to go there, I just wanted a taste of what changes her mind, 'realising she had been seduced' wasn't enough to want me to read. It wouldn't take much to change my mind though.
 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JewelAS53 on September 20, 2014, 10:22:43 AM
Thanks, Hilly, Dawn, Annmarie,

Food for thought. The conflict in the story is huge - how to show that in 150 words - I can see I will be spending as much time on this blurb as I am on the story  :P

PS, Hilly, I stole the name from the real girl in the real village on the real mountainside... It's hard to write the story in terms of another name - will have to give that some serious thought in the editing. I am aware that African names don't sit comfortably on out of Africa tongues and will probably have to compromise those in the end product.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 20, 2014, 10:33:01 AM
Thanks, Hilly, Dawn, Annmarie,

Food for thought. The conflict in the story is huge - how to show that in 150 words - I can see I will be spending as much time on this blurb as I am on the story  :P

PS, Hilly, I stole the name from the real girl in the real village on the real mountainside... It's hard to write the story in terms of another name - will have to give that some serious thought in the editing. I am aware that African names don't sit comfortably on out of Africa tongues and will probably have to compromise those in the end product.

No! It's one of the easier ones to say -- Zin-ke-le. Much of Sci-fi has more difficult names to pronounce with aliens and other species, ancient tribes etc. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 10:47:42 AM
You seem to have 3 plots running along each other which would tie up with the mixed pov's I know you have used. I do worry this together will be far too much for this age group. From all the research I have done you should only have one pivotal plot. However, Mrs N, that being said I am great believer in breaking the mould. But it would need to be quite an easy read.

Thanks Dawn, Yeah, you and Hillwalker. I'm trying to get my head around a new tighter version. Hmm, don't be holding your breath! ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on September 20, 2014, 10:50:20 AM
rewrites are fun  ::)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 10:52:40 AM
Genre: Action /Adventure
Title: Something Fishy
Word count (goal): 60,000
Target audience: 80,000,000 boomers

Charley Manner's retirement in the Florida Keys is full of surprises. A shark sunk his boat, a dead man with a treasure map bobbed up out of nowhere, and a Cuban drug cartel wants the treasure. Charley's training as a former Navy Seal prepared him for dangerous situations but this may be more than he can handle alone.

Blimey, the difference between the first draft and this is amazing. Great stuff. :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 10:53:52 AM
rewrites are fun  ::)

 ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 11:09:19 AM
Thanks, Mrs N, for starting a good thread. You're welcome.  ;D

Literary Fiction / 80000 words

Zinkele abandons her quiet and peaceful Swaziland mountain village for the frenetic and vibrant South African city of gold, Egoli.

She anticipates a new, exciting life. But Zinkele soon realises she has been seduced by her idealistic hopes

 and must find her way back home while she still remembers she once had one. Doesn't make sense to me.


Hi Jewel, is this for a publisher, or back of the book?

It feels a bit wishy washy, but I think in literary fiction that's not frowned on so much. :-\ It didn't tell me enough to engage with it. The name doesn't bother me at all, just her general lack of direction.   
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 11:14:34 AM
Annmarie, did you just call Mrs N a "tart book"?  ;)

I've been called worse!!! ;D ;D

(see Reply#39 for what Annmarie was referring to.)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on September 20, 2014, 11:22:54 AM
I've been called worse!!! ;D ;D

(see Reply#39 for what Annmarie was referring to.)


LOL. Now I wanna read that book too.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on September 20, 2014, 12:07:44 PM
Zinkele in the big wide South African world:

I think this is promising.  I agree, it needs tightening up - drop the tautology, when words are this precious every one needs to pull its weight.  Personally, I have no problem with the name - it's easy enough to say (aloud or internally) and to remember.

You might want to try something like this:
                                                                   *
Craving excitement, Zinkele leaves her quiet Swaziland village for Eboli, the vibrant South African city of gold.  When she realises she has been seduced by an illusion, she determines to find her way back home - before she forgets she ever had one.
                                                                 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on September 20, 2014, 12:11:04 PM

Craving excitement, Zinkele leaves her quiet Swaziland village for Eboli, the vibrant South African city of gold.  When she realises she has been seduced by an illusion, she determines to find her way back home - before she forgets she ever had one.
                                                                  

Wow. That sounds like a book I'd be interested in buying now.

(This post makes me a full member. Woohoo.)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JewelAS53 on September 20, 2014, 12:16:48 PM
Wow, Jo, Thank you so much!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 12:37:32 PM
Yep, Jo's version's got you a sale. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on September 20, 2014, 12:39:38 PM
That is a fine example of a blurb! Finish the book and get it out there, Jewel  :D

And congrats on those 50 posts, Miggseye  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 20, 2014, 12:42:26 PM
(This post makes me a full member. Woohoo.)

If he's this excited now, what's he gonna be like when he's a hero?????????? Better get an outfit, Miggseye.  :D :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 20, 2014, 01:48:38 PM
Blimey, the difference between the first draft and this is amazing. Great stuff. :D

Thanks, Mrs N. Amazing what you get when the fluff is removed. Forcing the word count down helps, too.

AQ

P.S. Have you sent your velvet gloves to the cleaners? All the saliva from your victims smiling as you strangle the fluff out of them their writing must make them difficult to slip on.  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 22, 2014, 03:21:59 PM
Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age: 8-11 year olds. Blurb for a publisher.

The dream that has haunted fourteen year old Tripps (aka Kinsey Doome) has just become a reality. It shows his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. But the truth is somewhere else.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 22, 2014, 03:32:46 PM
I'd suggest you remove Tripps' alias. It's not a great idea to confuse the issue at such an early stage. Otherwise it seems ok.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 22, 2014, 03:36:25 PM
Thanks, I did wonder about that.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 22, 2014, 03:36:56 PM
I agree with H3K. The aka is the only thing that ruins this.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 22, 2014, 03:38:29 PM
Cheers, Rho.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 22, 2014, 03:40:37 PM
The dream that has haunted fourteen year old Tripps has just become a reality. It shows his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. But the truth is somewhere else.

Hey, that looks pretty good.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 22, 2014, 03:42:18 PM
Yaay, am I finally winning? 8) ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 22, 2014, 06:13:08 PM
Yaay, am I finally winning? 8) ;D

Lookin' good, Mrs N.


Just eliminate a few words and it gets even tighter, I think.

The dream that has haunted fourteen year old Tripps has just become a reality. It shows his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. Bbut the truth is somewhere else.

JMO

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Pale Writer on September 22, 2014, 06:56:30 PM
Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age: 8-11 year olds. Blurb for a publisher.

The dream that has haunted fourteen year old Tripps (aka Kinsey Doome) has just become a reality. It shows his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. But the truth is somewhere else.

I read this a few times and am trying to figure out why it stops me. I thought it first was the mention of 'dream' and 'haunted' so close together. Or how the mc is at the end of the first sentence. I'm not sure yet. It might be the past tense on the first sentence. But I'm not sure.

I remember you mentioning that it really wasn't her who killed? The line 'He leaves his world to stop her' had me wonder, since if the dream has become a reality, wouldn't it be too late to stop her? I always hesitate about age, only because every 14 year old is different, so to give an age places the mc at the individual reader's pov of what a 14 year old can do. I think the story can show their maturity level better than any number. But this is just my opinion on numbers :).  

So I tinkered. Again, I only have a little bit to go on, so a bit unfair of me to do so.

Let things/thinks settle

Those dreams showing his mother murdering a human child, have become a reality. Fourteen year old Tripps leaves has planet to find the truth. All clues point to her, but dreams are often confusing.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 08:57:15 AM
Thanks, AQ and Paley.

AQ: Yep, agree with the tightening, just not the last sentence. I want that to stand alone. The 'but' is a big one! ;D

Paley: I love what you did, but I was using Wolfe's tenplate (trying to) and he said protagonist in the first sentence. Good point with the past tense haunted, I've changed that.

Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age: 8-11 year olds. Blurb for a publisher.

The dream that haunts fourteen year old Tripps has become a reality. It reveals his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. But the truth is somewhere else.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 23, 2014, 09:12:42 AM
Thanks, AQ and Paley.

AQ: Yep, agree with the tightening, just not the last sentence. I want that to stand alone. The 'but' is a big one! ;D

Paley: I love what you did, but I was using Wolfe's tenplate (trying to) and he said protagonist in the first sentence. Good point with the past tense haunted, I've changed that.

Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age: 8-11 year olds. Blurb for a publisher.

The dream that haunts fourteen year old, Tripps, has become a reality. It reveals his mother murdering a human child. He leaves his world to stop her. All the clues point one way. But the truth is somewhere else.


You're welcome, Mrs N. I think the commas in the first sentence are not needed. They slow the flow for me. Otherwise, it's a wrap. IMO ;D

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 09:18:04 AM
I think the commas in the first sentence are not needed.
AQ

Comma's give me a real brain ache. I thought comma needed before names. :-\ Back to the punctuation book.
Cheers for the input. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 23, 2014, 09:21:54 AM
Don't know about the 'correct' punctuation rule for names. They just seemed to slow the flow. An intuitive reaction. Use or lose. A good blurb in just 39 words.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 09:25:45 AM
No, you were right. I've removed them. I was getting muddled with comma's, names and direct speech. Then they are needed.

Yaay, I can go back to celebrating now. :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on September 23, 2014, 09:27:20 AM
 ;D 8) :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 23, 2014, 09:30:02 AM
Mrs. N-- I still get stuck on the logic issue. If the dream as you describe it is reality, it's too late for him to stop her.  :-\

And you need dashes in his age.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 09:43:40 AM
Mrs. N-- I still get stuck on the logic issue. If the dream as you describe it is reality, it's too late for him to stop her.  :-\

And you need dashes in his age.

Is it back to the drawing board???????????? I think it might be.

What do you mean with the dashes?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 23, 2014, 09:52:19 AM
fourteen-year-old ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 09:58:20 AM
fourteen-year-old ;)

Thanks, Sio, ever felt a real burke?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 23, 2014, 09:59:14 AM
It's my natural state - berk ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 10:00:30 AM
Don't tell me I spelt berk wrong as well ??? ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: 510bhan on September 23, 2014, 10:05:42 AM
 ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on September 23, 2014, 10:10:37 AM
Don't despair, Mrs. N!

Every draft is one step closer to the right one. You don't have to start over completely. Just expand what you have (for instance, I also wondered why he's on a different world than his mother). Or condense with more specifics. It's not just a dream, it's a nightmare. He can stop it. (How does he know this? Is he a seer?). Is the story just about the truth of a murder, or something else?

Just food for thought.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 23, 2014, 10:19:13 AM
Is it back to the drawing board???????????? I think it might be.

What do you mean with the dashes?

It's a fantasy, dreams can be portents of the future.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 10:31:26 AM
Thanks, Annmarie, I'm on the cusp of something. :D Oh, it's gone again. ;D

I'm a lot closer than I was, so it's all good. Just needs to be that bit clearer.



Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 23, 2014, 10:32:16 AM
Rho, wanna be a publisher? ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 23, 2014, 01:18:56 PM
I'd be gutted if I had to reject my own work.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on September 23, 2014, 09:06:36 PM
I'd be gutted if I had to reject my own work.

We often do.  Consciously and subconsciously  Sometimes when all we need to do is re-think and re-write.  As writers we often throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: bailish on September 23, 2014, 09:14:04 PM
We often do.  Consciously and subconsciously  Sometimes when all we need to do is re-think and re-write.  As writers we often throw out the baby with the bathwater.

You know, I think that'd be a good topic for a story: throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on September 24, 2014, 03:08:00 AM
We often do.  Consciously and subconsciously  Sometimes when all we need to do is re-think and re-write.  As writers we often throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Good point. I have never thrown a whole novel out though, I hold on to it hoping my beta readers will sort it out.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on October 06, 2014, 04:45:35 PM
Who's next?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on October 25, 2014, 07:24:10 PM
Me!
Untitled
Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Audience: Adult, Projected Word Count: 80,000
A little background info: I have been working on this manuscript for a little over a year (I think). I am trying to get the first draft finished (getting there, but slowly) before I set it down for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes and the help of critique partners. Be honest, butcher it if you like. I really like the idea of this topic, as I am curious as to whether or not my concept would generate interest. I am not altogether satisfied with my blurb, but I'm tired of tweaking it for the time and would love to hear your suggestions. Thanks!

William Dew kidnaps children for a living. It's not the job he wants, but he feels good about it. The children are not from loving families and he never profits from a ransom. He gives the unfortunate a second chance in an exciting, new world and those in charge are paying him to do it. But when a child goes missing, and monsters thought extinct begin to resurface, everything Dew believes is put into question. With the help of his friends, he uncovers a malevolent secret that has been kept hidden below the city. And what's happening to the children is only the beginning.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on October 25, 2014, 07:52:36 PM
Writing blurbs does concentrate the mind wonderfully well. I found it really helpful.

Is your blurb for the back of your book, or to attract a publisher's eye? If it's the second try and follow Wolfe's advice (reply#5.)

You start well, but the middle seems a bit muddled.

Me!
Untitled
Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Audience: Adult, Projected Word Count: 80,000

William Dew kidnaps children for a living. It's not the job he wants, but he feels good about it. The children are not from loving families and he never profits from a ransom.

 He gives the unfortunate a second chance in an exciting, new world and those in charge are paying him to do it.

But when a child goes missing, If he is kidnapping them they'd go missing, wouldn't they?

and monsters thought extinct begin to resurface, everything Dew believes is put into question.

 
With the help of his friends, Don't think we need the friends in the blurb. he uncovers a malevolent secret could you give a slightly bigger clue to draw us in?   that has been kept hidden below the city. And what's happening to the children is only the beginning.

I'm definitely interested in the concept of the story. Keep at it and get it written.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on October 25, 2014, 08:04:32 PM
Mrs N (and anyone else who I have confused), in regards to:
But when a child goes missing, If he is kidnapping them they'd go missing, wouldn't they?
The child goes missing after he is kidnapped. I need a better way of getting this point across. Help! :)

This is definitely for a dusk jacket, a reader, and not a publisher.
Thanks!

[/quote]
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on October 25, 2014, 08:18:58 PM
William Dew kidnaps children for a living. It's not the job he wants and never profits from it. His sole purpose is to give the unfortunates a second chance.

When a child does goes missing, monsters thought extinct begin to resurface, putting everything Dew believes into question. With the help of his friends, he uncovers a malevolent secret that has been kept hidden below the city.

What's happening to the children is only the beginning.


Just how I would put it. I would want to read more.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on October 26, 2014, 07:15:59 AM
William Dew kidnaps children for a living.
Good opening.

. . . but then it starts to get over-complicated:
It's not the job he wants, but he feels good about it. The children are not from loving families and he never profits from a ransom. He gives the unfortunate a second chance in an exciting, new world and those in charge are paying him to do it.
I don't understand the last sentence. Presumably the 'unfortunate' are the children - the 'exciting new world' the room he locks them up in (or does he take them to Disneyworld while holding them to ransom?) and who are 'those in charge'? I suggest you remove this ambiguous section because it's not doing you any favours.

But when a child goes missing, and monsters thought extinct begin to resurface, everything Dew believes is put into question.
So now it's some kind of sci-fi story? What did Dew believe? That the monsters were extinct, or something else? I'm confused.

With the help of his friends, he uncovers a malevolent secret that has been kept hidden below the city. And what's happening to the children is only the beginning.
More confusion. A secret - how is that linked to the monsters? And surely if he's acting in loco parentis nothing is happening to the children that isn't down to him.

You obviously have an intriguing plot but the blurb is far too ambiguous. I can understand you not wanting to plant spoilers, but I can't begin to figure out what your story is supposed to be about. My advice, keep the opening line and find two more that summarise the most interesting plot elements. Something along the lines of:

 William Dew kidnaps children for a living. His mission is to save them from abusive parents. But there are other monsters out there that no one ever dreamed still exist, and when Dew tries to battle them single-handedly he only manages to make matters worse.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Reek on October 28, 2014, 01:39:11 PM
Thank for starting the thread, I am learning a lot of stuff. Also, I never knew what a blurb was, so thank lol.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on October 28, 2014, 04:47:12 PM
Thank for starting the thread, I am learning a lot of stuff. Also, I never knew what a blurb was, so thank lol.  :)

Hi Reek. There's a ton of stuff on this site. I've learned so much, it's great. Stick around and enjoy! ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Fozzie on November 22, 2014, 03:00:33 PM
I'm new to this site and I've been browsing through the posted writing.  I read this and moved on but it stuck in my mind so much that I had to search for your post again.  All because I want to say I really like your idea of someone stealing souls to add to a bracelet.


I thought this could run the same way as First Liners. Put in genre and target audience and short blurb.(Not a synopsis.)

Here's mine to start the ball rolling. I'm not happy with it and I've got this competition looming.

Fantasy. 40,000 words. Target age 8-11yrs

Tripps believes his mother has committed murder. She is about to kill again. Lexi feels responsible for the accident that resulted in her mother's death. Syreeta knows the truth. But all she wants is to add the souls of children to her bracelet.


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on November 22, 2014, 06:28:39 PM
Hello, Fozzie. Thank you so much. I got a real buzz from your comments. Hope the rest of the story lives up to expectations. :-\

You are obviously a person with great taste!!!! ;D Hope you stick around.

Welcome to the circle. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on December 09, 2014, 10:44:31 AM
Anyone want to do a summary of their story? Good for focussing the mind. ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on December 09, 2014, 01:36:36 PM
Just a short one.

There is never a good time, but the day before your wedding maybe close to it, when you find out that your future wife is about to sleep with another man.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on December 09, 2014, 04:13:27 PM
Just a short one.

There is never a good time, but the day before your wedding maybe close to it, when you find out that your future wife is about to sleep with another man.

I like the premise of this, but I dislike the use of second person. The 'you's' feel like a prodding finger in my face! Also the whole thing isn't a done deal. The wife's about to sleep with someone else.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on December 09, 2014, 04:49:20 PM
I like the premise of this, but I dislike the use of second person. The 'you's' feel like a prodding finger in my face! Also the whole thing isn't a done deal. The wife's about to sleep with someone else.



Thank you, and you're correct I should have used the characters name instead of 'Your'.

There is never a good time, but the day before Jack's wedding maybe close to it, when he finds out that his future wife is about to sleep with another man.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on December 09, 2014, 05:12:59 PM

There is never a good time, but the day before Jack's wedding maybe close to it, This sounds unfinished.

There is never a good time For what? And should it be There never is a good time for...

but the day before Jack's wedding maybe comes close to what? a good time?

when he finds out that his future wife is about to sleep with another man. yesss, story time!   ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on December 09, 2014, 05:21:51 PM
There is never a good time, but the day before Jack's wedding maybe close to it, when he finds out that his future wife is about to sleep with another man.
It's not even a complete sentence so it's not a great showcase for the author's writing ability. I think what you're trying to say is:
Maybe the day before Jack's wedding wasn't the best time to find out his future wife was about to sleep with another man.

The indecisive 'maybe close to it' suggests even the writer can't make his/her own mind up when it's about to happen.

Would I read on? No. Domestics are not my genre.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on December 10, 2014, 04:42:02 AM



Would I read on? No. Domestics are not my genre.
H3K

Me? I'd read anything, even certain freebies from MWC! ;D Why limit myself?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: peakaboo on December 10, 2014, 05:30:27 AM
I've had this little blurb sitting in my notes on my iPod for some time, I thought of it while running on the treadmill. I just thought of it again when I saw this thread and figured why not see what others think of it.

Luke, a solitary young lesbian, is thrust into a world of alcohol, drugs, friendship and love, all while vying for the attention of a prostitute.

I realize now that this blurb is more of just a sentence. It looked a lot bigger on my iPod!

Maybe I could elaborate more? However I read somewhere that sometimes the shorter the better. Who knows, I could run into an agent at a bus stop and only have enough time to say a sentence before his/her stop comes up!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on December 10, 2014, 06:16:20 AM
Isn't Luke a guy?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: peakaboo on December 10, 2014, 06:50:46 AM
Her name is actually Lucinda, but she prefers Luke.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on December 10, 2014, 07:09:04 AM
Quote
Maybe I could elaborate more? However I read somewhere that sometimes the shorter the better. Who knows, I could run into an agent at a bus stop and only have enough time to say a sentence before his/her stop comes up!

Short is fine. But cramming so much into a single sentence is not.

1) Luke (who's a young girl)
2) is also a lesbian
3) there's alcohol involved
4) and drugs
5) plus friendship/love
6) and a hooker

All this to absorb in 25 words is too much in my opinion.
If she's a 'she' who's vying for the attention (love?) of a prostitute we'll be able to figure out her sexual orientation without you having to label her - maybe that's a start.
And a 'world of. . . friendship and love' reads strange. Aren't they both part of normal life rather than some seedy underworld?

I'd suggest you simplify the first sentence but then add a little more spice in the second. Does she get herself embroiled in trouble? How does her prostitute friend react to Luke's infatuation?
Also you need to identify your target audience maybe.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on December 10, 2014, 12:54:05 PM
OK My blurb was misleading. It was a short story I wrote on Thursday about heartbreak and betrayal with a twist.

Hilly, it's not a domestic, but that's my fault. I should have added. Jack was new in the small town and never knew about the ritual.

I wrote two more part to it on Friday, which made it a lot more darker if not creepy.

So was my fault that I tried to make it the blurb quirky.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on December 10, 2014, 02:30:15 PM
Domestic/family stories aren't really my scene either, but the thread isn't so much about personal taste as tempting publishers.  So the issue is whether the publisher being approached deals in domestic literature; and then, whether your blurb is good enough to interest him.

Rho, your concept is fine but your syntax isn't.  Any publisher is going to think: If this writer can tie himself/herself in knots in a single sentence blurb, who's going to take a risk on him/her with anything longer?

Try something like this instead:

There is never a good time to find out that your future wife intends to sleep with another man.  But the day before the wedding is about as bad as it gets.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on December 10, 2014, 05:58:36 PM
I have a specific way I want and write blurbs which I'll share.

1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.

Worth reminding everyone want a publisher wants from a blurb. It's different from the back of a book blurb. I'd say both Rho and peakaboo need to work on their plot and hook.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on December 10, 2014, 11:08:46 PM
I've had this little blurb sitting in my notes on my iPod for some time, I thought of it while running on the treadmill. I just thought of it again when I saw this thread and figured why not see what others think of it.

Luke, a solitary young lesbian, is thrust into a world of alcohol, drugs, friendship and love, all while vying for the attention of a prostitute.

I realize now that this blurb is more of just a sentence. It looked a lot bigger on my iPod!

Maybe I could elaborate more? However I read somewhere that sometimes the shorter the better. Who knows, I could run into an agent at a bus stop and only have enough time to say a sentence before his/her stop comes up!

My advice is to drop the name and change the word "solitary" because it's too cold. And the order is slightly off, it goes CHARACTER (Luke), GOAL (the prostitute), CONFLICT (whatever's stopping them from getting together right away).
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on January 24, 2015, 08:42:35 AM
Bump!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 09:52:50 AM
Good idea, Wolfe. And if I may?



Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.

She’s lived all of her 19 years surrounded by them in the old family home her Aunties runs as an Inn.  But when they insist on calling back the spirit of awful Uncle Monroe, evil enters the formerly happy house.

Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 24, 2015, 10:03:46 AM
Good idea, Wolfe. And if I may?



Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.

She’s lived all of her 19 years surrounded by them in the old family home her Aunties runs as an Inn.  But when they insist on calling back the spirit of awful Uncle Monroe, evil enters the formerly happy house.

Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?

I like the premise, Laura. Aunties runs was a bit jarring for me though.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 10:09:09 AM
A partial tweak:

Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.
She's grown used to seeing them in her old family home, the (Inn's Name) Inn.

Maybe not. Use or lose.

I like the premise though. It has a Southern charm element to it, I think, which I like.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 10:14:28 AM
The more I look at my tweak, the less I like it. Maybe someone else can do it better justice. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 24, 2015, 10:15:34 AM

Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.

She’s lived all of her 19 years surrounded by them in the old family home her Aunties runs as an Inn. That sounds clunky

But when they insist on calling back the spirit of awful Uncle Monroe comes back, evil enters the formerly happy house.

Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from in the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?

Like the idea, but maybe shorter, sharper sentences? :-\ 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 24, 2015, 10:46:28 AM
Had a tweak, Laura.


   


Annalee Bradford understands ghosts, after all they have been house guests at her aunts family run business, name of the inn for 19 years.

But the house is brought into disarray when her (need a word to describe her aunts)  aunts summon the spirit of old Uncle Monroe. But are they prepared for the evil that enters every nook and cranny?

Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from in the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?

 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 24, 2015, 11:21:24 AM
Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.
She’s lived all of her 19 years surrounded by them in the old family home her Aunties runs as an Inn.  But when they insist on calling back the spirit of awful Uncle Monroe, evil enters the formerly happy house.
Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?

This definitely needs tightening - something along the lines of:

Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts. She’s spent 19 years surrounded by them in the family-owned inn, (the King's Head?).  But when her aunts call back (why would they?) the spirit of awfully departed Uncle Monroe, evil enters their happy home.
The mysterious spectre (clunky) in the basement advises Annalee to run, but if Monroe has his way he'll destroy the mansion and everyone in it.


I feel you're trying to include too much incidental detail in the blurb. The fact that the aunts own the inn is immaterial - why would they call back a ghost? - why is the spectre in the basement labelled mysterious? - how is Monroe meant to gain strength? - and is it a mansion or an inn?

The premise is interesting up to a point, but there's nothing much here to differentiate it from every other haunted house story we've ever read. You include a 19 year-old heroine, but it reads more like a children's book (echoes of Casper?).

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on January 24, 2015, 12:13:50 PM
A few things here and there, mentioned already by the responders.

I have one more thought, more to do with the sound of your first line. I feel this is like a YA novel so the voice would be directed towards a younger crowd.

Quote
Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.


The long 'o' sound for some reason caught me, the long 'o' is then felt longer by the 's' at its end. So felt a bit like an unintentional rhyme scheme.  I believe you could start directly with ... Annalee Bradford lives with ghosts. Attach her life directly to those ghosts.

But it was more the 'o' that stalled me. Other than that, I'd read on.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 12:58:34 PM
Annalee Bradford lives with ghosts.


I do like your tweak better. It has a creepy quality that the original did not, and also saves words.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 02:03:17 PM
Thanks, folks. I'm going to completely scrap this version because from your responses I can tell I haven't communicated an accurate summary or the tone of the story.

They've called Monroe back to find out where he's hidden the family money, Hill. And I left out the name because it's the Bradford House Inn and I didn't want to repeat "Bradford". I'll have to find a way to work in both. It's difficult to find the fine line between giving away too much and sharing too little.

I do like your tweak, Simple Things. Might have to steal that one  ;)

Thanks again for sharing your opinions. It really is helpful.

Blurbs are tough!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 24, 2015, 06:01:17 PM
Blurbs are tough!

Only as tough as you make them.  ;)
How about:

Annalee knows about ghosts. She’s spent 19 years living with them in her home, the Bradford House Inn.  But now her aunts have called up the spirit of awfully departed Uncle Munroe. They hope he'll reveal where he hid the family fortune, but if he has his way he'll destroy the mansion and everyone in it.

H3K


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 06:04:49 PM
I like it. And you don't have to scrap it either, Laura. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on January 24, 2015, 06:10:45 PM
Annalee Bradford knows about ghosts.

She’s lived all of her 19 years surrounded by them in the old family home her Aunties runs as an Inn.  But when they insist on calling back the spirit of awful Uncle Monroe, evil enters the formerly happy house.

Will Annalee listen to the mysterious spectre from the basement and flee, or will she stay until Monroe grows strong enough to destroy the mansion and everyone in it?

I love it. I'd read it. I'd request pages.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 06:12:29 PM
Hill, I tend to make things as difficult as possible  ::) Nice rewrite. I'll take it into consideration.

And thanks, Vogel  :) My concern is that everyone came away with the idea that this is a YA novel, which it isn't. At least that's not my intention. In fact, it's basically a dark comedy. It's a southern fiction dark comedy.

I've written myself into a teeny-tiny niche.   :P
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 06:13:11 PM
I love it. I'd read it. I'd request pages.

Thanks for that, Wolfe  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on January 24, 2015, 06:15:09 PM
'aunties/auntie' was the only thing that steered me toward this. It felt a bit strange that a 19 year old would address them as such. But that could be my upbringing. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 06:17:22 PM
It has a Southern voice, for sure. I worry that it won't translate outside my region, but it's the book I had to write.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 06:19:06 PM
I love it. I'd read it. I'd request pages.

I did too. The premise seems "fresh", if you know what I mean. I'm intrigued by the setting, even. Original and interesting. If I was scanning shelves looking for a new book to read, I'd buy it.  :)

It has a Southern voice, for sure. I worry that it won't translate outside my region, but it's the book I had to write.

I definitely know where you are coming from, but I wouldn't worry too much. The main thing is that you stay true to yourself and your voice. We write the best when we write in a voice that's comfortable for us, I think. Or at least that's what they say. And I believe they're right.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on January 24, 2015, 06:23:38 PM
I did too. The premise seems "fresh", if you know what I mean. I'm intrigued by the setting, even. Original and interesting. If I was scanning shelves looking for a new book to read, I'd buy it.  :)

Agreed. A unique premise is a huge selling point. I can tell you, from experience, it makes a difference. I'm intrigued. And that's what you want your blurb to do. Intrigue your readers into wanting more.

Well done, Laura.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on January 24, 2015, 06:25:29 PM
The main thing is that you stay true to yourself and your voice.

I do believe that is true all day long. Thanks, Vogel  :)

Wolfe, excuse me while I go sit in the corner and blush. Thanks for the encouragement.   :)



Now, who is next with a blurb?

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 24, 2015, 06:49:05 PM


You're welcome. I meant it. As a reader, I find that fresh is hard to come by these days. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 01:22:50 PM
Okay, here goes mine

Recently widowed, Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, refuses to speak.
Alice, agoraphobic and unable to cope with her own grief, doesn’t know how to help her daughter. So when she receives news that her gran, who raised her, has had a stroke, and with Alice's mum still out of the picture, she has no option but to return to the remote Island she fled. Will Alice finally get the answers she is desperate for and why is Meredith fascinated by the next door neighbour?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 26, 2015, 03:02:05 PM
Quote
Recently widowed, Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, refuses to speak.
Alice, agoraphobic and unable to cope with her own grief, doesn’t know how to help her daughter. So when she receives news that her gran, who raised her, has had a stroke, and with Alice's mum still out of the picture, she has no option but to return to the remote Island she fled. Will Alice finally get the answers she is desperate for and why is Meredith fascinated by the next door neighbour?

There's a lot of background to take on board - dead husband, mute daughter, agoraphobic widow, grandmother (who raised her) stricken by a stroke, a remote island (that she fled), a next-door neighbour. . .
I also thought that Meredith had lost her husband the first time I read it.

I suggest you start again and focus on the relevant details in some kind of order that makes more sense - something along the lines of:

Agoraphobic Alice Hemming ran away from home once. Escaped the island where she was raised by her grandmother. But now she's trapped in silence with her eight-year-old daughter. Meredith stopped speaking the day her dad died. Now a family crisis forces Alice to revisit the island where it all began.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on January 26, 2015, 03:04:54 PM
Okay, here goes mine

Recently widowed, Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, refuses to speak.
Alice, agoraphobic and unable to cope with her own grief, doesn’t know how to help her daughter. So when she receives news that her gran, who raised her, has had a stroke, and with Alice's mum still out of the picture, she has no option but to return to the remote Island she fled. Will Alice finally get the answers she is desperate for and why is Meredith fascinated by the next door neighbour?


That's a lot of pathology.  The bigger issue for me is I am unsure what the story is:  Meredith's mutism?  The death of her father?  Mother's journey through agoraphobia and facing the island?  What answer is she desperate for - the answer to her husbands death?  Her daughter's mutism?  The events of the island?.  Finally, where did a neighbor come into the story?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 03:23:22 PM
This is why maybe I should

A) learn to plot better
B) stick to shorts
C) tame my imagination.

 ;D  :o  ::)

Thanks guys
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on January 26, 2015, 03:36:00 PM
Recently widowed, Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, refuses to speak. Alice, agoraphobic and unable to cope with her own grief, doesn’t know how to help her daughter. So when she receives news that her gran, who raised her, has had a stroke, and with Alice's mum still out of the picture, she has no option but to return to the remote Island she fled. Will Alice finally get the answers she is desperate for and why is Meredith fascinated by the next door neighbour?

I fear it's too convoluted and introduces too many characters and plot elements. Just the main plot and characters please.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 04:00:39 PM
Thanks Wolfe.

Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 26, 2015, 05:06:37 PM
Thanks Wolfe.

Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled.

I think she's got it.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on January 26, 2015, 05:16:05 PM
Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled.

I like it, but I want just a little more at the end. It feels like something is . . . missing. Lacks that ending punch I want to read. Can you revise the ending? Add a little something more?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 05:23:31 PM
I like it, but I want just a little more at the end. It feels like something is . . . missing. Lacks that ending punch I want to read. Can you revise the ending? Add a little something more?

I'm glad you said that. It felt a tad boring to me.
I will have another go.  Good to know I'm nearly there.

Thanks Wolfe and Hilly
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 05:48:29 PM
Not sure if this is too cliched.

Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled and revisit that fateful night
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 26, 2015, 06:49:55 PM
Hey, Dawn. I still feel like something's missing.



Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled and revisit that fateful night


Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. When a family crises forces her to revisit the island she fled years ago, she is forced to confront ... What?


Not necessarily in that order or in those words, but I feel like what we're missing is the conflict that Alice is going to face once on the island.

Otherwise, it sounds promising. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 26, 2015, 07:01:23 PM
Thanks Vogel,

Will that not give too much away though?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 26, 2015, 07:07:31 PM
Sorry, Dawn. I think I read the quote from the first one on Wolfe's comment, then quoted yours. I see now, she's confronting the fateful night when her husband died. Sorry, my head isn't quite in working order. Just got off work.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 26, 2015, 07:09:37 PM
Or maybe I'm still wrong. Crap. Sorry. I'm sure someone will be on here in a bit to give better advice than I'm capable of giving right now. Sorry again. :).
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on January 26, 2015, 07:09:48 PM
Thanks Vogel,

Will that not give too much away though?

If it was a blurb on the back of a book, what you wrote would be perfect. In my opinion.

This post is a blurb to the publisher, and even though I thought you gave them a synopsis, which would give everything away anyway.

As a blurb on the back of a book, this is good.

Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family

crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled and revisit that fateful night.

I'd open the book.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Gyppo on January 26, 2015, 07:12:18 PM
Sometimes a would be reader likes to know what.  Not  in full detail but enough to whet their appetite.  Surely the story lies in how she will cope now, not in what she escaped years earlier.

The past may well colour everything she does, every choice she makes, but her actions now are what the reader wants to experience.

Think how stereotyped the settings and background are for Westerns, Romances, and many Thrillers. Often with a predictable ending, but sometimes the story on the way to that ending will be compelling enough to over-ride the predictability.

Gyppo

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 27, 2015, 06:08:10 AM
If it was a blurb on the back of a book, what you wrote would be perfect. In my opinion.

This post is a blurb to the publisher, and even though I thought you gave them a synopsis, which would give everything away anyway.

As a blurb on the back of a book, this is good.

Alice Hemming is trapped in silence. Since the death of her husband, her eight-year-old daughter refuses to speak. The last thing Alice needs is a family

crisis forcing her to go back to the island she fled and revisit that fateful night.

I'd open the book.


Thanks Rho, yes the publisher would get the full blurb and synopsis. Great to hear someone say they would open the book  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 27, 2015, 06:09:13 AM
Sometimes a would be reader likes to know what.  Not  in full detail but enough to whet their appetite.  Surely the story lies in how she will cope now, not in what she escaped years earlier.

The past may well colour everything she does, every choice she makes, but her actions now are what the reader wants to experience.

Think how stereotyped the settings and background are for Westerns, Romances, and many Thrillers. Often with a predictable ending, but sometimes the story on the way to that ending will be compelling enough to over-ride the predictability.

Gyppo


Absolutely, you have hit the nail on the head. The story has twists and turns but it's about how she deals with it which is pivotal to the plot.


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 05:05:16 PM
Time to seek your opinions for a change.  ;)

The book's finished, proof-read to within an inch of its life, passed the beta reader tests and made a couple of commissioning editors take notice. Now I need a blurb.

It's a 70,000-word YA/NA novel called DARK SKY btw.

When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote, North-West Highland fishing village the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

However, with the killer still at large Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, become increasingly concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death are not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

When they finally uncover evidence that the young girl had become embroiled in a major crime the pair face a race against time that not only jeopardises their growing relationship but puts their own lives at risk.


H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 05:18:38 PM
Is this a blurb for the back cover? Not one to attract publishers?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Skylan on January 28, 2015, 05:20:00 PM
"Dark Sky", love the title. ;)

Only two things I can think of: Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, - This might just be me, but I read this as Amy being Caddy's brother. ;D Had to read a couple of times to realize it was two different people.

Also: When they finally uncover - This one is just me being picky I'm sure, but this sentence would read just fine without that 'finally'.

Good blurb. Much luck with the publishers. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 05:21:05 PM
The first sentence sounds waffly no matter who the blurb is for. Don't start with 'when'.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 05:29:22 PM
Is this a blurb for the back cover? Not one to attract publishers?

Back cover - that's why I've kept it short.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on January 28, 2015, 05:29:40 PM
Time to seek your opinions for a change.  ;)

The book's finished, proof-read to within an inch of its life, passed the beta reader tests and made a couple of commissioning editors take notice. Now I need a blurb.

It's a 70,000-word YA/NA novel called DARK SKY btw.

When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote, North-West Highland fishing village the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

However, with the killer still at large Caddy's brother Insert his name and best friend, Amy, become increasingly concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death are not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

When they finally uncover evidence that the young girl had become embroiled in a major crime the pair face a race against time that not only jeopardises their growing relationship but puts their own lives at risk.


H3K

I agree with Skylan, putting the brothers name lessens the confusion, even if it would be odd to think of him as Amy.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 05:31:17 PM
It's a 70,000-word YA/NA novel called DARK SKY btw.

When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote, North-West Highland fishing village the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

However, You need to sound more definite.  with the killer still at large clichey Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, Too many people to think about. become increasingly you'd be the first one to moan about this rambly way of writing. ;D concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death are not as clear-cut cliché as everyone thinks.

When they finally uncover evidence that the young girl had become embroiled in a major crime which young girl? the dead one? the pair face a race against time cliché that not only jeopardises their growing relationship but puts their own lives at risk.[/b]

This needs tightening.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 05:33:22 PM
Point taken, but the problem I have is that the reader mustn't find out that Matt is Caddy's brother until 10 chapters into the novel. There's a good reason for this deception.

Thanks for all your responses so far.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 05:35:18 PM
It's a 70,000-word YA/NA novel called DARK SKY btw.

When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote, North-West Highland fishing village the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

However, You need to sound more definite.  with the killer still at large clichey Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, Too many people to think about. become increasingly you'd be the first one to moan about this rambly way of writing. ;D concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death are not as clear-cut cliché as everyone thinks.

When they finally uncover evidence that the young girl had become embroiled in a major crime which young girl? the dead one? the pair face a race against time cliché that not only jeopardises their growing relationship but puts their own lives at risk.[/b]

This needs tightening.


You're right on every point. That's why I felt I needed to throw this to the pack.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on January 28, 2015, 05:36:28 PM
Caddy's brother, along with her best friend, Amy.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Skylan on January 28, 2015, 05:38:38 PM
Caddy's brother, along with her best friend, Amy.



But that reads like Amy is Caddy's brother's best friend, and Caddy's brother is actually a 'she'. Or maybe I'm already too confused to look at it. :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on January 28, 2015, 05:42:48 PM
But that reads like Amy is Caddy's brother's best friend, and Caddy's brother is actually a 'she'. Or maybe I'm already too confused to look at it. :D

Did she die on a golf course?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 05:45:37 PM
Right, you are too close to your story. From this blurb I have no idea who we are supposed to be rooting for , or indeed what the story is about.

Break it into small steps. First off, is it Amy's story?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 05:48:29 PM
Break it into small steps. First off, is it Amy's story?

It's Amy and Matt's story - the event that throws them together is Caddy's murder and the fallout that follows.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 05:52:18 PM
Caddy is/was Amy's best friend, right? So wouldn't Amy know Matt was Caddy's brother from the off?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 06:02:51 PM
Caddy is/was Amy's best friend, right? So wouldn't Amy know Matt was Caddy's brother from the off?

Of course, but the reader mustn't find out just yet.

In a nutshell Matt has been up to no good, and when the police turn up at his house (to inform the family of his kid sister's murder) he does a runner. He wrongly believes the police are there to question him regarding drug dealing.

The reader knows Caddy has been killed - and that Matt's in trouble. But we don't find out their familial realtionship until Matt sees his sister's face on the TV news (though if the reader is bright enough they might make the connection before it's revealed because I drop a couple of clues).

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 28, 2015, 06:05:12 PM
Of course, but the reader mustn't find out just yet.

In a nutshell Matt has been up to no good, and when the police turn up at his house (to inform the family of his kid sister's murder) he does a runner. He wrongly believes the police are there to question him regarding drug dealing.

The reader knows Caddy has been killed - and that Matt's in trouble. But we don't find out their familial realtionship until Matt sees his sister's face on the TV news (though if the reader is bright enough they might make the connection before it's revealed because I drop a couple of clues).

H3K




If this is a blurb for the back cover, then I wouldn't refer to him as Caddy's brother, because that's going to tip your reader off and spoil your surprise, right? Or maybe I'm missing something here.

Maybe just introduce them as Caddy's best friend Amy and a boy named Matt (or something along those lines) and that would clear up confusion, right?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 06:06:06 PM
So, it sounds like Matt's story. Sorry to bang on, but are you using Amy and Matt as POV characters?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on January 28, 2015, 06:07:27 PM
The circumstances surrounding her death throws the lives of two people together.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 28, 2015, 06:12:25 PM
Maybe just introduce them as Caddy's best friend Amy and a boy named Matt (or something along those lines) and that would clear up confusion, right?

I can't do that. The reader knows Matt already, and his shady dealings, but doesn't yet realise he's Caddy's brother.

The story is written 75% from Matt's POV (first person) and the rest in third person with Amy being the main character. I know some on here might frown at that but no one who's read the book had a problem with the switches.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 06:14:28 PM
Blurb should cover the following. Doesn't matter where the hell you are placing it.

Amy and Matt plus interesting situation. Correction: Just Matt for the blurb if he's 75% of the book he is your MC.

Show main plot.

Then show conflict.

Get to the core of your story, Hilly. Have another go.  
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Dawn on January 28, 2015, 06:17:41 PM
Time to seek your opinions for a change.  ;)

The book's finished, proof-read to within an inch of its life, passed the beta reader tests and made a couple of commissioning editors take notice. Now I need a blurb.

It's a 70,000-word YA/NA novel called DARK SKY btw.

When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote, North-West Highland fishing village the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

However, with the killer still at large Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, become increasingly concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death are not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

When they finally uncover evidence that the young girl had become embroiled in a major crime the pair face a race against time that not only jeopardises their growing relationship but puts their own lives at risk.


H3K

Now come on Hilly, too much going on. You can see that from mine. Look at the Nort West part. Why so much? You know you have to scale it down. Time for a cull.

Schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote fishing village.  With the killer still at large, Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, become concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death is not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.


Though I do think, like mine, it needs something  more at the end.


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 28, 2015, 06:49:06 PM
Matt's life is a mess. Dum di dum di dum. Police involved etc.

But when Caddy Neilson is found strangled... Put in cliff-hanger! ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 28, 2015, 06:50:05 PM
I can't do that. The reader knows Matt already, and his shady dealings, but doesn't yet realise he's Caddy's brother.

Then I might be wary of mentioning the word brother at all in the blurb. Wouldn't that make your reader suspicious that Matt is the brother early on? Because you are letting the reader know before they even read page one that Caddy has a brother, but they don't learn who the brother is until chapter ten. Especially since you mentioned a "brother" and her friend Amy in the blurb, but not your narrator and MC. I don't know. I may be wrong.

Edited: Maybe the book begins through  Amy's 3rd person POV, as they are searching to tell Caddy's brother? So the blurb would work better as it stands?

Is there a way that you could attract us to read about your MC or just include Matt, versus the mysterious brother, in the blurb without letting on that he's the brother to the victim, without mentioning a brother at all?


The story is written 75% from Matt's POV (first person) and the rest in third person with Amy being the main character. I know some on here might frown at that but no one who's read the book had a problem with the switches.

H3K

If no one had a problem with the switches, then I'd say you pulled them off well enough to make them work.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 28, 2015, 06:50:53 PM
Matt's life is a mess. Dum di dum di dum. Police involved etc.

But when Caddy Neilson is found strangled... Put in cliff-hanger! ;D

Yeah, what she ^^^ said. :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on January 28, 2015, 07:44:25 PM
This line here...

Quote
the police are quickly able to identify who murdered her and establish a motive for the crime.

felt wordy

suggestion

the police are quick to identify the murderer and establish a motive.

**

quickly - does not add speed to their identification. It's a time when that 'ly' hinders.

who murdered her - ' seems a lot of words to say the murderer, as I know who, from the first line. I know it is a crime from the first line, so it is the 'motive' which would be more important to show.

**

I imagine you'll settle this down. I am unsure if the Northern.... helps at this time. What grabbed me most is that she was found strangled. Since she is then dead, there is no need really to go any further than that for the moment. Bring in the main character, bring in the hook/etc.

Just my thoughts. I like the idea, but tweaks would help.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on January 29, 2015, 03:06:57 AM
If Matt is most of the POV in the novel, the blurb doesn't offer what the book delivers. That's a balance issue, especially if you're saying Amy is the main character. If she's getting so much less page time, the reader might not see it the same way.

Anyhow, I agree with others that the blurb needs to give us Matt and something intriguing about him if he's steering a good deal of the book. If you want to cut down on names, you don't have to name the victim, she's just a schoolgirl for now. Amy comes in second to Matt, just as she does in the book.

I also don't think it's wise to introduce a murder the police seem to solve so easily. Cut to the chase. The police are wrong or incompetent or covering something up. The victim is involved in shady stuff. Matt has his own secrets, but he can't let this lie. He and the victim's friend Amy risk (insert stakes here) to find the truth.

BTW, what makes this story special (USP)? I'm sure there's something there, but I haven't seen it in the blurb or summary.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 04:14:47 AM
Schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote fishing village.  With the killer still at large, Caddy's brother and best friend, Amy, become concerned the circumstances surrounding Caddy's death is not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

I like yours as well. Just needs something at the end about the major crime they have uncovered etc.
Back to the drawing board - and thanks again everybody.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 04:19:53 AM
Matt's life is a mess. Dum di dum di dum. Police involved etc.

But when Caddy Neilson is found strangled... Put in cliff-hanger! ;D

Yeah - I can see that working. I'm on it.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 04:29:01 AM
Maybe the book begins through  Amy's 3rd person POV, as they are searching to tell Caddy's brother? So the blurb would work better as it stands?

Is there a way that you could attract us to read about your MC or just include Matt, versus the mysterious brother, in the blurb without letting on that he's the brother to the victim, without mentioning a brother at all?


You're right about revealing she has a brother. Duh. Sometimes we're too close to see the obvious.

For what it's worth this is how the book opens:

Ch 1 - Matt is nervously watching the TV News waiting for the police to come calling.
Ch 2 - Amy discovers her best friend strangled in the back of the school bus.
Ch 3/4 - Police arrive, take control, Amy dreading what she's going to say when they ask her where she was the previous night.
Ch 5/6 - We discover Matt had been dealing drugs at the weekend, and a Polish girl OD'd. Cue the arrival of a police car outside his front door.
Ch 7 - Matt does a runner - warning his mum to tell them she doesn't know where he is. He also makes some comment that nobody was meant to get hurt.
Ch 8 onwards - Matt calls round to warn his pal Rick that the police are on the case but Rick has already disappeared (we later learn that Rick is chief suspect in the murder). Matt hitches a lift to the nearest town and while nursing a beer at a bar sees Caddy's face on the News. . .

and so on.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 04:31:18 AM
I imagine you'll settle this down. I am unsure if the Northern.... helps at this time. What grabbed me most is that she was found strangled. Since she is then dead, there is no need really to go any further than that for the moment. Bring in the main character, bring in the hook/etc.

Just my thoughts. I like the idea, but tweaks would help.

Again thanks for taking a look. You've no idea how much this helps.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 04:32:58 AM
If Matt is most of the POV in the novel, the blurb doesn't offer what the book delivers. That's a balance issue, especially if you're saying Amy is the main character. If she's getting so much less page time, the reader might not see it the same way.

Anyhow, I agree with others that the blurb needs to give us Matt and something intriguing about him if he's steering a good deal of the book. If you want to cut down on names, you don't have to name the victim, she's just a schoolgirl for now. Amy comes in second to Matt, just as she does in the book.

I also don't think it's wise to introduce a murder the police seem to solve so easily. Cut to the chase. The police are wrong or incompetent or covering something up. The victim is involved in shady stuff. Matt has his own secrets, but he can't let this lie. He and the victim's friend Amy risk (insert stakes here) to find the truth.

BTW, what makes this story special (USP)? I'm sure there's something there, but I haven't seen it in the blurb or summary.

Thanks. I'll cut and paste this into my 'Blurb' folder and have a play.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on January 29, 2015, 08:34:46 AM
I don't think there's anything earth shattering to add after all that.  Wrong order, too much confusion, etc., but I would like to encourage you also to get rid of that first line.

When I read it, and it doesn't seem to be the truth once you explained it, the case seemed solved.  There was a murder and the police found the bad guy.  A major area of conflict is seemingly resolved in a sentence.  Then there's some meddling kids who uncover more secrets.

I also second another suggestion to make this stand out more.  Currently, there is little there to set this apart from most YA mysteries.  It does sound a bit darker and grittier, which I always love, so maybe play that up.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 29, 2015, 09:21:03 AM
Coming in late, so haven't much to add except the need for a hook that ties into the title Dark Sky. Intriguing book name. Use it, or at least what it hints, in the blurb to strengthen the 'dark' aspect of the story. A YA murder mystery with twists and turns down a dark passage in a remote fishing village? JMO

Good luck with the book. If you need a review, let me know.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on January 29, 2015, 11:03:23 AM
When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote Scottish village, the police are quick to identify both murderer and motive.

But those closest to Caddy become increasingly convinced that the police have got it wrong.  Best friend Amy and the shadowy Matt uncover evidence linking the young girl to a major crime.  Time, though, is not on their side, and their quest for the truth will not only jeopardise their growing relationship but also put their own lives in danger.

                                                                                         *

Don't know if this is any help to you, Hilly.  It's your blurb, just edited down a bit.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 11:12:40 AM
When schoolgirl Caddy Neilson is found strangled in a remote Scottish village, the police are quick to identify both murderer and motive.
But those closest to Caddy become increasingly convinced that the police have got it wrong.  Best friend Amy and the shadowy Matt uncover evidence linking the young girl to a major crime.  Time, though, is not on their side, and their quest for the truth will not only jeopardise their growing relationship but also put their own lives in danger.

Don't know if this is any help to you, Hilly.  It's your blurb, just edited down a bit.

This is exactly what I was trying to say. I'll not use it verbatim but I like it.
And for those of you who think the solving of the crime right at the start removes any potential tension, there is more than enough evidence to incriminate the main suspect - but he's not the killer.

Thanks again,

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on January 29, 2015, 11:43:34 AM
You're right about revealing she has a brother. Duh. Sometimes we're too close to see the obvious.




I was kind of thinking that was what was happening here.  :)  Hell, we all do it.

For what it's worth this is how the book opens:


Ch 2 - Amy discovers her best friend strangled in the back of the school bus. Nice, I like the idea of finding the dead girl in the back of the school bus. Sounds intriguing.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 29, 2015, 11:57:08 AM
For what it's worth this is how the book opens:
Ch 2 - Amy discovers her best friend strangled in the back of the school bus. Nice, I like the idea of finding the dead girl in the back of the school bus. Sounds intriguing.

Great minds - that's how the original draft opened, but the consensus from my beta readers was that I needed to introduce Matt sooner rather than later (since most of the novel is written from his POV).
So Ch 1 is a 217-word opener with Matt stressing out waiting for a visit from the police.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 19, 2015, 02:39:57 PM
Anyone got a blurb they want destroying?  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on February 19, 2015, 05:44:50 PM
Can't wait to read this book H3K. I love good mystery thrillers with twists and turns.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 20, 2015, 04:19:35 AM
Can't wait to read this book H3K. I love good mystery thrillers with twists and turns.

Final proof copy due in today's mail. It should be 'out there' this time next week.  ;)

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on February 20, 2015, 02:46:01 PM
Final proof copy due in today's mail. It should be 'out there' this time next week.  ;)

H3K
Woohoo!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on March 02, 2015, 06:37:24 AM
I'm nearing the end of the first draft of an adult Southern mystery novel.  I'm trying to tighten my story to cut out the extraneous and \boil it down, so I thought the best way was the blurb it so I can see the essence.  This is a bit barebones but wanted to get everyone's opinions.  I feel like it by paring it down it became generic.

Ethan Grey, content and distant from his past, is jerked from his life when a childhood friend arrives at his doorstep in the middle of the night.  He is the suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend and Ethan, driven by a debt he can never repay, agrees to help him clear his name.  In a Southern town rife with drugs, sex, and violence, where everyone has secrets, can Ethan uncover the truth?  And what will it cost? 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 02, 2015, 07:08:27 AM
Ethan Grey, content and distant from his past, is jerked from his life when a childhood friend arrives at his doorstep in the middle of the night.  He (Ethan? Or the guy at the door? Consider using the childhood friend's name, so one isn't confused by all the various "he"s. Also this first sentence reads passive, making the MC seem passive, a victim, from the get go.) is the suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend and Ethan, driven by a debt he can never repay, agrees to help him clear his name(Who's name? Ethan's? Or the old friend's?).  In a Southern town rife with drugs, sex, and violence, where everyone has secrets, can Ethan uncover the truth?  And what will it cost?

In my opinion, each sentence seems disconnected from another. I'm not feeling any tension growing or building. It seems the energy flow should build from each phrase and sentence with a crescendo that beckons you to walk to the check-out line, pull out your wallet and buy this story. I'm not feeling that in this version. I know there is an art to writing these blurbs. Experts on here will craft away on this.

In the meantime ask: What does this story have that no other has? What emotional kernel is at the crux of your story? Show or allude to that emotion. I sense no emotional urgency in this version of your blurb.

Consider: Sex. Drugs. Violence. Secrets: everyone has them in Southerntown, USA, including Ethan Grey. His secrets were buried safe in the past, until a knock on the door thrusts Ethan into the middle...

Also, is it true your story revolves around the MC trying to clear the name of an old friend from suspicion? Consider a reader might be more invested if the MC were trying to clear his own name from suspicion as well. What are the ultimate stakes for your MC? Is it uncovering truth? That seems too abstract for a reader? Saving his friends name? Life? That's more concrete for a reader. Saving his own name? His own life? Very concrete for a reader. Finding his girlfriend? Saving her life? Your original blurb seems centered around the friend in the middle of the night; and snuck in there, as an after thought, was: a missing girl. A missing girl! Why is that not more prominent in your blurb? Particularly in the wake of Gone Girl. Is your MC at all concerned with finding the missing girlfriend? Or just clearing his old friend's name?

NOTE: In the wake of Mrs N's distinction below, my rewrite suggestion seems more geared to the jacket-kind-of-blurb.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on March 02, 2015, 07:35:30 AM
Ethan Grey, content and distant from his past, is jerked from his life when a childhood friend arrives at his doorstep in the middle of the night.  He is the suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend and Ethan, driven by a debt he can never repay, agrees to help him clear his name.  In a Southern town rife with drugs, sex, and violence, where everyone has secrets, can Ethan uncover the truth?  And what will it cost? 

Lack of tension is certainly a problem here.  The words seem to promise it but, emotionally, nothing emerges.  I think you're focusing on the wrong things.  I'm intrigued by the "distant from his past" phrase, but it feels it belongs more in the story than in the blurb.  I'd be inclined to rejig a bit:

Ethan Grey's comfortable life is interrupted by the arrival, in the middle of the night, of a man on the run from the police.  Owing this friend of his childhood more than he can hope to repay, Ethan wants to help solve the mystery of the missing girlfriend.  But this is a Southern town where drugs, sex, violence and secrets are everywhere, and it won't be easy to get at the truth.  And the cost may be more than he ever expected.   
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 07:38:06 AM
Let's just remind ourselves what Mr Guru wants.


I have a specific way I want and write blurbs which I'll share.
1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 07:39:00 AM
And Mrs Guru  ;D

There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.

The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.  Hard to improve on Wolfe's advice for this.  What they're looking for is the ultimate synopsis - a beginning, a middle and an end, in maybe 150 words.  They need an overview of the finished product.  They don't want catchy or clever, but they do want a fair representation of how you write.

If your pitch is successful, the second kind of blurb you'll be asked for is for the jacket, to be read by potential purchasers.  This time you don't want to tell the whole story, however briefly.  You want to introduce your main characters, in just enough words that PPs might start caring what happens to them, and sketch in the difficulties they face (if no difficulties, no book!) but stop short of the spoiler than might make a PP think, "Well, now I know what happens I don't need to buy it!"  Some sort of a cliff-hanger, as long as it isn't too crude, can work well, completing the blurb but leaving the PP wanting more.

Writing a good blurb is harder than it sounds.  The fewer words you have to play with - the publisher will specify what he wants for the jacket - the harder it is.  I always find I've grossly over-written, but the exercise of cropping is beneficial in its own right: makes me concentrate on what really matters.

I wish somebody could tell me how to insert these quotes from page one. I had to do this in the two stages. I'm sure there's a better way. ::)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 02, 2015, 07:46:42 AM
great distinction Mrs N. The one I normally think of is the jacket blurb. This would be a good distinction to carry forth in this thread. Consider crafting both types for input and critique?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 07:56:25 AM
I'm sending out to an agent and she wants a three line synopsis, so I'm so glad of Wolfe's input. Also I was sitting, thinking, three line, not three sentences. Just something else to worry about!  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 02, 2015, 07:59:15 AM
I'm sending out to an agent and she wants a three line synopsis, so I'm so glad of Wolfe's input. Also I was sitting, thinking, three line, not three sentences. Just something else to worry about!  ;D

By "three lines" do you mean the actual length of three full manuscript formatted lines?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on March 02, 2015, 07:59:46 AM
So just to clear things up for me, because sometime I need it broken down like a five year old:

Publisher blurb:  Intro of protagonist and problem--> major plot points without need to be deceptive (basically I can give away the story somewhat) --> hook or the question to be resolved through the novel

vs.

Book Jacket:  Intro of protagonist and problem --> deceptive and suspense driving plot --> hook

Is that the gist?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 08:03:39 AM
Yep, that's it. You have a good command of language for a five year old.  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 02, 2015, 08:05:44 AM
So just to clear things up for me, because sometime I need it broken down like a five year old:

Publisher blurb:  Intro of protagonist and problem--> major plot points without need to be deceptive (basically I can give away the story somewhat) --> hook or the question to be resolved through the novel

vs.

Book Jacket:  Intro of protagonist and problem --> deceptive and suspense driving plot --> hook

Is that the gist?

This is a good reference. Thank you Emery and Mrs N. I'm a five year old too and need the same "spelling out" of things.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 08:11:11 AM
Ethan Grey, content and distant from his past, is jerked from his life when a childhood friend arrives at his doorstep in the middle of the night. 

  He Is there any way you/we can stay with Ethan rather than going off with matey?

 is the suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend and Ethan, driven by a debt he can never repay, Why bother then?

agrees to help him clear his name.  In a Southern town rife with drugs, sex, and violence, where everyone has secrets, can Ethan uncover the truth?  And at what will it cost? 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 08:20:57 AM
By "three lines" do you mean the actual length of three full manuscript formatted lines?

 ???
Just at the start of the query letter they want a three line synopsis. Don't start throwing me other stuff to worry about.  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 02, 2015, 08:41:36 AM
???
Just at the start of the query letter they want a three line synopsis. Don't start throwing me other stuff to worry about.  ;D

I was just trying to gauge what 'three lines' was... which is 'lines' not sentences... meaning one can have more than three sentences in a three line synopsis?

Remember... I'm a five year old who needs it all spelled out... and I speak in constant ellipses... drifting from one thought... to the next. ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on March 02, 2015, 08:43:21 AM
There are two kinds of blurb that authors need to produce, and they are subtly different.

The thread refers specifically to hooking the publisher, which is the first and probably the most important thing we need to do.  Hard to improve on Wolfe's advice for this.  What they're looking for is the ultimate synopsis - a beginning, a middle and an end, in maybe 150 words.  They need an overview of the finished product.  They don't want catchy or clever, but they do want a fair representation of how you write.

If your pitch is successful, the second kind of blurb you'll be asked for is for the jacket, to be read by potential purchasers.  This time you don't want to tell the whole story, however briefly.  You want to introduce your main characters, in just enough words that PPs might start caring what happens to them, and sketch in the difficulties they face (if no difficulties, no book!) but stop short of the spoiler than might make a PP think, "Well, now I know what happens I don't need to buy it!"  Some sort of a cliff-hanger, as long as it isn't too crude, can work well, completing the blurb but leaving the PP wanting more.

Writing a good blurb is harder than it sounds.  The fewer words you have to play with - the publisher will specify what he wants for the jacket - the harder it is.  I always find I've grossly over-written, but the exercise of cropping is beneficial in its own right: makes me concentrate on what really matters.

And Mrs Guru  ;D

I wish somebody could tell me how to insert these quotes from page one. I had to do this in the two stages. I'm sure there's a better way. ::)
Hi Mrs N,
Not sure what you mean about inserting from page one, but I used the 'Quote' box in the upper right corner of Jo's Sept 18 post to begin this post then went to your post shown in the most recent page of topic summaries below my reply draft box and clicked 'insert post' located in the upper right corner. The result is both posts in quote boxes as seen above.

It is also possible to create a quote box around any text you type by starting with '[quite]' in the front (I deliberately mispelled quote to prevent a quote box from being created in this explanation) and '[/quote]' at the end. Leave out the ' s of course. When you use this technique there is no quote author recognized. You would have to include 'author=Mrs N' after the word quote. This is HTML (hyper text markup language) code that the MWC website understands when it shows up in a text reply. Another example: to make text bold simply add a b inside square brackets in front of the text you want bold and place /b in square brackets afterwards. The square brackets tell the website to interpret it as HTML code. More than you probably care to know.  ;D

Hope this helps.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 08:49:28 AM
May I PM you, AQ? Don't want to derail this any more with my incompetence.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 02, 2015, 09:03:22 AM
I was just trying to gauge what 'three lines' was... which is 'lines' not sentences... meaning one can have more than three sentences in a three line synopsis.

Remember... I'm a five year old who needs it all spelled out... and I speak in constant ellipses... drifting from one thought... to the next. ;D

That's what I was trying to determine, Miggsy. In the end I did three lines in three sentences, or should that be three sentences in three lines?  :-\ Just playing it safe. Says one who has the understanding of a six month old. You five year olds are way ahead. ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on March 02, 2015, 10:49:41 AM
Sorry, but understanding more of what this blurb should entail and taking in the comments, I tried again.  I'm just not sure how much detail to include or character's names, I don't want it to get bog down in minutiae or end up with overly complex sentences just the relay information.  I wanted to include something about his fiancée leaving him, getting fired from his job, and the discovery of the body, along with another murder, but it got too dense.  I also have religious themes throughout but didn't know if I should introduce this imagery here.  Anyway, here's round 2:

Ethan Grey’s comfortable life is shattered when his foster brother, Wade, arrives on his doorstep.  The prime suspect in his girlfriend’s disappearance, Wade implores Ethan for help clearing his name.  Owing a debt he could never fully repay formed through years of abuse and neglect, Ethan leaves his home and fiancée for the town of John’s Creek.  In the Southern city where everyone has secrets, Ethan navigates drug dealers, religious zealots, corrupt police, and sex workers to uncover the truth.  When he falls in love with the victim’s best friend and realizes their lives are at risk, he understands that everyone in John’s Creek is trying to escape their past, and some will kill to keep it buried.


The hook at the end felt really cheesy to me, but it was hard for me to get a hook for a mystery that didn't come across clichéd.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on March 02, 2015, 11:06:53 AM
Don't overthink it.  :)

Three great sentences that summarize the book. It's not easy, but it can be done.

Emery, I think you might try inserting some attitude into the summary. Maybe that will help you crystallize this. If the book is in Ethan's POV, maybe get a flavor of him the prose. How would he summarize what he went through to a guy sitting in a bar?

Just an exercise to free up the writing. Might reveal some nice turns of phrase and inject character into the summary. Character is everything, plot is second. Or I should say, character + a great premise + good prose = agent/publisher/reader interest.  ;)

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on March 05, 2015, 10:40:31 AM
A blurb not only summarizes the plot in 3 sentences (or 3 short paragraphs) it also shows a prospective publisher how economical you can be with words and how clearly you can write.

So, consider your first 2 sentences:

Ethan Grey’s comfortable life is shattered when his foster brother, Wade, arrives on his doorstep.  The prime suspect in his girlfriend’s disappearance, Wade implores Ethan for help clearing his name.

Aside from the clunky repetitiveness - whose girlfriend has disappeared? It could just as easily be Ethan's on first read.

Owing a debt he could never fully repay formed through years of abuse and neglect, Ethan leaves his home and fiancée for the town of John’s Creek.

Is this the same story? Because it reads like there's a new conflict. The first story is about Wade's fight to clear his name after his girlfriend disappears. The second is about Ethan abandoning everything he holds dear to pay a debt.

In the Southern city When did it grow from being just a town? where everyone has secrets This is coming across as formulaic now, Ethan navigates drug dealers How exactly?, religious zealots, corrupt police, and sex workers to uncover the truth.

You have now thrown so many genre elements into the plot we have no idea what the story is really going to be about. Presumably it involves them all - but overloading the blurb with this amount of detail will work against you.

When he falls in love with the victim’s best friend What? and realizes their lives are at risk, Weak  he understands that everyone in John’s Creek is trying to escape their past, and some will kill to keep it buried.

Does he realise their lives are at risk or does he do something that puts their lives at risk. The first = no story. The second = potential story - but I'm seeing so many disconnected plot threads that you'll have a problem convincing any publisher you're in full control of the storyline.

-

Compare the condensed 3-sentence version:

John's Creek is a homely Southern town - homely to hookers, drug dealers, Bible bashers and dishonest policemen.
It's also the last place on Earth Ethan Grey wants to be.
But when his foster brother, Wade, is implicated in the disappearance of a young woman Ethan is forced to abandon everything he holds dear and place his own life at risk in an attempt to clear his brother's name.

I'm sure you can do better than this ^^ - but bear in mind we don't need all the plot background at this point. Just enough for us to see what your hero is up against and make us keen to find out more.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Wolfe on March 05, 2015, 11:10:28 AM
Needs to be tighter.


Ethan Grey’s comfortable life is shatters when his foster brother, Wade, arrives on his doorstep (cliche - consider: returns).  The prime suspect in after his girlfriend’s disappearances, Wade implores Ethan for help clearing his name.  Owing a debt he could never fully repay formed through years of abuse and neglect, Ethan leaves his home and fiancée for the town of John’s Creek.  In the Southern city where everyone has secrets, Ethan navigates drug dealers, religious zealots, corrupt police, and sex workers to uncover the truth.  When he falls in love with the victim’s best friend and realizes their lives are at risk, he understands that everyone in John’s Creek is trying to escape their past, and some will kill to keep it their's buried.


Without editing remarks:


Ethan Grey's life shatters when his brother returns after his girlfriend disappears. In the South, everyone has secrets. But some kill to keep their's buried.


Remember, you only want to interest your audience. Tight specifics are better than long, convoluted, and vague details. Three sentences. It can be done.

Work on it more to bring the plot out.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on March 05, 2015, 11:49:37 AM
Thanks for the input. 

I felt the plot getting muddy, subplots wanting to become more than they should be and scenes I found interesting but not tightly connected to the main plot.  Before I started revising I really wanted to get a handle on what the story is and thought one of the better ways was to do the blurb.  I can see my concerns with the story were probably well founded and need to trim the fat and weave the subplots/plot tighter.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on March 19, 2015, 12:56:47 PM
Anyone with a blurb to tell?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on March 20, 2015, 11:10:22 AM
Oh, yes. Please do. Someone share. It's too quiet around here.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on March 22, 2015, 03:05:26 PM
Here's another Southern Lit blurb for you guys rip apart  ;D. Needed a break from the book, so thought it'd be fun to play around with this again today. I've been tweaking this so long my head hurts and I'm still not satisfied.


Fueling a fire still sizzling with racial tensions leftover from the Civil Rights Movement, Ruth, the daughter of an alcoholic minister, unwittingly brings the local Klan down on a new shopkeeper in town named Flora Hayes. When they discover that Flora is secretly selling witchcraft to the women of Damascus, they'll do anything to see that she's physically removed from their little town forever. The Klan suspects Flora of not only tainting innocent minds, but also uncovering long-buried secrets in the search of her missing brother.  There's one person who can help. Ruth wants to do what's right, by everyone. But she quickly learns that to help Flora, she must sacrifice her family and their secrets, and in turn, incriminate herself.


Thanks for the help in advance. Not sure if I followed the rules right on how to do this, but there it is.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on March 22, 2015, 08:04:24 PM
Here's another Southern Lit blurb for you guys rip apart  ;D. Needed a break from the book, so thought it'd be fun to play around with this again today. I've been tweaking this so long my head hurts and I'm still not satisfied.


Fueling a fire still sizzling with racial tensions leftover from the Civil Rights Movement, Ruth, the daughter of an alcoholic minister, unwittingly brings the local Klan down on a new shopkeeper in town named Flora Hayes. When they discover that Flora is secretly selling witchcraft to the women of Damascus, they'll do anything to see that she's physically removed from their little town forever. The Klan suspects Flora of not only tainting innocent minds, but also uncovering long-buried secrets in the search of her missing brother.  There's one person who can help. Ruth wants to do what's right, by everyone. But she quickly learns that to help Flora, she must sacrifice her family and their secrets, and in turn, incriminate herself.


Thanks for the help in advance. Not sure if I followed the rules right on how to do this, but there it is.

121 words. Let's see if we can pare down the word count while we make it more pithy. Publishers are busy. Ask them to read fewer words and you will improve chances of consideration.

I'll start by striking some adverbs and adjectives, but add stronger verbs at the same time.

Next, be sure only three essential components are in the blurb (à la Wolfe's suggestions in an earlier thread):
1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.

Your blurb does an admirable job observing the above, but here's a suggested alternative to consider (97 words). I don't know if you've kept the family name, but I added it to balance use of Flora's full name, especially since Ruth is the MC.

Ruth Shepherd stokes the fire of racial tension smoldering in a rural North Carolina town when she helps a newly arrived shopkeeper named Flora Hayes search for a missing brother. The daughter of a minister, Ruth wants to do what's right, but the Klan has other ideas. They are worried that long-buried secrets will be uncovered and they discover Flora is selling witchcraft to the women of Damascus, adding one more reason to drive her out. Ruth quickly learns if she wants to help she must sacrifice her own family secrets, and in turn, incriminate herself.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on March 23, 2015, 05:10:31 AM

Fueling a fire still sizzling with racial tensions leftover from the Civil Rights Movement, Ruth, the daughter of an alcoholic minister, unwittingly brings the local Klan down on a new shopkeeper in town named Flora Hayes. When they discover that Flora is secretly selling witchcraft to the women of Damascus, they'll do anything to see that she's physically removed from their little town forever. The Klan suspects Flora of not only tainting innocent minds, but also uncovering long-buried secrets in the search of her missing brother.  There's one person who can help. Ruth wants to do what's right, by everyone. But she quickly learns that to help Flora, she must sacrifice her family and their secrets, and in turn, incriminate herself.


I think you're trying to pack too much into your pitch.  Pare it down.  All these details will find their place in your book, you don't need to fit them all into the blurb.  Maybe something like this:

With racial tensions still sizzling in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, the Klan can't tolerate the arrival of Flora Hayes on a mission to spread witchcraft in the southern town of Damascus.  It's not just what she's selling that causes such alarm: it's what she might discover about the disappearance of her brother.  Minister's daughter Ruth could help - but only at a terrible cost to her own family and herself.

Any help?

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on March 23, 2015, 04:38:53 PM

Fueling a fire still sizzling with racial tensions leftover from the Civil Rights Movement, Ruth, the daughter of an alcoholic minister, unwittingly brings the local Klan down on a new shopkeeper in town named Flora Hayes. When they discover that Flora is secretly selling witchcraft to the women of Damascus, they'll do anything to see that she's physically removed from their little town forever. The Klan suspects Flora of not only tainting innocent minds, but also uncovering long-buried secrets in the search of her missing brother.  There's one person who can help. Ruth wants to do what's right, by everyone. But she quickly learns that to help Flora, she must sacrifice her family and their secrets, and in turn, incriminate herself.


I'm going to respond without reading the other points yet and I'm not good at these nor am I sure I completely understand the goal -- is it to relay the plot to a publisher or spark interest (like a movie trailer)?  That's the warning.

Either way, some things are not needed.  Save the alcoholic minister for later.  Also, I'm not sure if I'm as interested in your MC Ruth as I am Flora -- you mentioned Ruth by name twice but Flora four times.  Flora is also the driving force in most of the sentences.  This can be Flora's story through Ruth's eyes, but it still felt weird to me.

I'm not going to attempt to rewrite since I'm sure I would butcher it, but my advice--nail the setting and the main character first, give me a plot point or two with Ruth as an active participant, and then some variation on your final line.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on March 23, 2015, 04:41:48 PM
I tend to agree with what others have mentioned: that you're trying to say too much in this blurb, hoping to make a spectacular impression maybe. There's a lot of extraneous detail that's better left for the story itself.

Does it matter in the blurb that Ruth's father is revealed as an alcoholic? or that Flora is new in town?
You have to decide whose story you're telling - Ruth's or Flora's. As it stands the blurb is inconclusive. Using the 3 sentence template you might consider something along these lines:

1) When Ruth Shepherd publicly defends shopkeeper Flora Hayes the young girl's innocent action unwittingly brings both of them to the attention of the local Klan.
2) Amongst other accusations the locals regard the woman as a witch but the Klan are more concerned about Flora's search for her missing brother.
3) In trying to do what's right by everyone Ruth is forced to sacrifice her own family and in turn incriminate herself.

(70 words)

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on March 23, 2015, 06:17:36 PM
I tend to agree with what others have mentioned: that you're trying to say too much in this blurb, hoping to make a spectacular impression maybe. There's a lot of extraneous detail that's better left for the story itself.

Does it matter in the blurb that Ruth's father is revealed as an alcoholic? or that Flora is new in town?
You have to decide whose story you're telling - Ruth's or Flora's. As it stands the blurb is inconclusive. Using the 3 sentence template you might consider something along these lines:

1) When Ruth Shepherd publicly defends shopkeeper Flora Hayes the young girl's innocent action unwittingly brings both of them to the attention of the local Klan.
2) Amongst other accusations the locals regard the woman as a witch but the Klan are more concerned about Flora's search for her missing brother.
3) In trying to do what's right by everyone Ruth is forced to sacrifice her own family and in turn incriminate herself.

(70 words)

H3K


H3K nailed it, IMO. Less is more and the three bullets do it nicely.  ;D

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on March 24, 2015, 05:00:31 PM
Thanks everybody.

I think you're all right. I've put too much focus on Flora, when this is Ruth's story. And it is, but the phrasing and focus here is all wrong. Ruth is the driving force, the person who continuously makes problems worse for herself, and as a consequence, Flora, when she seeks Flora's help over a personal issue and perpetuates several lies to protect herself and her father, that put everyone at risk, preventing ... well I won't ramble on forever about it. There's a major Ruth centered plot that is intertwined with the Flora missing brother plot, though I haven't figured out how to include it without spoiling it, if that makes sense. It's so hard to decide what information to give in the blurb. You've all given me a lot to think about and everyone made great points.

Jo, I like the way you simplified my original. I have to keep in mind to keep it simple, and AQ, I do need to pare it down. I thought it might be a bit wordy. And H3K and Emery, you hit it on the nail with the Flora versus Ruth thing. I agree with AQ, you nailed it. The drunken father does seem a bit extraneous now that you mention it.

Thanks again.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on March 24, 2015, 05:00:42 PM
Who's next?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on April 21, 2015, 06:25:58 PM
Any blurbs, anyone? Heidi?  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: thatollie on April 21, 2015, 07:00:05 PM
Alright, I'll post one.

A young detective falls in love with a girl who lives in a painting during the day, and only comes out after dark to dance in nightclubs.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on April 21, 2015, 07:11:30 PM

(insert name) a young detective falls in love with a picture of a girl in a painting.

What (insert name) doesn't realise is that the girl is real.

She stays in the picture during the day, but at night she can escape her confinement to boogie on down.

Her real motive is to kill every artist who have prisoned people like her in their work.



 :P
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on April 21, 2015, 07:30:15 PM
A young detective falls in love with a girl who lives in a painting during the day, and only comes out after dark to dance in nightclubs.

Hmm, sounds more like an idea than a blurb. Come back when you've written the story. ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: heidi52 on April 22, 2015, 09:28:25 AM
Her looks were always very important to Portia, and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day. Desperate to not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test that she believes will halt the natural decline. Things go horribly wrong when, buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on April 22, 2015, 11:26:54 AM
Her looks were always very important to Portia, and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day. Desperate to not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test that she believes will halt the natural decline. Things go horribly wrong when, buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare.


I'm not very good at these, so bear with me while I meander through it.  My first read I came away with the feeling that the plot was tight, it is clear what the 'story' is, but seemed a little weak to me for some reason.  I think it has to do with the modifiers maybe?

Her looks were always very important to Portia, and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day. -->
Looks were everything to Portia and at 54 she sees herself aging everyday.  
I'm not sure if this is better, but the 'very' 'always' 'older and older' 'each passing day' could be altered to tighten it a bit.  However, it doesn't really hit too hard, so maybe I'm completely wrong.

Desperate to not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test that she believes will halt the natural decline.  -->
Desperate, she agrees to be part of a drug test to halt the decline.  
Again, not sure if it's better.  Risky seems redundant when you already are testing an unknown drug to me, and somehow seems a bit melodramatic.  'that she believes' seemed unneeded to me.  The 'natural' adjective may fit as a juxtaposition to the drug though.

Things go horribly wrong when, buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare.
I had trouble here changing things around without altering the sentence completely.  The dependent clause interrupted the flow to me but didn't seem to add anything by doing so as far as effect.  Then the last 'her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare' is pushing cliché.  Especially with the 'fountain of youth' combined with the dream into a nightmare phrase.  Not sure, but I might change to something:  Thrilled with the results, Portia takes more of the drug than she should (clunky phrase--maybe overdoses? overuses?) and turns her dreams of youth into a nightmare.

Again, I'm not good with these as it is clear I am too verbose and like to muddy things, but removing some of the hedging modifiers and giving the last sentence a bit more of a punch would help I think.

For what it is worth, I like the premise and think the story itself has potential.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 22, 2015, 01:09:15 PM
Great premise for a story but you make rather a meal of blurbing it.

Her looks were always very important to Portia, and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day.
'very important' - is this more 'important' than 'important'?
'now at 54' - and is this age important enough to warrant a mention in a blurb?
'sees herself looking older and older with each passing day' - that's a lot of words to say very little.

Desperate to not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test that she believes will halt the natural decline.
'to not lose any more ground' is again a cumbersome expression - who or what is she losing ground against exactly?
'that she believes will halt the natural decline' - too wordy again imo.

Things go horribly wrong when, buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare.
The time frame now becomes over-complicated. Things don't go wrong until after she overdoses.
And 'a fountain of youth' is dangerously close to cliché territory.
It's also noticeable how many times you use the word 'she' in the blurb. 5 times in 3 sentences.

Maybe something along these lines:

Portia has always cherished her youthful looks. The thought of aging gracefully is so unbearable that she volunteers to trial a new experimental drug designed to delay the inevitable. The initial results are indeed encouraging. But Portia's vanity drives her to increase the dosage until her dream of everlasting beauty transforms into a nightmare.

I'm sure you can do better but you get the idea.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on April 22, 2015, 06:42:58 PM
I have a specific way I want and write blurbs which I'll share.

1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.


Hi Heidi. As you can see you haven't fulfilled the blurb requirements, with especial attention to plot and the end hook that would make us want to pick up the book and read it.

Her looks were always very important to Portia., and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day. Desperate to halt the natural decline   not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test. that she believes will halt the natural decline.

Things go horribly wrong when, Buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare. Expand and show us some details/conflict.

Easy, ain't it. ;D

 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on April 22, 2015, 07:14:12 PM
Her looks were always very important to Portia, and now at 54 she sees herself looking older and older with each passing day. Desperate to not lose any more ground, she agrees to be part of a risky drug test that she believes will halt the natural decline. Things go horribly wrong when, buoyed by the initial results, she takes more of the drug than she should and her dream of a fountain of youth turns into a nightmare.

I think you have everything you need, but cut the repeats. You want to keep this on the story. ' fountain of youth' and 'nightmare' pull away from the story. One is a strong image, the other is stigmatic. I think a full name helps. So my thoughts are given below. I tried to keep it within your thoughts, though know we all write differently so have to say it our own ways. :)

so for example:


At 54, Portia Campbell will risk anything to keep her good looks, even if it means taking an experimental drug. The inital results are spetacular, compliments keep flying in. She wants more. Two pills made her beautiful, Portia wonders what four will do. The results are horrific.


I'm sure there's a calculate formula of what to put in. They do help, like an outline. Try to summarise and yet keep the images attached, linked. So a path can be seen, but the journey still not.

ramble - sorry

Best luck in publishing
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on April 22, 2015, 07:56:33 PM
Hi Heidi  :)

I'm certainly intrigued by your story, but the blurb needs a re-do. You've gotten lot's of good feedback, and I particularly like ST's rewrite as I think it retains your voice.

I do think you should end with a question that makes one want to find the answer - will Portia be able to face the horrific results or somesuch.

Again - intrigued by your story  ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: JJ_Enchanted on April 22, 2015, 10:35:32 PM
Some really fabulous tips and advice!  Wow, I'm impressed with the clarity and strength of the comments here.  It may be a while before I can contribute anything helpful on construction, I'm just not on the same level at the mo! :s
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: heidi52 on April 23, 2015, 12:14:42 PM
I'm sorry I have been so late acknowledging everyone's excellent advice. I hate it when real life drama interrupts what I would rather be doing, but afraid that is the case for me right now. Will be back in a few days to comment properly, in the meantime, THANK YOU.  :)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on April 23, 2015, 06:02:21 PM
I hope all is well, Heidi.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 29, 2015, 09:03:11 AM
Something I'm still working on - a quirky novel for children, hence the style:

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. Not card tricks or rabbit in a hat magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander gets mistaken for a real goose and is accidentally eaten.
So it's left to Emma-Jay to battle against Heggotty, the neighbourhood witch, who promised a curse upon the girl even before she got born.


Working title : 'Emma-Jay and the Witch's Promise'

Any thoughts greatly appreciated (and possibly ignored).

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on April 29, 2015, 10:42:56 AM
Something I'm still working on - a quirky novel for children, hence the style:

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. Not card tricks or rabbit in a hat magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander gets mistaken for a real goose and is accidentally eaten.
So it's left to Emma-Jay to battle against Heggotty, the neighbourhood witch, who promised a curse upon the girl even before she got born.


Working title : 'Emma-Jay and the Witch's Promise'

Any thoughts greatly appreciated (and possibly ignored).

H3K


The first lines I really dig.  I get the whimsical feel and a good huh? when the ocean out of a hole line comes around.  The "It's super fun" maybe trying a bit too hard.
You lost me a bit in the second line.  I get the Pike into a fish and Gander into a goose, but had to read 'accidentally eaten' twice to absorb it.  The blurb kind of took a left turn and without some sort of hint at menace it really came out of left field.
Speaking of left field, the final line took an even bigger turn.  The neighborhood witch with a curse?  It's almost like this is an entirely different story.

I think I have two issues here.  One, the 3 lines don't flow into each other.  It seems disjointed and an almost illogical flow, especially the accidentally eaten.  The entire second line is a review of the story, and a major plot twist, but I don't think it does anything for me in regards to piquing interest.  The second, and my bigger issue, is I'm not sure what the story is.  Is it magical Emma-Jay pulling out the ocean and dealing with the consequences?  Is it fighting the magic that gets Gander eaten?  Is it Heggotty and the curse? 

From your title, I'm assuming it's Heggotty, which almost seems like an afterthought in the blurb.

Granted, this isn't my genre and my kids aren't old enough yet for these books, but overall it's suffering from lack of cohesion and leaves me with the impression that the author will be trying to do too much which will result in a completely muddled story.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 29, 2015, 11:12:38 AM
Good points.

Heggotty's curse is what allows Emma-Jay to do her magic - so I need to establish that fact (which I haven't). Heggotty is angered by E-J's growing powers and turns Gander into a goose (he is indeed accidentally eaten by the main characters) and Pike is temporarily transformed into a fish - which leaves Emma-Jay to battle the evil witch alone. I can see that as it stands the plot direction seems disjointed (I'll not even mention the trip to New Orleans and the other children Heggotty casts her evil spells upon).

Although the subject matter might come across as kiddies' stuff it's definitely a darker tale - and the style of narrative will hopefully keep older readers amused enough to suspend disbelief a little further.

Thanks for your input.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on April 29, 2015, 11:22:19 AM
I like the story idea. Just wondered if her pulling an ocean out of the ground implies she does magic. I see why you had the magic trick build up, but maybe you don't need it if you focus the blurb more on the witch. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 29, 2015, 12:12:05 PM
Good point. 'Pulling an ocean out of a hole' is the trick that gets her in bother with the witch.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on April 29, 2015, 01:11:44 PM
Something I'm still working on - a quirky novel for children, hence the style:

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. Not card tricks or rabbit in a hat magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander gets mistaken for a real goose and is accidentally eaten.
So it's left to Emma-Jay to battle against Heggotty, the neighbourhood witch, who promised a curse upon the girl even before she got born.


Working title : 'Emma-Jay and the Witch's Promise'

Any thoughts greatly appreciated (and possibly ignored).

H3K


I'm super interested in reading on.

Wonder if it should be "rabbit-in-a-hat".

"Pulling an ocean out of a hole" hooked me.

The pal mistaken as a goose, lost me at first. But as I write this I see the relationship to his name—Gander—and find it kind of brilliant now.

"She got born" had me scratching my head... but I gather it's the conversational grammar of the narrator... and would continue to be supported as such through the rest of the story.

Go for it. I love the idea and am intrigued.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 29, 2015, 02:28:24 PM
Thanks for your comments.

Yeah, it's Gandalf - or Gander to his pals. . . No relation to the other guy but his mother was a LOTR fan.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on April 29, 2015, 05:55:46 PM

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. Not card tricks or rabbit in a hat magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander is gets mistaken for a real goose and is accidentally eaten.
So it's left to Emma-Jay has to battle against Heggotty, the neighbourhood witch, who promised a cursed upon the girl even before she got was born.



Sounds fun. ;D

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Rho on April 29, 2015, 06:25:19 PM


Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. There are no card tricks or pulling rabbits out of hats, but real magic.

I like this. My alternative is so you don't have 'magic' three times in the two sentences.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on April 29, 2015, 07:00:56 PM
Something I'm still working on - a quirky novel for children, hence the style:

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does magic. Not card tricks or rabbit in a hat magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander gets mistaken for a real goose and is accidentally eaten.
So it's left to Emma-Jay to battle against Heggotty, the neighbourhood witch, who promised a curse upon the girl even before she got born.


Working title : 'Emma-Jay and the Witch's Promise'

Any thoughts greatly appreciated (and possibly ignored).

H3K


...does magic....   - felt weak. Can she be a magician,

Emma-Jay is a magician, not the card trick, bunny rabbit kind, but a real magician. It's super fun. Everything is fine until she .....  And if that isn't bad enough, Heggotty, the same witch who cursed her, takes this time to start a turf war.


I wasn't really sure what Emma and Heggotty were fighting about. You were a bit vague. You don't have to point directly. I just gave an example. I think you could remove the mention of 'being mistakenly eaten' give the reader a chance to read what happens to him in the end. You're selling a story, not telling it.

These are just my thoughts.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 30, 2015, 05:03:19 AM
Thanks all three of you. Much to mull over.  8)

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on April 30, 2015, 08:28:56 AM
It does hook but needs tightening. I like Mrs N's variation, to which I have added further edits to eliminate repetition of 'magic' and 'real' and the inclusion of the MC's primary obstacle—winning the fight with the witch [my understanding of the story thus far]. Use or ignore, it's your choice.  ;D

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does real magic. Not the rabbit-in-a-hat or card tricks kind. It's super fun. Until the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground. Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander becomes a goose who is accidentally eaten. Worst of all, she angers the neighborhood witch who placed a curse on her before she was born. Emma-Jay must battle Heggotty and the witch's promise alone.

Looking forward to reading the full story.

AQ

Something I'm still working on - a quirky novel for children, hence the style:

Nine-year-old Emma-Jay does real magic. Not the card tricks or rabbit in a hat or card tricks kind. magic but real magic. It's super fun. And nothing bad ever happens uUntil the day she pulls an ocean out of a hole in the ground.
Her twin brother Pike is changed into a fish and their pal Gander gets mistaken for a realbecomes a goose andwho is accidentally eaten. Worst of all, she angers the neighborhood witch who placed a curse on her before she was born.
So it's left to Emma-Jay tomust battle against Heggotty  and the witch's promise alone. ,the neighbourhood witch, who promised a curse upon the girl even before she got born.


Working title : 'Emma-Jay and the Witch's Promise'

Any thoughts greatly appreciated (and possibly ignored).

H3K



Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on April 30, 2015, 05:46:03 PM
Thanks AQ.
There is indeed room for tightening and clarification. I'll maybe wait a while until I've got more of the story written (just 20,000 words so far - and the plot is far stranger than you'd imagine from the blurb).

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on May 08, 2015, 01:26:00 AM
Okay. Here's a murder mystery I intend with thrills and suspense, set against the background of great architecture. Tell me what you all think. Would you want to read more?



FALLINGWATER

Julian and Mia, a pair of up-and-coming New York architects, must redraft the blueprint for their lives when their beloved world of architecture and design floods over with murder and mayhem. Their romantic getaway at Fallingwater, the tour de force by Frank Lloyd Wright, turns to nightmare when they discover three murders in the staff house, are then pursued by the killer and must devise a way to kill or be killed. Bewildered by these events, they first come under the scrutiny of suspicion for the, by now, four deaths; but are later cleared due to self-defense, then swept up in the investigation into the mystery of the deceased killer’s identity. Hoping for normalcy again, they return to the routines of their work; but when one of their colleagues turns up murdered too they realize they are being pursued by a mighty foe and are both still in danger. When bodies are discovered underneath concrete at their current project, the truth behind the killings, and their brushes with death, becomes clear. But before they can notify police of the vast conspiracy that links all the murders, its Mastermind (and his cohorts) confronts them, pursues them through the streets of New York and corners them at The National 9/11 Memorial Fountain — and they must once again devise a way to survive.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Annmarie on May 08, 2015, 02:32:42 AM
Okay. Here's a murder mystery I intend with thrills and suspense, set against the background of great architecture. Tell me what you all think. Would you want to read more?



FALLINGWATER

Julian and Mia, a pair of up-and-coming New York architects, must redraft the blueprint for their lives when their beloved world of architecture and design floods over with murder and mayhem. Their romantic getaway at Fallingwater, the tour de force by Frank Lloyd Wright, turns to nightmare when they discover three murders in the staff house, are then pursued by the killer and must devise a way to kill or be killed. Bewildered by these events, they first come under the scrutiny of suspicion for the, by now, four deaths; but are later cleared due to self-defense, then swept up in the investigation into the mystery of the deceased killer’s identity. Hoping for normalcy again, they return to the routines of their work; but when one of their colleagues turns up murdered too they realize they are being pursued by a mighty foe and are both still in danger. When bodies are discovered underneath concrete at their current project, the truth behind the killings, and their brushes with death, becomes clear. But before they can notify police of the vast conspiracy that links all the murders, its Mastermind (and his cohorts) confronts them, pursues them through the streets of New York and corners them at The National 9/11 Memorial Fountain — and they must once again devise a way to survive.


Is this a summary of the plot for your own benefit as you write? It could be useful for that, but I get the impression there's no center to the story, no ONE THING we the readers are supposed to take away from it. What is the story really about? Just about two architects stumbling over bodies everywhere? And whose story is it? That's the other big thing missing from here --- a lot of plot, hardly any character.

If you choose to redraft this, maybe you could focus on a blurb from the character side, keeping in mind whose story it is, and what that person wants, and what's at stake.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on May 08, 2015, 03:26:42 AM
Quote
thrills and suspense, set against the background of great architecture

I'm not sure how much of a selling point architecture will be - great or otherwise.
It's like someone promising 'a non-stop tale of romance and adventure set against the background of accountancy.'

As for the blurb - it's horrendously complicated.
I like the fact that your two main characters have to 'redraft the blueprint for their lives' - but if you feed in too many architectural connections the entire plot will seem contrived.

'beloved world of architecture and design floods over with murder and mayhem
manages to say nothing concrete (excuse the pun). Is it physically possible for a world to 'flood over' with murder and mayhem?

Their romantic getaway at Fallingwater, the tour de force by Frank Lloyd Wright, turns to nightmare when they discover three murders in the staff house, are then pursued by the killer and must devise a way to kill or be killed.
A 41-word sentence to tell the reader they stumble across three bodies, and are then pursued by the killer. Aside from a cliche plot they seem to be reacting to a situation rather than playing an active role.

Bewildered by these events, Honestly? they first come under the scrutiny of suspicion for the, by now, four deaths; but are later cleared due to self-defense, then swept up in the investigation into the mystery of the deceased killer’s identity.
That's where I'd give up. Are there 3 murders or 4? There's way too much inconsequential detail here. A blurb is not the same as a complete summary of the plot.

Hoping for normalcy again, they return to the routines of their work;
So I was right. Architecture is boring. but when one of their colleagues turns up murdered too they realize they are being pursued by a mighty foe and are both still in danger.

It looks like you've lost control of the plotline now and felt another murder might get it back on track.

When bodies are discovered underneath concrete at their current project, the truth behind the killings, and their brushes with death, becomes clear. The truth behind their brushes with death becomes clear? That's terribly clunky writing.

But before they can notify police of the vast conspiracy that links all the murders, its Mastermind (and his cohorts) confronts them, pursues them through the streets of New York and corners them at The National 9/11 Memorial Fountain — and they must once again devise a way to survive.

Overall impression - the story is rather a mess the way it's described here. The fact that various scenes revolve around architectural monuments is neither here nor there. You need more than a set of identifiable locations and random killings to make for an intriguing plot. The novel might well be a cracker, but this blurb does it no justice.

If you are indeed writing a blurb (and this posting reads more like a plot outline) I'd suggest you try and condense the plot into 3 short sentences and leave out the more complex parts. If this landed on a publisher's desk I fear it would invite immediate rejection.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on May 08, 2015, 04:38:26 AM

FALLINGWATER

Julian and Mia, Love their designery names  ;D a pair of up-and-coming New York architects, must redraft the blueprint for their lives when their beloved world of architecture and design floods over with murder and mayhem. Word of warning. If you have clichés in the blurb the publishers will believe your work will be the same. Their romantic getaway at Fallingwater, the tour de force by Frank Lloyd Wright, turns to nightmare when they discover three murders in the staff house, there is no reason to be so specific. This is a blurb, not a chapter/plot summary are then pursued by the killer and must devise a way to kill or be killed. Well, obviously. This is a waste of words. ;)

The rest does nothing for blurb, or plotline. I agree with Annmarie, you need a more cohesive character fill. This reads like a series of events.

 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on May 08, 2015, 06:33:42 AM
Okay. Here's a murder mystery I intend with thrills and suspense, set against the background of great architecture. Tell me what you all think. Would you want to read more?



FALLINGWATER

Julian and Mia, a pair of up-and-coming New York architects, must redraft the blueprint for their lives when their beloved world of architecture and design floods over with murder and mayhem. Their romantic getaway at Fallingwater, the tour de force by Frank Lloyd Wright, turns to nightmare when they discover three murders in the staff house, are then pursued by the killer and must devise a way to kill or be killed. Bewildered by these events, they first come under the scrutiny of suspicion for the, by now, four deaths; but are later cleared due to self-defense, then swept up in the investigation into the mystery of the deceased killer’s identity. Hoping for normalcy again, they return to the routines of their work; but when one of their colleagues turns up murdered too they realize they are being pursued by a mighty foe and are both still in danger. When bodies are discovered underneath concrete at their current project, the truth behind the killings, and their brushes with death, becomes clear. But before they can notify police of the vast conspiracy that links all the murders, its Mastermind (and his cohorts) confronts them, pursues them through the streets of New York and corners them at The National 9/11 Memorial Fountain — and they must once again devise a way to survive.


I think you fell into the blurb versus synopsis conundrum.  This is a synopsis for me, too many specifics and not enough suspense/tension.  Boil the story down to the essence, what is it about?  What is unique or sets it apart?  Why are you telling this story?  I think if you answer those, it will be easier to have a concise blurb.  Have you wrote the story yet?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on May 08, 2015, 07:10:54 AM
Hi Miggseye. I'll ditto what previous posts said. It's a plot synopsis, not a blurb to entice a publisher to read on. Even as a synopsis, you've fallen into the trap of including too many words to say very little. As a blurb, it needs a total re-write. Use it as a synopsis, but even then, it needs word-culling. Dump adverbs and some adjectives. Don't focus too hard of the architecture angle. Bring in more character behavior, etc. as has been suggested by Annmarie, et. al.

JMO. Use or lose.

Love the story idea. Keep writing.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: MiggsEye on May 08, 2015, 08:59:50 AM
Blurb vs. Synopsis. Doh!

Thank you HW3K, Mrs. N, Emery and AQ. I see all your points. And points well taken.

This is an idea for story that came to me several nights ago. So I haven't written anything else yet but synopsis. I'll take your feedback, develop the story, then take another whack at a blurb.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on May 08, 2015, 10:53:36 AM
Hey Miggs---one more thing bothered me about it and I think I figured out what it is now.  It's something I struggle with a lot, but I don't see in the synopsis why the main characters are tied to the outcome.  They stumble over three bodies and now are chased by the killer, even though the killer chose to murder those three instead of them?  Then the MC's kill someone else in self-defense--but are cleared.  And then, instead of walking away, they become more engrossed in the identity of the victim?  Then it's over and they actually do walk away, but someone else in murdered.  Then they find some bodies under concrete?  Then they are in more danger?

The progression doesn't make sense to me.  If they actually do return to work and normalcy in the middle of the story, then you have completely de-escalated any sense of tension and suspense.  It's almost as if the story could actually start in the middle.

Maybe I'm trying to take too much from the synopsis, but it's feels like there are two stories here slammed together.

However, I've got a feeling once you get pen to paper and start the journey, the logical progression will become more clear to you and us.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on May 08, 2015, 01:02:28 PM
You're attempting to write a blurb before even setting off to write the actual story - maybe that's your problem.

How well do you know your characters? You dreamt them up a few nights ago so you don't know them at all.

What's the plot? A killer tries to kill a random pair of characters who found out he's a killer? That's hardly enough to sustain a paragraph let alone an entire novel.
You have no idea how the plot might develop until you start writing it. No matter how much you plan your plots they take on a life of their own (or at least they should do).

So I'd advise you to keep working on the story for now and think about a synopsis and blurb once it's written (or at least until you can see where it's heading).

Good luck.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: clmarvin on May 16, 2015, 04:54:34 PM
1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.

Wolfe, Thank you for the above information. I don't know how to copy bits of text like everyone else seems to, but I just wanted to tell you that that was really useful to me. Writing a blurb is a difficult as writing a query letter. It seems to take days and weeks and even more.

Thank you.
Cindy
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: clmarvin on May 16, 2015, 05:18:44 PM
Using Wolfe's recommendations, I have attempted to write a blurb. It is a blurb for a novel that I have finished but am in the process of rewriting.  Amy & Sue is the title of the novel.

Sue Eason is an intellectual property attorney and Amy Johnson is a prostitute. After Amy is beaten almost to

death, she is brought to Sue’s house by a social worker. Over the course of a year Amy leaves her prostitute

life behind her. She even enrolls in college. Sue is initially resistant to having someone like Amy in her home.

But eventually she begins care about Amy. Amy & Sue is the story of an unlikely pairing of two people and

how ultimately both women’s lives are changed.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on May 16, 2015, 06:34:18 PM
Quote
Using Wolfe's recommendations, I have attempted to write a blurb. It is a blurb for a novel that I have finished but am in the process of rewriting.  Amy & Sue is the title of the novel.

But this is a plot summary not a blurb.

Quote
1. The first line must introduce the protagonist(s) and intrigue the reader with an interesting situation.

Sue Eason is an intellectual property attorney and Amy Johnson is a prostitute.

You introduce the protagonists and that's it. There's no indication of how this pair are connected - and judging by what follows there's going to be little in the way of conflict since the beating occurs before they meet. Once they get together it's all sweetness and light. So they're 'protagonists' simply because they inhabit the same story. Nothing actually happens to them.

Quote
2. Followup sentences must show the plot, and only the main plot, as concisely as possible.

After Amy is beaten almost to death, she is brought to Sue’s house by a social worker. Over the course of a year Amy leaves her prostitute life behind her. She even enrolls in college. Sue is initially resistant to having someone like Amy in her home. But eventually she begins care about Amy.

The plot consists of Amy getting beaten up and Sue helping her to turn her life around. The fact that Amy's life improves is not enough to make me interested enough to read the book. There's no explanation of why Sue gets herself involved with Amy in the first place. So Sue's role in the story looks rather artificial - a set-up created by the author possibly to illustrate some kind of parable. How am I meant to engage with either character or empathise with their predicament if it makes no sense?

You've also told me how Amy lives happily ever after - she even enrols in college. Why should I care? And why would I need to read her story if I know how it ends? I'll admit I'm not a fan of feel-good stories so maybe I'm missing the point here.  ???

Quote
3. The last sentence must end the blurb with an unresolved question or problem that shows conflict.

Amy & Sue is the story of an unlikely pairing of two people and how ultimately both women’s lives are changed.

No unresolved question. No unsolved problem. No conflict. In other words - no story.

I hate to say this but there's barely the makings of a short story here. It also seems dreadfully clichéd. Bad girl from the wrong side of the tracks saved by good girl.

We need something more substantial than a prostitute being delivered to an attorney's house and then helped along the road to salvation.

If they're ex-schoolmates who promised to look out for each other before going their separate ways, or if Sue had a history of bad-mouthing hookers but then discovered Amy was her long-lost sister then maybe you'd be onto something. But even then the plot is rather flimsy. As I said earlier this is a summary (outlining the plot) rather than a blurb (that is meant to entice the reader to part with some cash).

Lots of work ahead I'm afraid.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on May 16, 2015, 06:46:33 PM
Writing a blurb is a difficult as writing a query letter. It seems to take days and weeks and even more.


You're not kidding! ;D

Writing a blurb also helps determine just what the story is about. I had a hard time, picking out the core of my story, too many twists got me in a tangle. :D

You haven't really fulfilled Wolfe's criteria. Hilly is right, you've done a wee, bit of a plot plan. Also who is your Main Character? Amy or Sue? Don't say both. Write your blurb having in mind who changes who.
Hope this helps.  :) 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: clmarvin on May 16, 2015, 07:32:09 PM
A lot to think about H3K, and trust me, I am thinking.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on May 18, 2015, 05:13:17 PM
Using Wolfe's recommendations, I have attempted to write a blurb. It is a blurb for a novel that I have finished but am in the process of rewriting.  Amy & Sue is the title of the novel.

Sue Eason is an intellectual property attorney and Amy Johnson is a prostitute. After Amy is beaten almost to

death, she is brought to Sue’s house by a social worker. Over the course of a year Amy leaves her prostitute

life behind her. She even enrolls in college. Sue is initially resistant to having someone like Amy in her home.

But eventually she begins care about Amy. Amy & Sue is the story of an unlikely pairing of two people and

how ultimately both women’s lives are changed.

So, after reading the exert, this hokey kind of blurb is at antithesis to the graphic imagery.  I thought I was reading a dark and raw story but this seems a bit bubblegum pop.  I may not be the target audience, which is cool, just confused.

As for the plot summary, I agree with h3k it's a bit weak.  What ties the protagonist to help Sue?  Why should a social worker drop off a beaten prostitute to a lawyer?  And if the lawyer doesn't really want her there, then why is she? 

I know some people hate plotting books etc., but there isn't a door of no return here.  At anytime in the story, Amy could simply drop Sue off at a battered women's shelter.  Or decide that she's too much trouble and wash her hands.  Something needs to happen here that forces the story forward and makes Sue proceed down the plot without a way to turn back.

Or at least that's what I got from the few sentences  ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheOtherAdrian on May 19, 2015, 10:19:21 AM
In a world where... okay, just kidding. I'm still in the plotting stages of this novel, but I tried writing a blurb anyway to try and filter out the core concepts. The genre is some kind of science fiction. If I had to give an age group, I'd say "young adult", though I still find that term funny. Anyway, tell me what you think:

Heather Perkins has never been anything but a thief. But when she accidentally drops a time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to discover how much righting past wrongs is going to cost her, what she really wants from life, and why all of the history of mankind seems to be out of order.

That's 73 words for those who care.

- Adrian
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Jo Bannister on May 19, 2015, 10:32:05 AM

Heather Perkins has never been anything but a thief. But when she accidentally drops a time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to discover how much righting past wrongs is going to cost her, what she really wants from life, and why all of the history of mankind seems to be out of order.


This is promising, Adrian.  It's a good blurb, and it sounds an intriguing book.  I might quibble with the "comfortable routine" line - it's a bit of a let down after what goes before.  And I might rephrase the last sentence - the contents are good but the multiple clauses are confusing.  Tidy this up and it's a winner.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on May 19, 2015, 10:46:02 AM
Heather Perkins has never been this jarred for me. Why not just she is a thief? anything but a thief. But when she accidentally drops what do you mean here? That she gave it to the madman? time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable dislike that, I agree with Jo. routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to discover how much righting past wrongs is going to cost her, what she really wants from life, and why all of the history of mankind seems to be out of order.


Really, really like the idea.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on May 19, 2015, 11:00:44 AM
You have some intriguing ideas here and there's a hint of absurd humour . . . but I feel it needs tighter focus.

Playing around with the opening:
is 'has always been a thief' perhaps clearer than 'has never been anything but a thief'?
Or you could put a slightly quirkier spin on it with
'Heather Perkins has never wanted anything from life except to be a thief'.

The first sentence is certainly eye-catching so well done - but the second sentence is rather over-complicated and I don't see a clear enough connection with what preceded it. What has being a thief got to do with dropping a time machine? Did she steal it? You need to show us how both sentences fit into the overall plot.
Also 'her comfortable routine' doesn't really set the pulses racing. Why would I (or a YA audience) want to read about someone who has a comfortable routine?
My advice - consider trimming the second sentence and make it clearer that it leads on from what you've already told us.
I don't know the story line but maybe:
'But when she steals a time machine and it ends up in the hands of a madman she begins to wish she'd chosen a safer career.'

Your third sentence - 'misfit band of crooks' - I'm picturing Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
Does she really set out to discover all the things you've listed here? It all seems very worthy - but I'd be expecting more than a mission in search of deep philosophical inspiration.
I assume she discover these while in the process of having adventures - maybe whilst trying to retrieve the time machine. So focusing on that would be perhaps more in keeping with the cryptic style of your opening sentence.
I do like the idea that 'all of the history of mankind seems to be out of order' btw.

It looks like it's going to be a 'Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy' kind of read. Very promising start.

Good luck.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on May 19, 2015, 11:02:22 AM
Heather Perkins has never been anything but a thief. But when she accidentally drops a time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to discover how much righting past wrongs is going to cost her, what she really wants from life, and why all of the history of mankind seems to be out of order.

That's 73 words for those who care.

- Adrian

Hi Other,
I agree with Jo. This is an intriguing idea for a story. As for the blurb itself, I'd question some of the phrasing. Not knowing where the story is headed yet, there are a few points that confuse, or at least do not convey with clarity. Here's some suggestions to tighten it up, including elimination of some passives. Use or lose. AQ

Heather Perkins has never been anything but is a thief. [is it important to say she is a thief and always has been in this indirect manner? I'd try being more direct] Makes a good living fencing the items to the highest bidder. [I added the previous sentence to provide a smooth segue to the next one. But When she accidentally drops a time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to discovers the real price for how much righting past wrongs is going to cost her, what she really wants from life, and why all of the history of mankind seems to be is out of order.

Here is the clean edit:
Heather Perkins is a thief. Makes a good living fencing the items to the highest bidder. When she accidentally drops a time machine into the hands of a madman, she is torn out of her comfortable routine. Together with a misfit band of crooks she discovers the real price for righting past wrongs, what she wants from life, and why the history of mankind is out of order.

P.S. I just read Mrs N's comment. Seems we agree. I left mine as is. Again, great premise. Use or lose my suggs.

P.P.S. And now H3K has snuck in his comments before I proofed and posted mine. Good to see a consistent reaction. You've got something worth pursuit. Hitch-hiker's Guide ... I love it, Hilly.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: TheOtherAdrian on May 19, 2015, 12:33:42 PM
Wow, those were some fast and very helpful reactions. Thank you all for that!

All the things you assume are pretty much correct. Reading it over I see that I've fallen into my unfortunate habit of over-complicating simple statements yet again. I'll try for a tighter version, using your suggestions:

Heather Perkins has always been a thief. But when she steals a time machine and it ends up in the hands of a madman, she has to reconsider her past and possibly future choices. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to recover the machine and discovers what she really wants from life and why the history of mankind is out of order.

This sets it at 66 words for those who are counting.

Thanks for the first sentence, hillwalker! I have no idea why I felt the need to use a double negative there.

Oh, and while I may have a quirky kind of humor, a Hitchhiker's Guide is probably too high an expectation ;-)
- Adrian
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on May 19, 2015, 12:40:40 PM

Heather Perkins has always been still prefer is a thief a thief. But when she steals a time machine and it ends up in the hands of a madman, she has to reconsider her past and possibly future choices. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to recover the machine and discovers what she really wants from life and why the history of mankind is out of order.

This sets it at 66 words for those who are counting. If all the words are interesting, nobody will count! ;D

Oh, and while I may have a quirky kind of humor, a Hitchhiker's Guide is probably too high an expectation ;-) You never know ;)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on May 19, 2015, 12:54:21 PM

Heather Perkins has always been a thief. But when she steals a time machine and it ends up in the hands of a madman, she has to reconsider her past and possibly future choices. Together with a misfit band of crooks she sets out to recover the machine and discovers what she really wants from life and why the history of mankind is out of order.


First, I really like this idea.  I mean, a lot.  If Heather Perkins is interesting (which as the protagonist she'd better be) and this madman is a worthy antagonist, you have a plethora of directions to take this.  However, the only suggestions I would make regarding the blurb are the bolded phrases.

would past and possibly future choices = life?  It seems wordy and complicated.  

misfit band of crooks --> misfit toys for me or something else.  It makes it seem like a cartoon.  I got the image of a steampunk band of weirdos flying around on a zeppelin.  It's a weird image, I know, but still the misfit band of crooks doesn't do it for me.  Mavericks?  Outsiders?  Outcasts? I don't know.

what she really wants from life and why the history of mankind is out of order=too complicated string of clauses.  It kind of falls a little flat without the impending doom aspect.  the but at what cost?  kind of feel.

No real concrete suggestions from me...I suck at these.  But if I were to mull over aspects of it, these three areas I would focus on.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Simple Things on May 19, 2015, 12:55:57 PM
I don't think you need 'but'  in the beginning of the second sentence.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on June 18, 2015, 01:35:32 PM
Blurb anyone?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on July 17, 2015, 06:32:51 PM
Time for a blurb?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on September 30, 2015, 04:47:07 PM
Anyone for a blurb? ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: LRSuda on October 01, 2015, 05:37:57 PM
If I had one finished, I'd have posted it.  ;) At this point, I just wanted to get in on the thread so I can read all the new posts.

Lisa
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on December 23, 2015, 07:30:26 AM
I've posted something similar to this about 5-6 pages back, but since have made some changes in the plot. Anyway, worked on tightening it from before and leaving it with building suspense. I'm afraid--one, is it too vague? and two, it's in the genre of mystery/suspense but I'm afraid it's verging into cliched elements. It was hard for me to balance the genre expectations with something fresh in the blurb without it becoming too dense.


Ethan Grey’s life changes when he gets a phone call that is sister missing. Sure the police will not give her the attention she deserves with her past of addiction and poverty, he travels to the town of John’s Creek to uncover the truth. Battling his own demons and thrown into a town rife with drugs, violence, poverty, and sex, will he uncover the truth? And at what costs?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on December 26, 2015, 08:08:10 AM
Bueller? Bueller?

Is it just that good? I'll take it.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on December 26, 2015, 08:16:49 AM
Ethan Grey’s life changes when he gets a phone call that is sister missing. Sure the police will not give her the attention she deserves with her past of addiction and poverty, he travels to the town of John’s Creek to uncover the truth. Battling his own demons and thrown into a town rife with drugs, violence, poverty, and sex, will he uncover the truth? And at what costs?

I do think it's too vague and generic, Emery. What makes your brand of drugs, violence, poverty and sex any different than what we see everyday? Blurbs are hard, but I think you need something specific to catch the reader's attention. Show us the costs. Let us know exactly what's at stake here.

When Ethan Grey goes to John's Creek to discover the truth about his missing sister ....
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Vogel on December 26, 2015, 10:17:08 AM
BTW, I like the concept. Man goes to find out truth about his missing sister, but is caught up in a world, which he is vulnerable to, or at least that's the idea that I get from it. Seems fresh to me. I just think it could be better portrayed, without the generic terms, sex, poverty, drugs, violence. It's kind of like you're telling & generalizing, instead of showing us exactly what's going on. DOes that make sense?

I suggest considering the main plot and the turning point in the story. What happens to Ethan when he gets there?



Ethan Grey’s life changes when he gets a phone call that is sister missing. Sure the police will not give her the attention she deserves with her past of addiction and poverty, <--I don't think this information is needed and words could be better spent elsewhere. Besides, the real story and the reason your readers are going to read is not why he's decided to go down there, but what happens to him, right? We can discover why Ethan has decided to go down there and search for the truth himself, once we open the book. All we need to know is that Ethan is determined to find out what happened to his drug-addicted sister, even if it costs him his ... what? His sanity? His life? His sobriety? Moral decency?

Anyway, use or lose. Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Laura H on February 12, 2016, 03:05:17 PM
It's been awhile. Anyone have a blurb to post?
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 12, 2016, 03:18:37 PM
No explanations. This is what I hope to stick on the back cover of my next YA/NA novel. Any comments would be appreciated.

WHITE SHORE

Following DARK SKY's horrific climax everyone tells seventeen-year-old Amy Metcalf the worst is over. But what do they know?

Amy’s attacker awaits trial. His accomplices are dead or on the run following their attempt to kill Amy's on/off boyfriend Matt Neilson. Life in the quiet fishing village of Lochinver is returning to normal.

But Matt has fallen in with a bad crowd. And when a face from their past declares war on them both Amy finds herself increasingly isolated. An offer of support from an unlikely source backfires and events escalate, culminating in an explosion of misplaced jealousy and revenge.

WHITE SHORE is the sequel to DARK SKY (Book #1 in the Lochinver Trilogy)

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SMDarling on February 12, 2016, 03:48:43 PM
I like this. I think it summarizes what you need to say, and teases well at what the story is offering, to draw people in.

Personally, I would like a comma here: "...horrific climax, everyone tells..."

Also, your first line "...tells... the worst is over. But what do they know?" I feel like the concept if not necessarily your phrasing is very cliche. The second someone says "the worst is over" of course it's not. It feels like stating the obvious. Of course they don't know better, etc. Can you maybe take it in a different direction? Something like "Amy Metcalf is still recovering following DARK SKY's horrific climax. She hopes the worst is over but it never is." I'm not sure that's exactly right either, because I think the cliche lives in "worst is over".

Just something to consider, but all in all very good!
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 12, 2016, 04:00:19 PM
Having read DARK SKY, this blurb for WHITE SHORE works for me, Hilly. One point to consider, however: your audience is YA but some of the word choices seem too literary (not sure if that's the right word I'm searching for). One word in particular is 'culminating.' How about a simpler word like 'ending?'

Good luck. I'm available for beta and review, as before.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 12, 2016, 04:13:08 PM
Sound advice from you both. Thanks.

As for Amy hoping the worst is over, nothing could be further from the truth. She knows she's being fed a line. But I'll keep tweaking.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: SMDarling on February 12, 2016, 04:36:51 PM
Yeah, I was sure that wasn't what you were going for but I hope you see what I mean about the cliche? Lol
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 12, 2016, 05:47:24 PM
No explanations. This is what I hope to stick on the back cover of my next YA/NA novel. Any comments would be appreciated.

WHITE SHORE

Following DARK SKY's horrific climax everyone tells seventeen-year-old Amy Metcalf the worst is over. But what do they know?

^^^ Do you really want to give the ending to the first part of your story? Does this sequel stand alone? The whole blurb makes for the reader not having to bother with the first part at all, as you written spoilers all over this blurb! :P

WHITE SHORE is the sequel to DARK SKY (Book #1 in the Lochinver Trilogy)

H3K

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 12, 2016, 06:59:18 PM
That's the fundamental problem with sequels and I've tried to overcome it. The only spoiler is that something bad happens and Amy survives and justice of a sort is served. There's a lot more than that going on in #1 and I've not identified the bad guys in the blurb. I'm hoping all three books can work as stand-alones even though they're also closely linked. I'm also hoping that anyone who picks up #2 never having read #1 will be tempted to read that also.

Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated as always.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 12, 2016, 07:27:41 PM

That's the fundamental problem with sequels and I've tried to overcome it.

^^^ Tough, isn't it.  ;)

The only spoiler is that something bad happens and Amy survives and justice of a sort is served.

^^^ That is a spoiler.

There's a lot more than that going on in #1 and I've not identified the bad guys in the blurb.

^^^ The bad guys belong to the first story. Not in this blurb.

 I'm hoping all three books can work as stand-alones even though they're also closely linked. I'm also hoping that anyone who picks up #2 never having read #1 will be tempted to read that also.

^^^ Then find the core of this story and write a blurb about that. This one doesn't work in my opinion. And I also wouldn't be tempted to read the first story when I now know some of the outcome.

Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated as always.

^^^ You're v. welcome. :) Sorry it wasn't more positive.


Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 13, 2016, 03:45:26 AM
Great advice again Mrs N - especially about the bad guys belonging in the previous book. I'm probably guilty of trying to hook those who have already read #1 and not paying enough attention to attracting a new audience.

I'll take your suggestions on board - first job, get rid of that second paragraph.
Much appreciated.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 13, 2016, 04:35:58 AM
Just been reading through blurbs for sequels. Hardly any (make that none for a better blurb!! :P) make any reference to the previous novel. So with this in mind...


WHITE SHORE

Following DARK SKY's horrific climax everyone tells seventeen-year-old Amy Metcalf the worst is over. But what do they know?

Amy’s attacker awaits trial. His accomplices are dead or on the run following their attempt to kill Amy's on/off boyfriend Matt Neilson. Life in the quiet fishing village of Lochinver is returning to normal.

But Matt has fallen in with a bad crowd. And when a face from their past declares war on them both Amy finds herself increasingly isolated. An offer of support from an unlikely source backfires and events escalate, culminating in an explosion of misplaced jealousy and revenge.

Starting point suggestion: Seventeen-year-old Amy Metcalf finds herself isolated when a face from the past declares war. Support from an unlikely source backfires and events escalate, culminating in an explosion of misplaced jealousy and revenge.


WHITE SHORE is the sequel to DARK SKY (Book #1 in the Lochinver Trilogy)



Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 13, 2016, 05:05:45 AM
You're a star. Thanks.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 22, 2016, 01:08:09 PM
Blurb for a prequel to Trouble on the Straits titled Hell Hole in Khyber.

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass near the Afghan fort, Ali Masjid. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban leader he was supposed to abduct, Charley remains stoic, ignoring the pain the way he was trained to do. Hogtied and dumped in a deep latrine in the back of a cave to drown in human excrement, he struggles to breathe the foul air, knowing his teammates will return. Leave no man behind. At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields, payback is all he can think about.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 22, 2016, 01:27:12 PM

Blurb for a prequel to Trouble on the Straits titled Hell Hole in Khyber.

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass , near the Afghan fort, Ali Masjid. his war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban leader he was supposed to abduct, Charley remains stoic, ignoring the pain the way he was trained to do. Hogtied and dumped in a deep latrine in the back of a cave to drown in human excrement, he struggles to breath the foul air, knowing his teammates will return. Leave no man behind.

^^^^ Kind of diffuses the angst, knowing this.

At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields, payback is all he can think about.

Needs to be a bit sharper. Reads tiny bit waffly. ;D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on February 22, 2016, 01:31:52 PM
Blurb for a prequel to Trouble on the Straits titled Hell Hole in Khyber.

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass near the Afghan fort, Ali Masjid. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban leader he was supposed to abduct, Charley remains stoic, ignoring the pain the way he was trained to do. Hogtied and dumped in a deep latrine in the back of a cave to drown in human excrement, he struggles to breathe the foul air, knowing his teammates will return. Leave no man behind. At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields, payback is all he can think about.

I'm going to try to keep in the mind the differences between blurbs for publishers, jacket covers, and elevator pitches, but this seems somewhere between all that.

I'm not sure where the story starts. Is it after he wakes in the latrine? Do you dispense with all that background drama quickly? And if so, should you?

Either way, you are either letting too much air out of the balloon for readers or giving too much details for publishers, I think.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 22, 2016, 01:47:33 PM
Thanks, Mrs N. Angst reduction is NOT what I wanted here. Will rework it.  ;D

Thank you, Emery. You've identified what I'm struggling with so far. There are darlings to kill, at least in the blurb, to keep it from becoming a synopsis. The story starts right before the ambush. I had posted in Opening Lines a week ago. Here is the latest tweak, for context.

ZERO ONE HUNDRED hours, sixty klicks east of Jalalabad, we rappelled from a stealth Black Hawk. The whisper of composite rotor blades blended with the wind blowing down from the Spin Ghar Range. A dust cloud swirled in the backwash, swallowing the six man team as we dropped to the ground—silent and invisible.

The rest is about Charley's courage and survival after capture when the team is ambushed, ending with his ultimate rescue by teammates. An example of loyalty among warfighters.

The idea is to show, in prequel form, a side of Charley not evident in TOTS-Book 1 of the Series. More of a character study than a story, perhaps. Still working out the kinks. Any ideas?

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 22, 2016, 01:54:01 PM
As a potential reader rather than a publisher I'm seeing far too much irrelevant detail here. When I pick this up and scan the back cover I simply need to establish who the story's about, what happens and maybe where it's set. Unfortunately most of this is a muddled description of Charley's predicament and his state of mind rather than a brief snapshot of the plot. I don't believe using the blurb to explain how this book is about C's courage and survival after capture is going to hook many readers.

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass near the Afghan fort, Ali Masjid 1. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban leader he was supposed to abduct, Charley remains stoic, ignoring the pain the way he was trained to do 2. Hogtied and dumped in a deep latrine in the back of a cave to drown in human excrement, 3 he struggles to breathe the foul air, 4 knowing his teammates will return. Leave no man behind. At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields 5, payback is all he can think about.

1   Why does the exact location matter right now? The Khyber pass is enough for us to work out where the story takes place.
2   Two issues – again, the fact he was supposed to abduct the Talibal leader is not germane at this point in the story. And being told he is stoic and has been trained to ignore pain has no place in a blurb. All that matters is he's been captured and tortured by the Taliban.
3   Too much to take in – a deep latrine (is this worse than a shallow latrine?) in the back of a cave (the location of the latrine is again irrelevant) in human excrement (so that's what a latrine is). He's been left to die in a latrine – time to move swiftly on.
4   So he's up to his eyebrows in HE and he struggles to breathe? Why did you feel the need to include this in the blurb? It's yet another pointless detail.
5   Now there's also rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields – none of which have any bearing on Charley's current plight.

It's like you've tried to throw in every possible angle in the hope that we will care whether or not he escapes. But I'm not getting much in the way of excitement. The crux of the plot is that he's been captured by the Taliban but his SEAL comrades will do all they can to help secure his escape. There's really no need for the reader to know any more. . . but I'm assuming there's more to the story than a simple 'great escape'. It's a case of focussing on what your story is supposed to be about and keeping it simple.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 22, 2016, 02:08:14 PM
Your red pen is loaded and on target, Hilly. Five darlings under fire and about to die. Perhaps I pulled the trigger (pun intended, sorry) too soon when I posted this as a blurb. I'm realizing it's a combination of synopsis, plot outline, etc. that needs separating. Thanks for suggesting a path through it.

I just realized I've fallen back into an old habit of rushing things, adding too much extraneous information, not trusting the reader. Example: Gee, stupid reader. Latrines contain HE. Duh! My bad.   :-\

AQ

Here's a cleaner, shorter version with four darlings killed (so far):

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban, Charley is hogtied and dumped in a latrine in the back of a cave and left to drown. But Charley has other ideas. Payback is all he can think about.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on February 22, 2016, 04:58:13 PM

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass.
 His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind.
 Captured and tortured by the Taliban, Charley is hogtied and dumped in a latrine in the back of a cave and left to drown. At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields, payback is all he can think about.


Killed off a few more for you! ::) ;D But brought back previous version's last line, cause I like it better! :D :D
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on February 22, 2016, 06:11:52 PM
AQ

Here's a cleaner, shorter version with four darlings killed (so far):

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban, Charley is hogtied and dumped in a latrine in the back of a cave and left to drown. But Charley has other ideas. Payback is all he can think about.

I really hate to nit-pick because this is looking tighter and will fit on the back cover well.

But I have to ask, is his "war dog" going to play a large part in the story along with Charley? I ask because, 1. I like dogs. 2. If I read the blurb and failed to learn the dogs life continues with the story, I might be a bit let down. 
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on February 22, 2016, 06:43:44 PM
Quote
His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed.

The more I think about it the more I wonder why you mention the war dog and the mate here. It's Charley's story. When we read the novel we'll discover all of this extraneous detail. But the blurb is meant to entice a reader rather than summarise the plot. We only need to know he's been captured and is going to be rescued.

And the following has 'darling' written all over it.
Quote
At the bottom of a hell hole in a country of rock piles, death-stalker scorpions and poppy fields, payback is all he can think about.
'rock piles'? What's so special about rock piles? We have them in Scotland and they're not especially threatening.
'death-stalker scorpions'? I'd hate to meet one so maybe it's not the ideal place for a vacation.
And 'poppy fields' - I know the Taliban relied on the poppy harvests to fund their campaign. But is Charley on a personal mission to eradicate the heroin trade? No. He's keen to pay back his captors for mistreating him and maybe killing one of his comrades.

There's a lot more to Afghanistan than these three elements as you obviously realise. So the sentence reads more like a Hollywood slogan (a la Krakatoa East of Java). It sounds neat and clever but doesn't bear close scrutiny.

Just one opinion - uol.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 22, 2016, 07:01:04 PM
Thanks again for the retweak, Mrs N. Some darlings die hard, come back to haunt. I'll think longer on what to keep.  ::)

Alice, the dog will be important in the story. I mention him early to broaden the appeal to more prospective readers.

And thank you again, Hilly, for more critical thoughts about what to keep. As I said to Alice, the dog is an important player so I want to mention her. Also, I let the reader know the dog is wounded and one SEAL killed to justify the emotional response the MC has about payback. And lastly, you are right about Afghanistan. You caught me cheating. I wanted to add a little 'intrigue' or maybe call it local flavor when I mentioned death-stalker scorpions. Maybe too much? Mrs N liked it. Opinions vary.  ;D Oh, and the 'rock piles' was an attempt at sarcasm about the numerous mountain peaks along the Spin Ghar range. Charley is sarcastic at times, as you read in Trouble on the Straits. I'm trying to show a bit of it here. Perhaps I should not do it in the blurb? Will think on it.

Thanks to all for your helpful comments.

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Emery on February 23, 2016, 01:31:46 PM

Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team during an ambush in the Khyber Pass. His war dog is wounded and one mate is killed. The rest of the team is extracted under heavy fire, leaving Charley behind. Captured and tortured by the Taliban, Charley is hogtied and dumped in a latrine in the back of a cave and left to drown. But Charley has other ideas. Payback is all he can think about.

Much tighter and better. I agree with the others about the war dog, plus you've given away something that can add suspense. I'm wondering if all the material in those two sentences are needed at all.:

During an ambush in the Khyber Pass, Charley Manner is separated from his SEAL team. Captured and tortured by the Taliban, Charley is hogtied and dumped in about 12 words, he is captured, tortured, hogtied, and dumped--lots of action. Important to me is he is captured and dumped. The torture can play into the suspense. in a latrine in the back of a cave and left to drown. But Charley has other ideas. Payback is all he can think about.

Also, an American SEAL doesn't need any more reason for payback than the Taliban existing. Use the dog and his friend's death in the story to add motivation, but you don't need to convince me on the blurb that an American SEAL captured and dumped by the Taliban will be out looking for payback.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on February 23, 2016, 03:46:29 PM
All good points, Emery. Thanks. The killing of darlings continues. But I will ressurect some of them later in the story.  ::)

AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 25, 2017, 11:30:57 AM
It's been nearly a year since a post here. So here goes. This is a blurb intended for back of the book titled Deep Strait - Charley Manner Action Adventure Series Book #2

(http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah151/artemisquark/IMG_1557_zpsibf4vyms.png)Charley Manner and friends find trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to help locate the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station in a discontinued dumping ground forty miles south of Key West. What they find is far more dangerous than illegal drugs.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Mrs N on January 25, 2017, 11:37:33 AM
It's been nearly a year since a post here. So here goes. This is a blurb intended for back of the book titled Deep Strait - Charley Manner Action Adventure Series Book #2

(http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah151/artemisquark/IMG_1557_zpsibf4vyms.png)Charley Manner and friends find trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to help locate the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station in a discontinued dumping ground forty miles south of Key West. What they find is far more dangerous than illegal drugs.

Hey AQ, hope you're good. We have Charley and his friends and Charley and his sidekick.... Pick one and lose the other, it has a diluting effect.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Thanksgiving400 on January 25, 2017, 11:38:45 AM
I'd read it!  It flowed nicely then discontinued dumping ground through me off.  Perhaps abandoned?  Also, I personally do not know what a dumping ground us, does it matter as much as the secret transfer station?  Which is the focus?  Could the last sentence become- They stumbled upon a secret transfer station forty miles south of Key West, and what they find is far more dangerous than drugs.  Without knowing your story it's tough to judge if the reader needs to know the transfer station is in a dumping ground or not.



Quote
Charley Manner and friends find trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to help locate the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station in a discontinued dumping ground forty miles south of Key West. What they find is far more dangerous than illegal drugs.

Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 25, 2017, 11:42:55 AM
That was quick, Mrs N. I'm fine and hope you are doing well. Good catch. A redundancy I can kill. Saves a few words, too. Thanks. AQ
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 25, 2017, 11:52:43 AM
Thank you for the suggs, T. You are correct about the diffusing effect 'discontinued dumping ground' and 'secret transfer station' have on the image I'm trying to create. Tough in a blurb. Since this is the second book in a series, readers of book #1, TOTS, will be familiar with the nautical map I include in that book. See attached section of the chart if interested. The term 'discontinued dumping ground' is used by the NOAA nautical chart people. Showing off my research again. Not needed perhaps? The 'secret transfer station' is the drug cartel's operation on the bottom of the Deep Strait and the site of many scenes in the story.

But I am guilty, once again, trying to stuff too much into the blurb. I'll cogitate on which phrase is more important in this blurb.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 26, 2017, 05:05:38 AM
Charley Manner and friends find trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to help locate the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station in a discontinued dumping ground forty miles south of Key West. What they find is far more dangerous than illegal drugs.

I agree with Mrs N. I'd remove 'and friends' since we don't need to know anything about these subsidiary characters just yet. I'd also be tempted to remove 'in a discontinued dumping ground' since it's not making the picture any clearer. Maybe you can find a stronger phrase than 'far more dangerous' as well. Are their lives at risk? The future of the free world? Or is it just a health and safety issue?

One final observation - you can't rely on readers being familiar with the first book (even less so the nautical map that accompanied it). Treat every reader as if they've never heard of Charley until they read this blurb.

Good luck.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 26, 2017, 10:24:34 AM
Thanks, Hilly. Especially about treating each book in the series as a stand alone story, blurb included. I continue to find it difficult to strike a balance between including too much information and not enough. Both in the blurb and in the story. The reader is not without an imagination—the true power of the written word, IMO. But the reader of a blurb from a series book may not have read the previous book. A challenge to overcome. The key is to select the right words. But that's a large part of good writing, isn't it?

AQ

Here's a revision: Charley Manner finds trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to track down the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station forty miles south of Key West. What they find in the depths is far more life-threatening than illegal drugs.
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 26, 2017, 10:38:24 AM
I'd read that.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 26, 2017, 10:42:17 AM
 ;D  ;D 👍🏼
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: hillwalker3000 on January 26, 2017, 10:47:00 AM
I forgot to mention - you can always refer back to other books in the series on the front cover as well as in the guff that goes inside the back of the book.

H3K
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 26, 2017, 10:58:02 AM
Like a label or medallion that says Sequel to Trouble on the Straits? The front does say Book #2 of the series but maybe more would be good?

Here's the latest full KDP book cover from my cover designer. He will tweak the words in the blurb before publishing. Of course, I need to finish the book first.  :-[

(http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah151/artemisquark/IMG_1577_zpscixfwfga.jpg)
Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Thanksgiving400 on January 26, 2017, 10:59:07 AM
I replied and it didn't post, so apologies if the other one comes up and its redundant..

I don't know the other books or the history, as many who come across your book might not.  That being said, I'm not sure if you are referring to physical rehab, or substance abuse rehab.  I would think the former, however given the context of a DEA agent and drug lord perhaps the latter is more likely?  I happen to be familiar wtih Quantico so I believe you are referring to their addicition treatment program, but is that obvious to a broad audience?

You may decide it doesn't matter, but those two story lines may appeal in different ways to different people.  For example, someone who has faced substance abuse, or has had those close to them do so, may be excited by the prospect about some rogue agent going after the person who she feels contributed to the sicknesses of so many- that would be their hero.  

Perhaps its irrelevant to what you are trying to get across, I just thought confirming its a drug addiction recovery resonate with those who can identify- which unfortunately is a lot of people- more than an injured agent getting back in the line of duty.

Here's a revision: Charley Manner finds trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from rehab at Quantico. She’s out for revenge and wants Charley and his sidekick Hawk to track down the Mexican drug lord who put her there. They stumble upon a secret transfer station forty miles south of Key West. What they find in the depths is far more life-threatening than illegal drugs.
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Title: Re: Blurbs - Would a publisher want to read more?
Post by: Artemis Quark on January 26, 2017, 11:17:23 AM
Thanks, T. Your perspective about the term rehab is useful. I need to clarify if I'm to succeed in capturing interested readers without disappointing due to their misunderstanding and my poor choice of words in the blurb. There it is again: word choice. Such a tedious task.  ;)

Coincidently, some of the words in the longer story description/synopsis include a bit more about the nature of her rehab. (Vicki was captured and tortured by the drug lord and rescued by Charley and Hawk in Book #1)

Paragraph from the book description:
Fresh from a rigorous training program with a DEA FAST team at Quantico—part of her rehab—Vicky is anxious to apply her new skills, deliver some payback with prejudice. Charley and his sidekick, Hawk Handy, are just the pair of exNavy SEALs to help her succeed. But maybe this time they will not be so fortunate as all three find more trouble in the Deep Strait.

Maybe rehab should be recovery from the torture? Or physical rehab? Doh? Help!

Perhaps leave out the rehab and just say:
Charley Manner finds trouble in the Deep Strait when DEA Agent Vicki Borne returns from FAST team training at Quantico with a request. She’s out for revenge for the rape and torture delivered by Mexican drug lord Jose Guizarro during her last op and wants Charley's help to track him down. They stumble upon a secret transfer station forty miles south of Key West. What they find in the depths is far more life-threatening than illegal drugs.

AQ