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Blurb Workshop > Some general thoughts on blurb writing

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message 1: by Jane (last edited Dec 05, 2018 03:23AM) (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments I have been lurking in this folder, offering occasional comments for quite a while now, and I have some general thoughts which you may (or may not) find helpful.

1. Sometimes people seem to be writing synopses rather than blurbs, and falling into what I see as the heffalump trap of trying to tell the whole story in a blurb. From my point of view this isn’t what a blurb should do. It needs to hook the reader in with a hint of what is going to happen to them. Because if they know the story already why read the book?

2. Mostly it is good if a blurb offers some hint of conflict or peril.

3. The rhetorical question can be a bit overused. As in. Will our heroine ever find true love?

4. Keep it short. I know I’m the queen of short blurbs (three words is my record) but there is a great deal to be said for brevity. You have a small window to catch the imagination of a possible reader. Don’t waste it with too many adjectives.

Those are my thoughts. I humbly await being shot down


message 2: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 670 comments Mod
I sure hope you'll not be shot down. You're trying to help, after all. I hope more people will be inspired by you and share what they see as common mistakes or useful tips.


message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 528 comments Jane's thoughts are spot on as far as I can see.


message 4: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Dec 05, 2018 06:52AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4281 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "1. Sometimes people seem to be writing synopses rather than blurbs, and falling into what I see as the heffalump trap of trying to tell the whole story in a blurb. From my point of view this isn’t what a blurb should do. It needs to hook the reader in with a hint of what is going to happen to them. Because if they know the story already why read the book?"

This is probably the biggest problem I see, too, Jane. We don't need to know the whole story, just enough to get us to peek inside. My general rule of thumb is I don't reveal anything in the blurb that you won't see in the first twenty-five percent of the story.

2. Mostly it is good if a blurb offers some hint of conflict or peril.

Yes. "Jimmy is a wise man" is not interesting. "Jimmy is a wise guy who's about to get whacked" is.

3. The rhetorical question can be a bit overused. As in. Will our heroine ever find true love?

Agreed. Especially since when we see a question like this, we know the answer is going to be YES!

4. Keep it short. I know I’m the queen of short blurbs (three words is my record) but there is a great deal to be said for brevity. You have a small window to catch the imagination of a possible reader. Don’t waste it with too many adjectives.

Yep. Just as you struck out the filler words while editing your book, strike them out of your blurb. You worked hard to make your book snap. Don't give it a sluggish blurb.

Those are my thoughts. I humbly await being shot down.

I got your back, Jane.


message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Jane,you know I love you and this is fantastic advice, but dammit, I can't let you get away with besmerching the good name of the rhetorical question. Can it be cheesy? Yes! But then again, who doesn't like cheese? :-p


message 6: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments Christina wrote: "Jane,you know I love you and this is fantastic advice, but dammit, I can't let you get away with besmerching the good name of the rhetorical question. Can it be cheesy? Yes! But then again, who doe..."

A rhetorical question. With cheese
Could bring a strong man to his knees
And if you keep it funny
It’s right on the money
But don’t use the hackneyed ones. Please!

Jane Jago’s second rule of writing. Always have a limerick to hand


message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1102 comments And . . . avoid using 'pulse pounding.'


message 8: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Jane wrote: "Jane Jago’s second rule of writing. Always have a limerick to hand"

I approve of this rule.


message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1102 comments One exception. I want more than a hint of conflict. I want to be sure there is one. :)


message 10: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments A rhetorical question, with cheese
Could bring a strong man to his knees
And keeping it funny
Just brings in the money
But don’t use the hackneyed ones, please!


and even have one that parses properly!


message 11: by Haru (last edited Dec 06, 2018 09:00AM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Dwayne wrote: "My general rule of thumb is I don't reveal anything in the blurb that you won't see in the first twenty-five percent of the story.

M.L. wrote: "One exception. I want more than a hint of conflict. I want to be sure there is one. :)"

Oooh, that's useful. *writes that down*


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