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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Fantasy, The Red Mountain

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message 1: by Joe (last edited May 02, 2018 12:23PM) (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments When I self published I got a package where they would do the blurb for me and it looks like I need to change it. Any advice?

Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon. At the peak of the highest mountain, stained red with the blood of the armies, the Ghost won.

Society changed. Eventually, the Ghost, the magic, and the madman were dismissed as legends.

But in a different reality, the story continues.

The survivors of a disastrous plane crash have no idea that they’ve awakened in a parallel world—one filled with magic and wonder but no technology. They only know that men are hunting them down and imprisoning them. Five passengers form their own resistance group: the Ghosts.

In this thrilling fantasy adventure, the five men must work together if they want a chance of making it home and uncover the truth behind what is happening and why.


This is what I'm working on (FIRST DRAFT):

Survivors of a disastrous plane crash end up on a land that has been hidden from the world for what it contains. They have no way to contact their homes and are hunted down by professional soldiers not knowing why. While trying to escape, they end up traveling to a different world, a parallel word. With this new world they discover that life here is similar to the middle ages but with magical and mystical elements. With all this happening to them, they decide to form a resistance group and use this world's magical elements against the ones who are hunting them back in their world.


message 2: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments I know there are some amazing blurb writers who will come and help out. Just some basic thoughts to get you started:
I don't understand what's happening - is this a fantasy? An alternate history?
The bigger problem (for me) is the grammatical errors. Those stress me out. (Whenever I find them in my books I'm depressed for days!)
A few clean-ups would help too.
An example for the last sentence would be:
In this thrilling fantasy adventure, five men must work together to uncover the truth behind what is happening - if they ever hope to make it home alive.
Just some ideas - do with them what you will. :)


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon. At this point, were I potential reader, I'd put the book back. That line tells me nothing except two guys do battle. Why? Because one of them is "mad"? Is that enough? "Devastating weapon" is vague, as is "multinational army". There's nothing to chew here. I want something solid.

At the peak of the highest mountain, stained red with the blood of the armies, the Ghost won. Ho hum. I don't know who The Ghost is (other than he's a man). What was the price here? What did he "win"?

Society changed. Eventually, the Ghost, the magic, and the madman were dismissed as legends. I don't know what society was before, so I have nothing to grasp here. Changed for the better? The worse?

But in a different reality, the story continues. Different from... what? I have nothing to compare this new reality to. What story? Two guys battle on a mountain... that's not much of a story.

The survivors of a disastrous plane crash have no idea that they’ve awakened in a parallel world—one filled with magic and wonder but no technology. They only know that men are hunting them down and imprisoning them. Five passengers form their own resistance group: the Ghosts. Now. Since I am your self-appointed blurb coach, I will say... this! This has some meat! It still needs to be fleshed out, but at least I'm finally seeing a story here. I don't get the "no technology" thing. How is that possible? No one is applying scientific knowledge at all? "Magic and wonder" - what does that mean? I'd probably cut all that other stuff before this and flesh out this one paragraph. It has potential.

In this thrilling fantasy adventure, the five men must work together if they want a chance of making it home and uncover the truth behind what is happening and why. Nope. I don't like being told a book is "thrilling" or whatever. Give me a basic plot or theme. Don't tell me how I will react to the book. We already know the five men are working together. No need to bring it up again.


message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon. At this point, were I potential reader, I'd put the book back. That ..."

I see your point, I had the same thoughts but the person who wrote this suggested it and I just went with it. I honestly wanted something short and simple like:

After a horrific plane crash, groups of survivors end up in a continent that has been hidden from the world for what it contains. While trying to find a way back home, they’re being hunted down by a group of professional soldiers that have no mercy. They try to escape at first but the more they knew about the continent the more they realize that escaping wouldn’t matter for what is about to come.


message 5: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Joe, what you have is a short blurb to draw people in on your blog or instagram etc. It's cleaner, for sure, but a longer summary for the back of your book can really help.


message 6: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon.

• This line makes no sense: "who they called him?" Seriously? Did you edit this?

• Punctuation isn't optional. Not only did you leave out commas, the title would be "The Ghost," not "the Ghost."

• The reader has no clue of what "a madman" means in the context of this story. Nor does the term "devastating weapon" say anything meaningful. A club is a devastating weapon if someone hits you with it. Moreover, it's not clear if the madman had the weapon or The Ghost used it

I don't mean to be discouraging, but if this blurb is representative of the writing in the story you're not ready to release or submit the story. There's a lot to writing fiction that's not obvious, but at the same time necessary—and, not taught as part of our schooldays writing skills. So some time spent digging into them, and sharpening your punctuation skills will be a huge help.


message 7: by Joe (last edited May 01, 2018 10:51PM) (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Jay wrote: "Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon.

• This line makes no sense: "who they called him?" Seriously? Did y..."


No I did not edit this, I had a package with a self-publishing company and they did it for me. I knew it felt weird but decided to trust them.


message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Once there was a man who they called him the Ghost who raised a multinational army to battle a madman with a devastating weapon. At this point, were I potential reader, I'd put the book back. That ..."

What do you think of the one I just wrote? It's up in the first comment.


message 9: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "After a horrific plane crash, groups of survivors end up in a continent that has been hidden from the world for what it contains. While trying to find a way back home, they’re being hunted down by a group of professional soldiers that have no mercy. They try to escape at first but the more they knew about the continent the more they realize that escaping wouldn’t matter for what is about to come. "

It's better than the first. There's a good hint of a story here, but it's still vague and I'm not getting any punch from it. Someone hid an entire continent? How? You pass over it like it's nothing, like someone closing a set of drapes. I have a bit more to say, but I'll go to your other thread so as not to get off topic here.


message 10: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Joe wrote: "After a horrific plane crash, groups of survivors end up in a continent that has been hidden from the world for what it contains. While trying to find a way back home, they’re being hun..."

Shouldn't I leave a bit of mystery to get the reader's attention?


message 11: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Shouldn't I leave a bit of mystery to get the reader's attention? "

Mystery is good, but you do need to give us something to grasp. All I get is some people land on a continent and they're being chased around by some soldiers for some reason. Like I said, I can see that there would be a story there, but there's nothing solid to grab.


message 12: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments I had a package with a self-publishing company and they did it for me.

Stay away from "self publishing companies." They invest nothing in your success, and few appear to have either experience in the industry or success in writing. And sadly, anyone can declare themselves a self publishing company. Far too often, the result of such a company's editing and blurb writing that I've seen showed no knowledge of the craft.

After a horrific plane crash, groups of survivors end up in a continent that has been hidden from the world for what it contains.

I really hate to do this, but...

• One is "on" a continent, not in one.

• And if it's a "horrific" plane crash they're dead, not scattered in surviving "groups."

• How can an entire continent be hidden? They're kind of big to hide. Maybe you have a reasonable explanation, but the reader won't get it from this. They'll only be saying, "But wait..."

• "For what it contains," or "by what it contains."? The first seems to make no sense, and the second is too general. In fact, the entire blurb seems that.

The goal of a blurb isn't to tell the story in synopsis. It's only to make the reader want to turn to page one and let the writing hook them.

Based on the blurb, if you've not done it, I would strongly suggest that you spend some time in the local library's fiction writing section. Our schooldays writing skills are meant to make us useful to employers, who value nonfiction writing skills that inform, clearly and concisely. But they're not all that useful when writing fiction, whose goal is to entertain.

You're working hard, and doing everything you know to make the story perfect. But as my favorite Mark Twain quote says, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

So getting rid of the "just ain's so," issues matters...a lot.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.


message 13: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Jay wrote: " I had a package with a self-publishing company and they did it for me.

Stay away from "self publishing companies." They invest nothing in your success, and few appear to have either experience i..."


Thanks for the advice, I'll keep it mind.

This is what I have so far, what do you think?

Survivors of a disastrous plane crash end up on a land that has been hidden from the world for what it contains. They have no way to contact their homes and are hunted down by professional soldiers not knowing why. While trying to escape, they end up traveling to a different world, a parallel word. With this new world they discover that life here is similar to the middle ages but with magical and mystical elements. With all this happening to them, they decide to form a resistance group and use this world's magical elements against the ones who are hunting them down back in their world.

I feel like the last sentence could be shorter but don't know how.


message 14: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Here's how I whacked it up. Just some thoughts - I don't have any more a clue than anyone else. :)

When survivors of a plane crash end up on an unknown island (unmapped region?), they find themselves isolated from the outside world. While slowly being hunted down by a band of professional soldiers, they end up traveling to a parallel world, frought with magical elements. As they adjust to this Middle-Age environment? society?, they pull together to form a resistance - one that will use this strange new world to bring them back home.


message 15: by Andres (new)

Andres Rodriguez (aroddamonster) | 30 comments Hi Joe,

What about this? Hope it helps.

After surviving a disastrous plane crash on an unknown island, the survivors discover they are being hunted. Coming together for survival, they discover a parallel world full of magical and mystical elements. Can they use these new abilities to survive or will the hunters succeed in keeping the islands secrets?


message 16: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Andres wrote: "Hi Joe,

What about this? Hope it helps."


I don't know about Joe, but I like yours. It hits the story hard without all the extra fluff. It could use some tweaking. Three words in a tiny paragraph with the root "survive" kind of bugs me. "Islands" should have an apostrophe. I'd still like to see focus on the main protagonist, the hero, or whoever the central character is. (Although I know that's tough when you don't know who it is).


message 17: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Andres wrote: "Hi Joe,

What about this? Hope it helps.

After surviving a disastrous plane crash on an unknown island, the survivors discover they are being hunted. Coming together for survival, they discover a ..."


Thanks a lot, I really think it's good!


message 18: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Deleting your message Andres. Please don't put links, don't bookwhack, don't hijack threads, etc. Refer to the code of conduct. Thanks.


message 19: by Andres (new)

Andres Rodriguez (aroddamonster) | 30 comments Sorry about that Dwayne, I didn't even think about that, I was trying to make a signature being new to the site. After thinking about it I can see how everyone promoting themselves can come off as annoying unless your someone like Rothfuss or Sanderson.

Oh well. Excelsior!


message 20: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Andres wrote: "After thinking about it I can see how everyone promoting themselves can come off as annoying unless your someone like Rothfuss or Sanderson. "

Don't know who they are, but the rules would apply to them as well.


message 21: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Dwayne wrote: "Andres wrote: "After thinking about it I can see how everyone promoting themselves can come off as annoying unless your someone like Rothfuss or Sanderson. "

Don't know who they are, but the rules..."


You don't know who Rothfuss and Sanderson are????
Go, right now, Dwayne. Turn off the computer and stop babysitting us for a couple days (I know, we need it, but there are other moderators, right?) and read Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson. Rothfuss, just pick up The Name of the Wind and Sanderson, go for Elantris or Mistborn.

In case you're not a sci-fi/fantasy person, ignore above rant. :)

Apologies for straying off topic, but if you ARE the kind of person that reads this stuff, then it was worth it.


message 22: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Jenna wrote: "Rothfuss, just pick up The Name of the Wind and Sanderson, go for Elantris or Mistborn.

In case you're not a sci-fi/fantasy person, ignore above rant."


I read a bit of everything, but I'll be honest (then stoned, I'm sure) sci-fi and fantasy are probably my least favorite genres. I do read them on occasion, but they don't hold my interest well.


message 23: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Dwayne - no stones here. Life's too short to read stuff you don't want to. If you're even in the mood for some fantasy though, they're two authors that do it right.


message 24: by Andres (new)

Andres Rodriguez (aroddamonster) | 30 comments Jenna wrote: "Dwayne wrote: "Andres wrote: "After thinking about it I can see how everyone promoting themselves can come off as annoying unless your someone like Rothfuss or Sanderson. "

Don't know who they are..."


Nothing like a good gut rumble to start the day. Thanks Jenna!


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