The Story of a Blurb

My latest novel is set for an Oct. 1 release. Everything is almost ready to go–the editing and proofreading is done, the last touches are being put on the cover (watch for the reveal in the next couple of weeks), and the formatting has begun. The main task left to complete is writing the blurb.

closed_book-04I don’t think I’m the only author in the world who would tell you: I HATE WRITING BLURBS.

It doesn’t make much sense. I managed to write the first draft of an 80000 word book in about 2 weeks, but the prospect of writing a couple of paragraphs designed to entice readers to buy my hard work makes me want to consume enough high alcohol content Canadian beer to forget the task exists. How do you distill that much story into a few paragraphs? It ain’t a lot of fun, in my opinion.

For shits and giggles, I though I’d show you all how the entire process progressed. Here’s my first attempt:

A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky.  In the time since, the land has lived in relative peace, but rumbles of dissension have begun and unstoppable magic set in motion.

The forgotten scroll Teryk and Danya discovered speaks of Small Gods, a barren Mother, and the end of man. None of it makes any sense to the prince and princess, but for one line: The firstborn child of the rightful king.

After a life spent behind walls and lived free of adventure, Teryk sees is opportunity to make something of himself and secure his place amongst the legends of the kingdom.

But if there are forces determined to prevent the return of the Small Gods, then there are those set on their rebirth–powerful sources that won’t let a cocky prince and his doubtful sister stand in their way.

I ran this version past my editor and some of my author friends. Comments ranged from changing the second sentence to focus on the characters rather than the scroll (pretty much unanimous), to clarifying the source of the unstoppable magic, to my editor calling me a novice (she’s gentle and caring with me that way). She also pointed out that the standard format of a blurb is: main character needs to do something, but villain stand in the way. Will main character win, or will the villain stop him?

These comments and suggestions led to the second version:

A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky. Like the rest of the kingdom, Teryk’s life has been peaceful–boring some might say. Then he discovers a long-forgotten scroll that speaks of the return of the Small Gods, the end of mankind, and names him–the firstborn child of the rightful king–the savior of the kingdom.

But rumbles of dissension have already begun, and an ancient magic had been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. With only a prophecy he doesn’t understand and his doubtful sister to aid him, Prince Teryk embraces the first adventure of his life…

An adventure that will see him battle gods.

So let’s see: the second sentence concentrates on the character, the bad guys are mentioned, the stakes are raised. Mission accomplished? Not quite. Now the grips is that it’s not exciting enough (too tame, I believe the terminology was).  My editor made some suggestions; I added, subtracted, and tweaked, to come up with blurb 3.0. Now it’s your turn to let me know what you think.

When Shadows Fall (The First Book of the Small Gods)

A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the kingdom in a time of peace.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls learning policy and procedure is boring and uneventful. Hungry for adventure, Teryk finds a long-forgotten scroll that speaks of Small Gods, the fall of mankind, and the kingdom’s savior–the firstborn child of the rightful king. It’s his first opportunity to prove to his father he’s worthy of the throne and assure his place in a long history of legends. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea–a man who can’t possibly exist–and save mankind.

But an ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth. But named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him have in a battle with the gods?

And that’s where I’m at. Comments? More importantly, would you consider buying the book based in this description?

And what about all the authors out there…how do you feel about writing blurbs? Tell me your blurb stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “The Story of a Blurb

  1. Hate blurbs, though sometimes they can be fun. Your version three sounds ok. Yes, I would buy the book, but you already knew that! 😀

    Things that still sound shaky: leaving the kingdom in a time of peace (ugh!); long history of legends (too vague); two ‘buts’ in the last para (you don’t need the second one).

  2. Good, but i would just tweak one thing if it were mine. I don’t like when you say “Hungry for adventure, so he finds a ling forgotten scroll..” This makes it seem like he just goes “i want an adventure. Oh hey! Look! A long forgotten scroll! Cool!”

    And when you say “long forgotten” how does he know? Maybe called it ancient or mysterious.

    And Maybe change it to something along the lines of “Teryk, bored with the intricacies of running a kingdom, stumbles upon a mysterious scroll…”

    But other than that, i’d be eager to buy a copy- would love to see what the cover looks like!

  3. Just read it again, and yeah. You make it seem as if finding the ‘long forgotten scroll’ was easy- like it happens everyday. I would imagine it to be quite difficult. Did he find it in a secluded place? Perhaps mention it. Did a mysterious hag give it to him? Mention it. Saying how he got the scroll puts a bit more depth and story to it.

    Also, i agree with the comment above about a ‘long line of legends’ being not right. A bit of tweaking will fix this.

    But i like the concept of the Goddess and the Small Gods, very interesting.

    1. Thanks for the input, Jae. I see your point about the scroll, and I’ve already tweaked the legends thing. I’ll put the updated version up shortly. Thanks again for the input.

  4. Ok…here’s an update:

    A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

    For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful…until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom’s savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It’s his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can’t possibly exist—and save mankind.

    But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

    Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before stand in a battle with the gods?

      1. Thanks Jae. I’m planning an Oct. 1 release. If you’d like to stay up to date on this and any other future releases, you can sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar of the blog.

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