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Blurb Workshop > Blurb help - fantasy fiction, Land of Burning Roses

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message 1: by A. J. Deschene (last edited Aug 19, 2018 05:46AM) (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Hi, everyone,
I'm working on my upcoming novel Land of Burning Roses which some of you may remember from an earlier discussion where I tried to narrow down my final title. Thanks so much to those who helped!
As promised, I wanted to ask your opinion on the blurb, even though my estimated release isn't for several months; I just want to get onto it as soon as possible so I'll have plenty of time to get it right before my book's release.
Let me know what you think/how I can improve it. All criticism is welcome and very much appreciated:


(Edited)

I can't ever go back to my life of politics; I can't let another in my family die because of me.


Valeon, 1182.

A wall separates the east and west sides of Known World, with one gate that opens and closes when it desires. Some see it as a cause for celebration when it opens, while others have been affected deeply by the loss of loved ones when it closes.

When my sister came through, she brought her five-year-old daughter, Anna, with her, then disappeared the next day, leaving me to raise the thing a hate most in this world . . . a child.
A child who does not share my language.

Now, after an unusual war has broken out, Anna is being tracked down by our enemies - heavy prices are put on her head, alerting the kingdom's roughest bounty hunters - and there are traitors around every corner, traitors who used to be my friend . . . and Anna's father.

Yet, it seems the fate of Valeon rests with whoever holds Anna in their hands.



What do you think? Would you buy it or would you need more convincing? Let me know your opinions.



message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Fix the title of your thread to comply with the rules and I'll take a look at your blurb. Deal?


message 3: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Dwayne wrote: "Fix the title of your thread to comply with the rules and I'll take a look at your blurb. Deal?"

I'm sorry, I didn't know I was breaking any rules, which one am I breaking?


message 4: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
Um... the ones at the top of the Blurb Workshop? The thread that says "Folder Rules: Read First"?


message 5: by Junkomi (new)

Junkomi Eno | 28 comments A. J. Deschene wrote: "Dwayne wrote: "Fix the title of your thread to comply with the rules and I'll take a look at your blurb. Deal?"

I'm sorry, I didn't know I was breaking any rules, which one am I breaking?"


I would assume this one...

Please use the following TITLE FORMAT when posting: Blurb Help - Genre & Title. For example: “Blurb Help - Suspense, Hollow Towns.” You must stay on topic and you may not add a blurb to the cover thread or a cover to the blurb thread.



message 6: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments I found it and fixed it, thanks for your help, you two!


message 7: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments First, it's [I]way[/I] too long. At most, a blurb is 250 words.

But that aside, you're trying to give the reader a mini synopsis, in both the body of the blurb and the last page sales pitch. But think of yourself in the bookstore.If you like the blurb you don't buy the book, you look inside to see if you like the writing. And that writing is what sells the story,

So focus on making the reader [I]need[/I] to turn to page one and begin to read. And you don't do that with facts about things that happen deep into the story. Think in terms of the voice-over of the theatrical trailer. The reader wants to know what the problem is, why your protagonist is the only one who can resolve it, and what terrible things will happen is they can't. Hit the big ticket items that will make them react emotionally, not facts. In other words, just like in the story, itself, your reader is seeking what will entertain, not inform them.


message 8: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Jay wrote: "First, it's [I]way[/I] too long. At most, a blurb is 250 words.

But that aside, you're trying to give the reader a mini synopsis, in both the body of the blurb and the last page sales pitch. But t..."


Alright, I ran through a MASSIVE overhaul of the entire blurb, it's a lot shorter now and more to the point. I still feel kinda - I don't know - about it, though. Let me know what you think.

A. J.


message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments I'm glad the italics are gone. I would say try it in third person.


message 10: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 148 comments A. J. Deschene wrote: "To protect the ones you love, sometimes you must stand to make them cry."

How does this relate to the rest of your blurb? It's the kind of thing I could see being at the start of, or before, a chapter, but I would take it out of the blurb unless you actually focus on it more.


Valeon, circa 1282:
I don't know what Valeon is... assuming it's your fictional world/city from this, but the date made me wonder if this was historical and want to go look up what was happening in the world in 1282. This may just be me because I'm history obsessed, but I still think it's not necessary in the blurb.

Every time the Gates of Nisime open, the L’itians are granted access into my kingdom, including the family I feel so incredibly removed from."

This is the interesting part, in my opinion so it bears a little more explanation. Why are the gates closed? How often do they open and why? I'm assuming that Nisime is a city that has a gate - or the Kingdom - but who are the L'Itians and why is the main character's family member one of them, but not the main character?

Really, what I want to know is why the gates are closed and why they open at certain times. What are the gates supposed to be keeping out? There's a lot of potential interesting stuff that can come with that concept of closed gates if you explain it a bit more.

Also, I'm getting the sense that the main character is the leader of this kingdom for some reason... maybe because of the use of "my Kingdom" but I'm not sure if this is true.

This time, my sister brought her five-year-old daughter, Anna to my solar, then disappeared the next day, leaving me to raise the thing I hate most in this world . . . a child. More specifically, a child who does not share my language.

Well... children are pretty good at picking up languages, but anyway... I find the shift from the city's gates opening and the sense of an impending threat to this simple family story a bit abrupt and confusing. It doesn't help me tell what kind of story this is going to be.

When Nisime closed, our surrounding enemies resumed a never finished war of which we can not win. We had no allies, no army, and no warning to prepare us for what came.

Again, you just abruptly shifted back to the bigger Kingdom-scale picture. Also the first sentence is awkward. I'm not really sure what "never finished war of which we can not win" means.

More importantly, what is Nisime and why did it close? Did it close because of the war? Or did the war erupt because Nisime closed itself off?

Now, the enemy seeks Anna to use her as a war tool, and there are traitors around every corner . . . traitors who used to be my friends. Even Anna’s own father is infamously known for betraying his family’s trust years ago. I can't trust anyone.

Somehow, in this time of uncertainty, the kingdom’s fate lies with whoever holds Anna in their hands.


Aaaand, back to Anna, but at least now you're showing that her small-scale personal story is connected to the bigger picture of the war. I'd say get rid of the stuff about her father and the details about why the enemies are trying to get their hands on her and just substitute all this with a sentence that very clearly explains that she's being hunted and that her fate is tied to the outcome of the war somehow.


I didn't see the first version of the blurb and have no idea what your story is about, but I'm going to attempt to try doing an alternate blurb based on what you have in the current blurb and see if you like any parts of it:

We had no allies, no army, and no warning to prepare us for what came.

Nisime's gates closed and a war which we could never hope to win raged outside.

Then hope came. The gates opened. My sister, whom I hardly know, brought her daughter Anna along with her into my life. But our hope was fleeting. The war raged on.

When the gates closed again my sister had disappeared, leaving her daughter behind and flinging me into a world of treachery. Just who is this little girl and why is she being hunted?

/2cents.

Again, I have no idea if this even relates to your story, but just attempting to work with the elements that I think really worked for me in your blurb?


message 11: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Noor wrote: "A. J. Deschene wrote: "To protect the ones you love, sometimes you must stand to make them cry."

How does this relate to the rest of your blurb? It's the kind of thing I could see being at the sta..."


I'm glad to see that you have so many questions about my book just from reading the blurb. You were suggesting that I answer these questions immediately to satisfy the blurb readers, but I feel like that would be a step in the wrong direction. The purpose of a blurb is to pique the potential buyers' interests so they will actually read the book, and blurbs with unanswered questions seem to do this most effectively. (I think I said 'blurb' too many times.)
Thanks for pointing out the unnerving transition from big-scale worldly things to little Anna, I'll definitely try and fix that because now it bugs me too. ;)
And thanks for writing an alternative blurb for me, it really shows you care, and it was fun to see how you pictured the story in your head with the little bit of information I gave. The original blurb wasn't much different, it was just longer . . . WAAAY longer.
I'll see how I can fix the problems you pointed out.

A. J.


message 12: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
To protect the ones you love, sometimes you must stand to make them cry.

I know it's common, but I never really care for blurbs that start with these vague questions or statements that seem removed from the actual book. I could be in a minority on that, though.

Valeon, circa 1282:

Maybe 1282, maybe not. We're not sure. Hum dee dum. (Sorry, the word "circa" feels wishy-washy to me.)

Every time the Gates of Nisime part, the L’itians are granted access into my kingdom, including the family I've separated myself from, both physically and mentally.

Gates of what now? Who is granted access? Remember, this is your world. Potential readers won't know what you're talking about.

This time, my sister brought her five-year-old daughter, Anna to my room, then disappeared the next day, leaving me to raise the thing I hate most in this world . . . a child. More specifically, a child who does not share my language.

Here we get to something interesting. This would make a better start to the blurb. So far, this feels like a fantasy, so to a newcomer to your world, the places and dates will mean nothing at this point. Draw them in with the promise of a good story. This has some promise. It could stand some tightening. It's a bit wordy.

When Nisime closed, our surrounding enemies resumed a never finished war of which we can not win. We had no allies, no army, and no warning to prepare us for what came.

I'm a bit confused here. So, the enemy stops a war when the gates are open and then starts up again when they close?

Now, the enemy seeks Anna to use her as a war tool, and there are traitors around every corner . . . traitors who used to be my friends. Even Anna’s own father is infamously known for betraying his family’s trust years ago.

I'm not sure what's going on. There's a war going on in which victory is hopeless. Still the enemy can't win without this child. I'm sure this is explained in the novel, but it's got me baffled.

Somehow, in this time of uncertainty, the kingdom’s fate lies with whoever holds Anna in their hands.

I'm guessing you don't want to give away the big secret as to why Anna is so important, but it might be nice to have a hint.

What I'm seeing here is you seem to have a lot of story you're trying to pack into a blurb. I'd suggest focusing on the most interesting aspect of the story. Don't worry about the date and the gates and how the war stops and starts, etc. That doesn't seem to be the real story here.

Some things you might strengthen -

Why is Anna important?
Why does the main character hate children?
Most importantly, who is this main character? I'm getting sort of an idea what the story is, but not who the characters are.


message 13: by Andres (last edited Aug 16, 2018 08:18AM) (new)

Andres Rodriguez (aroddamonster) | 30 comments Hi A.J.,

First I want to say, I don't think your blurb is too long, I only counted 165 words.

Second I think your doing a great job keeping the questions flowing. This is what makes someone whose already a fantasy reader interested in your book. Your creating a hook not a summarization.

Its perfectly fine to use your own calendar, Valeon but remove the circa. Your going to tell your readers about an event that is occurring not a scientist that can't pinpoint when a volcano last erupted.

Potential readers wont know what your talking about, but your writing in the fantasy genre where Mezzobarrenzan and Azeroth exist. Don't worry about what you call your cities or your people, it should all become familiar as your reader progresses. For a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. These are just names and titles.

Okay, so putting that aside what do we have for a blurb. A Trojan horse story. Troy.
First we have narration, then we have an unnamed hero narrating in the first person. My sister brought Anna to my room. Then jumps back to third. This needs to either be an account of your main character or a narrated version of interest.

Next you jump from past to present to past. The gates are open, present information. The war resumes but the narration goes into the past. We had no allies, no army, no preparation for what came. If a war is currently going on, as a reader, I would assume some types of protection are in place. This doesn't work in a past and present tense but you can change it to future and it will work. We had no preparation for what was coming.

I rewrote this to give you a brain boost. Hopefully it helps and you can further improve it. Best of luck!

Nisime, my kingdom, surrounded by enemies and constant war. A war that pauses today, for holiday, when we open our gates and allow the L’itians access into the kingdom. Access to all L’itians, including the family I tried to leave behind.

This time my sister comes with her daughter, Anna, and then disappears as the gates to Nisime close. Once again, the war resumes leaving me stuck with the one thing I hate most in this world… a child. A child I can’t communicate with. I don’t want the child but I also can’t help notice the attention she attracts. Then she begins to reveal a secret. A secret that might determine the fate of my kingdom.


message 14: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Dwayne wrote: "To protect the ones you love, sometimes you must stand to make them cry.

I know it's common, but I never really care for blurbs that start with these vague questions or statements that seem remove..."


Dwayne:
I see you have a lot of questions, which I consider a good thing. A blurb with lots of unanswered questions usually receives more sales.
I took the advice you gave me, and hopefully, the blurb is a bit easier to read for people who don't understand my world-terms the way I do.
And yes, if I gave away why Anna is so important, it would flat out ruin the ending in a very unforgivable way. I'm really counting on my ending to be the final selling point that says "this was a great book", so I can't afford to give away anything related to it.
I want people to be curious about this mystery, but not frustrated, so how do you think I can fix that from the edited version?

A. J.


message 15: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Noor wrote: "A. J. Deschene wrote: "To protect the ones you love, sometimes you must stand to make them cry."

How does this relate to the rest of your blurb? It's the kind of thing I could see being at the sta..."


Noor:
I've tightened it up a bit, so hopefully it's not as confusing as before, but still has the questions running in the way you liked. I noticed the uncanny shift from past to present tense verbs, but I couldn't find the shift from first- to third-person narration. Let me know if it's still there.

I like the blurb you wrote, but, unfortunately, it doesn't represent my book very well. But I still think it's fun whenever someone writes an alternate version of the blurb for me because then I get to see how they translated the little bit of information I gave. It's exciting, even.

A.J.


message 16: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 148 comments It's much clearer now. On the new version:

I would have appreciated my home more, had I known what was to come.
If you're going to use one of these vague phrases at the start then I would say the first one was much stronger than this. I didn't like the -idea- of using the phrases, but the first one worked better than this one does.

Every time the Gates of Nisime part, our allies, the L’itians, are granted access into my kingdom, including the family I've separated myself from, both physically and mentally.

It's amazing what a couple of words can do. It's much clearer now that I know the L'itians are their allies. I don't know if the both physically and mentally thing is necessary though. It sounds too.... clinical. Maybe try "including the family I've been trying so hard to distance myself from" ... or something like that. It would emphasize the fact that he really doesn't want to take care of the kid later in the blurb and would add a bit more emotion.

When Nisime closed again, and our allies were lost, our surrounding enemies resumed a never finished war of which we could never hope to win.

I like the first part of this sentence because it explains a bit more about the dire straits they are in with their allies being lost, but the next half still doesn't make sense to me and sounds super awkward. Even just getting rid of the word "of" will make it much better.


Now, the enemy seeks Anna to use her as a war tool, and there are traitors around every corner . . . traitors who used to be my friends.

I like this, it emphasizes the betrayal. They're not just traitors to the kingdom or something, they're his actual friends.

Even Anna’s own father is infamously known for betraying his family’s trust years ago.i

If it happened years ago why are you mentioning it now? I think this is a weak follow-up to that strong traitors who are my friends sentence before it. Since the readers don't know Anna or her father yet, I would just skip this entire sentence... or maybe word it differently.

Overall, it's much clearer and better than before. Hope these random comments help. Good luck!


message 17: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Thanks, Noor!
I feel like I'm getting much closer to the finished blurb.


(Edited)
A .J.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
A. J. Deschene wrote: "Dwayne:
I see you have a lot of questions, which I consider a good thing ...
I want people to be curious about this mystery, but not frustrated, so how do you think I can fix that from the edited version?"


Curious would be good. I'm not frustrated, I'm indifferent. There's not much to grasp here. I don't know anything about the main character except he or she lives in some kingdom that is at war and he / she hates kids. There's just not much here to connect to or relate to.


message 19: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Dwayne wrote: "A. J. Deschene wrote: "Dwayne:
I see you have a lot of questions, which I consider a good thing ...
I want people to be curious about this mystery, but not frustrated, so how do you think I can fix..."


I understand now. Let me see what I can do to fix that . . .
A. J.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
The other thing that strikes me as I read it over is, I feel like I've read this before and I don't read a lot of fantasy, but it all feels so familiar. Kingdoms in a long, unwinnable war, treacherous relatives, a child who seems to be the key to victory or doom... Maybe that will work for people who read a lot of books like this. Maybe they're looking for more of the same. For someone like me to pick it up, I need a hint that this one is different from all the others.


message 21: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Dwayne:
Thanks, I'll see what I can do about it.

A. J.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4358 comments Mod
A. J. Deschene wrote: "Dwayne:
Thanks, I'll see what I can do about it.

A. J."


Hey. I wanted to come back and illustrate for you what I'm getting at. As said, I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, but will read it once in a while. Yesterday I was spending the day with a client who wanted to go hang out at Barnes and Noble for a while. I took him. I noticed a copy of A Game Of Thrones on display. I've never read it, but obviously I hear a lot about it. So, I read the blurb. There was a detail in the blurb that caught my attention, the mentioning of summers that last for years and winters that last a lifetime. That was intriguing to me and caused me to open the book. The rest of the blurb was full of fantasy tropes, enough to catch the attention of most fantasy fans. This one detail was interesting enough to catch my attention.


message 23: by A. J. Deschene (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments Dwayne:
I see what you're saying, I'm reworking it to see if I can add something non-tropie.

A. J.


message 24: by A. J. Deschene (last edited Aug 19, 2018 05:43AM) (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 58 comments (Edited)
A. J.


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