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

 

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How To Give A Great Critique


hate critiquing! There, i said it…but do you know why? Not because i can’t be arsed. Not because i’m far too busy, and not because i don’t want to be helpful to my fellow writers. No, the reason i hate critiquing is because i don’t really know how to critique lol

I can point out the odd spelling mistake, the need for a comma (I’m comma happy so thats not always a good indication lol), the fact that the tenses are all over the place. But so often i find myself saying “Really enjoyed this.” or “Well done, can’t wait to find out what happens.” PAH! Thats not exactly helpful is it? lol.

Im currently doing the Start Writing Fiction course on the Future Learn website. Its run by the Open University (so its got some pretty well known writers involved) and this week they gave us a pdf entitled “Commenting on the work of fellow writers” which in my case, was much needed 😉

Do go give the article a read, but, if you haven’t got time…heres a brief outline:

  1. If you’re asked to focus on a specific issue, don’t forget to address it.
  2. If you think an aspect of the writing works well try to analyse why, but also look for its faults.
  3. If you think an aspect doesn’t work, again, analyse why, but also look for the parts that are working better. Focus on positive aspects.
  4. Always comment on the idea and its implememtation.
  5. Bear in mind that its probably a WIP. Assess where it might go and what tactics could be used in its development.
  6. Show evidence of any claims you make, the part of the writing you are talking about.
  7. Suggest there may be other opinions “I wonder if anyone else thinks this?”
  8. Think about how well the writing is geared to the target readers.
  9. Be honest, but not dismissive.
  10. Point out the good bits! 🙂

So when i sat down yesterday afternoon to do the critiques for my writing group with my red pen (it has to be a red pen doesn’t it?) i felt much more confident (having the OU sheet next to me), but I’m not promising i’ll ever be able to give a detailed analysis 😉

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Are you confident when it comes to giving critiques?

 

 

Insecure Writers Support Group Day – May 2014


Today is Insecure Writers Support Group Day, or affectionately known as IWSG for short. I haven’t taken part since December last year (WOW! Has it really been that long?).

If you don’t know what it is check out the link, but basically its one day every month where writers get to whinge and moan, give in to self pity, and share their insecurities with the world. As a member its then your job to visit other participants and offer hugs, support and encouragement.

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Saving The Cat…Or Trying To…


My writing group have decided to do sessions with Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat book. Yes, i know its for screenwriters, but…there does seem to be some merit in applying Snyder’s rules to other forms of writing. The aim? To hopefully improve our novels, so I’ve decided to start work on a new one for the exercise.

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Our first session was to come up with a “Logline” and a title for our piece. Ok, well most of my fellow writers already had stories, and titles. Me? I just had an idea in my head. But, by the end of our first session that idea was more formed and i had a better understanding of what my story is about.

I haven’t done a blurb, a synopsis or a plan. I don’t even know the main characters name…yet…but I’m determined that my Nano novel this year will be planned. I’m so fed up with being a pantster and tying myself up in knots. So I’m hoping that these sessions will get me well on the way to being more organised.

Snyder says you should be able to sum up your story in one or two sentences. If you ask yourself the question “What is it?”

So here is my title and the Logline of the novel i’ll be working on from now on…

Presence

A woman’s search for recovery after a stressful divorce turns into a nightmare, as she battles against the late owner of her new home.

Ok, that just about sums it up…but…I’m not happy with the word nightmare. I dunno, is it just me? Does that word work? Does it make you think ghost story? Does it make you think she’ll just have a bad time or do you think the story will actually involve nightmares?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts 🙂 The next session is genre *shudders* lol