The Art Of Blurbing


I spent some time yesterday morning writing a blurb for the novel I’m just about to start work on. A good exercise to get me focused on what the story is actually about and at least i now know the MC’s name!

I know some people get confused between a blurb and a synopsis, so we should probably start there..

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Blurb = Found on the back of a book and used to entice a reader to buy it. Usually two or three paragraphs in length. No spoilers.

Synopsis = A summary of the whole story from beginning to end. Usually about a page long (unless told otherwise) and sent to agents/publishers. Must include spoilers.

So now we’ve cleared that up lets get to the nitty gritty…what should a blurb actually do? What needs to be included?

  • Wet the readers appetite.
  • Convey atmosphere.
  • Indicate what kind of book it is, genre.
  • Short and sweet, draw the reader in quickly.
  • Introduce the protagonist.
  • Describe the theme, if the book has a strong one.

Right, so now i know what a blurb is and what i should include, i must be able to write a great one yeah? lol….you be the judge. This is the blurb i wrote for my new WIP Pressence  :)

“It just feels so right.” Was the thought that escaped Beth Adams lips as she stood outside number 10 Button Lane with the Estate Agent.

Having battled her ex-husband Michael for nearly two years in their bitter divorce she was looking forward to a fresh start and rebuilding her life. An unloved Victorian house in a picturesque Kent village was exactly what she needed.

But behind the dirty stained glass in the front door lurks a dark force. Beth’s search for recovery soon turns to terror as she is forced to confront her fears and the pressence, with whom she is convinced she shares her new home.

Does beth have the strength to win this last battle? Or will the strain be enough to tip her over the edge?

Do you ever buy books on just the basis of the blurb? I know i do, so i guess its important to get it right :)

Open to suggestions and opinions…does this work or do i go back to the drawing board? lol

 

Tangled – The Synopsis


Well, its gone off in the post to The Romantic Novelists Association *bites finger nails* So i thought I’d share the synopsis.

It’s not exactly a synopsis, more like a blurb lol

Tangled is a novel about love, loyalty and the consequences of betrayal.

Anna Scott is a middle aged housewife who is bored with her life. Marriage and the pressures of bringing up children have left her overweight and tired. What happened to the fun loving girl she used to be?

Her husband Tim, several years older and recently retired, is content to potter around his garden and spend the rest of his days relaxing. Anna feels that life is slipping her by and whilst on a girls night out with her best friend she meets Harry, who she once knew as a twelve year old boy when she was involved in his case in her professional capacity, as a social worker.

Against her friends advice she agrees to meet him for a coffee, just to catch up with how his life has changed. But Harry makes it obvious that he wants more than just a mutual friendship. Flattered, Anna soon finds herself involved in a passionate affair with a man 12 years her junior.

Harry tries to persuade her to leave Tim and after she stalls he visits Tim and tells him of the affair. Unbeknown to Harry, Anna has recently aborted his child and Tim takes great pleasure in telling Harry so..

Anna decides to stay with Tim but Harry starts to stalk her. He becomes aggressive and even sets fire to Tim’s car. As Anna and Tim start to rebuild their marriage Tim is found dead on the living room floor, stabbed by a knife that is missing from Anna’s expensive knife block. But who are the suspects? Harry seems the obvious choice, but did Anna really want the boring housewife life after experiencing the excitement of Harry? Or could Tim’s first wife Fay (the one he left to be with Anna) hold the key to Tim’s final hours?

Yeah, ok, it’s definitely more like a blurb isn’t it lol ;) But that might have something to do with the fact that I haven’t really decided who did kill Tim lol. I have a theory, I know who I’d like to see as the killer, and I know how I want the book to end. It’s completely finished, so at the moment the reader is kind of left wondering who the murderer is.

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Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at Freedigitalphotos

What do you think? Who killed Tim? ;)

Faber Session 12 – Conflict and Resolution


Blooming freezing up London Monday night so when I got off the Tube I dashed into the first coffee shop I could see spare seats in, which just happened to be Patisserie Valerie. I had a latte, a tart, and did some writing for an hour….bliss :)

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Ok, on to Monday nights session :)

We talked about having conflict in our stories, and the different forms of conflict there are. Internal, external, environmental, you know all this, right? And that posing a question, having a problem for your character to solve can carry the narrative all the way through your novel. That’s what makes up the plot….but what about sub plots?

I’m not sure I really understand sub plots. I mean, the general consensus is that sub plots are hard to pull off in first person…ok, I can kind of get that. And that when they are included in a 3rd person novel, that they feed into the main plot, but are independent to the main narrative.

Hmmmmm, I’m not sure I get it :(

The only example that I knew that was given was My Fair Lady (Pygmalion) where Eliza’s father is getting married, and that would be a sub plot. Ok, well if that’s the case, my first draft of my WIP (But Not Forgotten) was all sub plot? Lol.

Help me out here guys? How would you define sub plot? Before tonight’s class I would have said it was something along the lines of, say, (sorry Jayne, your WIP was the only example I could think of) 4 women going on a cruise, and 1 of them is escaping an abusive husband. What happens to the other 3 women on board (one discovers she’s pregnant, one meets a bloke etc) are the sub plots, yeah? Or have I got that completely wrong? *groans*

Wow….this is the first lesson I’ve come away from being more confused after than I was before lol. On a lighter note, they have provided us with a rather nice Christmas Tree in our class room :)

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The NEW WIP *drum roll*


I’m up at Faber all day today, so I’ll post about that tomorrow….in the meantime…..

Ok, after my critique recently (and my IWSG post) I’ve had to totally rethink my WIP *gulp* Thanks for all your words of encouragement on my IWSG Post, by e mail, and Facebook. Right, that’s it, I’m bucking my ideas up….rolling up my sleeves….gritting my teeth, and DOING IT!

It’s been hard trying to use the same characters and the same basic plot line to come up with a new story, but, I think I’ve cracked it. So here goes, tell me what you think. This is more a blurb than a synopsis, although, I have written a synopsis that I’ll share at a later date. It needs a bit of editing ;)

Be careful what you wish for… At the age of 40, Laura Hopwood finds herself in desperate need of excitement. The arrival of her husbands long lost brother means that again she finds herself torn between both men. Daniel, the one she’s married to, is dependable, doting, and just plain boring. Whereas Ronnie is mysterious, moody and dangerous.

But there are two things in life that Laura loves more than anything, her daughter Ruby, and the cafe she inherited from her parents. Just how much is she prepared to risk to recapture the excitement of her youth? Did she make the wrong choice 20 years ago? And will the devastating consequences of her actions mean she’ll lose everything, including her daughter, when she finds herself having to make a similar decision 20 years later?

So that’s the basics :) I have to say, at the moment, I haven’t really decided what will happen (although i have a pretty good idea!). But, I’m quite excited about it! Which is a good sign yeah?

But I do have 2 problems, so I need your advice…

1. POV Last time it was in multi 3rd person, which didn’t work. So I’m thinking perhaps I should do it in 1st person? Having Laura as the protagonist. In class they suggested Ruby, as I know from personal experience what she would be going through, but, I can relate more to Laura if that makes sense.

2. Timeline Where do I start the story? It originally spanned 25 years, but I’ve cut that down to 20 (and could possibly shave a few more years off that) Do I start at the beginning, or now when the action starts and feed in back story?

So I guess I better unveil the title…

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I wanted a strong setting. They didn’t need to be rich accountants anymore. So now, Laura & Daniel run a cafe that Laura inherited from her parents. It’s also where she met Daniel & Ronnie in the first place, so has been the central, consistent setting throughout the whole story.

So what do you think? Honest opinions and any advice much appreciated!

Insecure Writers Support Day – December


Bloody hell, where do I start!

Today is Insecure Writers Support Group Day, the brain child of Alex J Cavanaugh it’s where a whole lot of writers post about their insecurities, once a month, and get support from fellow participants. Seriously, I urge you to join! You will soon discover you are not alone :)

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Ok, back to my post…..

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that in 2010 (my first Nano) I ended up with a 65,000 word unfinished story entitled, But Not Forgotten. I did a spell check on it last year, and this year I’ve tinkered with it, a bit, only the first 10,000 words. I then decided a few months ago that But Not Forgotten wasn’t working and gave up on it (a previous IWSG post). But there has been something haunting me about it ever since. So I submitted the first 4,500 words of it for my critique in my Faber class (see the response here ) telling the tutor that I was unsure about it, couldn’t finish it and wanted to know whether I should.

Was that complete madness? Looking back now, probably. I’d considered it to be 2nd draft (after a spell check and slight tinkering) but, if Chris Baty is right and what you’re left with at the end of Nano is actually draft zero, then what I actually submitted was first draft lol.

The response, (you can see if you click the link above) wasn’t good and although I know, deep down in my heart, every single word they said and suggestion they made was true it’s still left me questioning whether I’m cut out for all this? Whether I can actually do it, be a writer I mean. When do you draw the line? When do you admit defeat and come to the conclusion that you will only ever be a writer as a hobbyist and that you’ll never have any commercial success? I’m not motivated by money, but, having given up an actual “job” to pursue my writing over 2 years ago I’m now feeling that perhaps that was a bad idea and that I should just go get a job?

But I got the answer I wanted, right? It’s crap, bin it! Lol

So now I have the daunting task of starting again. A new story with the same characters. A new POV and only part of the existing plot line. I don’t even know where to start! Lol. In June I have the opportunity to pitch to a room of agents and publishers….SHIT! It’s a great opportunity, and I don’t want to blow it, but will I ever have anything that’s good enough?

I’m hopefully starting on it again this week, but I said that last week! *takes deep breaths and reaches for the alcohol* I now understand why there are a lot of writers out there with drink problems lol ;)

I hope everyone else is having a better month…..will pop over to as many as I can today :)

Faber Session 10 – Story Vs Plot


Ok, well today, you do get a picture of last nights cake!

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Lemon, rosemary & olive oil cake! Oh how I will miss you once the Faber course is over *sighs whistfully* But enough of the cake porn, lets get down to the nitty gritty :)

Tonight, the discussion centered around what the difference is between story and plot. The simplest way to show the difference is by using the example given by Nigel Watts in his excellent book Write A Novel where he says:

The King died and then the Queen died. Is a story.
The King died and then the Queen died of grief. Is a plot.

Causality distinguishes story from plot. Does that make sense?

In it’s basic terms it boils down to:
character=choices=causality

Its basically the choices, that lead to consequences, which then becomes the plot.

We talked about Christopher Bookers 7 Basic Plots and why they work.

Then talked about plot bombs and how to keep the plot moving.

A very interesting session where my critique of last week was used as an example, as what we shouldn’t be doing, i.e. throwing everything at our reader in the first 5,000 words…whoops! *snigger* :)

So do you agree? Are there only 7 Basic plots or would you say there are more? And if you have another theory on the definition of a plot, I’d love to hear it :)

But Not Forgotten Needs Forgetting


Ok, what can I say about the critique *laughs hysterically*

If I just say that it looks like 65,000 words will be going in the bin within the next couple of days does that indicate what they thought? ;) (a metaphorical bin of course!)

Seriously, I knew it was a mess, which was why I decided to use that piece. I just didn’t realise how much of a mess it was :(

I knew I’d tied myself up in knots, I knew that was why I hadn’t been able to come up with an ending, but, what I was hoping was that I could tinker with it, make it better. What I didn’t expect was to find that the general consensus is/was to start from scratch!

A different angle, a different POV, don’t start with the suicide, in fact, don’t kill him off….WOAH! Concentrate on one aspect of the story and forget the rest! OMFG!!!!!!! I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT!

So now what? Complete restructuring that’s what! A completely new novel really, only using the same characters and only part of the original plot line *slumps*

I don’t know if I have the energy!

Don’t get me wrong, everyone was helpful and sympathetic, but I came away thinking perhaps I’m not cut out for this, and what the hell am I doing in this class? Be prepared for a major self pity trip post on IWSD next month, honestly :)

I went for a Spa day today. I was going to cancel because all I wanted to do was sit in my jim jams, drink hot chocolate and sulk lol. But, I made the effort, went, and had my nails painted. I went for a walk and contemplated stuff. It was a nice day :)

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I’m signing out with Edwin Collins

I need to think……