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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Sci-fi thriller - Templum Veneris

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message 1: by Jeremy (last edited Sep 04, 2019 10:16AM) (new)

Jeremy Jones | 13 comments EDITED 9/4: Okay, one last attempt. Thank you Dwayne, B.A, V.M. and Ian for your comments and suggestions. Hopefully I'm getting closer:

Althea Fallon sensed something wrong with Cytherea the moment she set foot in that gleaming city on Venus’ highest mountain.

It wasn’t just that every citizen was a perfect specimen of physical perfection.

It wasn’t just that Rainha Isabel Maxamilliano ruled over all aspects of the city and demanded complete devotion from her subjects.

It wasn’t just the city’s military force made up of men trained at birth to defend the state.

And it certainly wasn’t that the rest of her team was enthralled by Isabel and the pleasures of Cytherea.

A darker secret keeps this city in line. And when Althea finds the truth, she and the rest of her team must make a choice: flee before the might of the Cytherean army, or fight against Isabel’s tyrannical regime and plunge the long-lost human settlement on Venus into total chaos.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4271 comments Mod
I'll be blunt, Jeremy. It's a mess and hard to follow.

Parts of it seem to be referencing the first book. I'd try to lose that.

Due to the word "their" and later "her", it's a little unclear if Isra Jicarrio is a person or a group of people. The phrase "a job she can be forgotten..." doesn't make any sense.

I don't really get the notion of a utopia fleeing one planet and going to another. If it's a utopia, why would they need to go somewhere else? "Ruled by Rainha ..., Cytherea a city..." isn't really a sentence and I'm not sure what it's trying to say.

Not following what a "secret hidden" is. The team's medic is Althea... but I don't know what the team is. And I don't know which team she's going up against. Her own? Rainha's? Are they on the same team?

I'm not picking up on what the plot is. Someone hears voices in a place there shouldn't be voices. Someone rules a utopia. Someone senses a secret hidden. And everyone fights for some reason. I guess.


message 3: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Jones | 13 comments Dwayne wrote: "I'll be blunt, Jeremy. It's a mess and hard to follow.

Parts of it seem to be referencing the first book. I'd try to lose that.

Due to the word "their" and later "her", it's a little unclear if I..."


Thank you for your bluntness. I'll take another run at it.


message 4: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 811 comments Rule of thumb for a blurb...give who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, and what is at stake. Do it is 100-150 words or less. Keep it simple. Like Dwayne, I couldn't figure out what was going on and who was who or doing what or why. You should only have 2 or 3 names at most. We don't know or care about these people and you need to make us care enough to read the book.

Lose the first paragraph. Cut the second down to the most important items and people.

Isra Jicarro and her team arrive from Earth to broker an alliance with Cytherea only to discover that all isn't as it seems. Everyone they see is the epitome of physical perfection. Then the teams's medic discovers the hidden secret of that perfection and forces them to make a choice to flee or stand and fight the tyrannical regime of Isabel, the leader of Cytherea.

You can play with that and up the stakes, but don't give tons of unneeded information . Notice, there are only 2 names...the protagonist and antagonist, the location and the initial stakes. Always follow the KISS principle. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)


message 5: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1101 comments Maybe I'm too practical but the first thing I thought of was it can't be on Venus. Life is impossible on Venus. Mars can be terraformed (not the Evening Star). It's reminiscent of the age of John Carter's Mars. On the other hand if that's the feel then I guess it's OK. If not, then you might think of leaving it out.


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4271 comments Mod
Oh. You changed the opening post to a new version.

The entire first paragraph doesn't work in a blurb. The City of Cytherea sits high on the tallest mountain of Venus. It is a gleaming jewel that shines atop a desolate hell. I don't really get this. Do you mean "desolate hill"? If so, the second sentence basically repeats what the first already told us, and the first wasn't exactly a grabber. If you really mean it sits in hell... it's kind of intriguing that hell is actually located on Venus, but confusing that a nice little city would be located in hell.

The golden fields of grain, fruitful orchards and prolific mines that surround it provide its citizens with everything they need. I'm looking for a story. I get fruit and grain. I'm putting the book down by this point. Even someone like me that doesn't mind slower fiction is lost, trying to find a story here. Citizens sitting around picking and eating fruit isn't very exciting. Save the descriptions for the book. Keep the blurb popping.

The city’s infantry force, made of men trained at birth to serve the state, defend the city’s border. Literally trained at birth? That's kind of interesting, in a way. But, still, I'm not getting any notion this place is in any real danger. So... might as well be defended by babies, I guess.

Over of this, Rainha Isabel Maximilliano sits at the head of a regime that maintains total control over all aspects of the city. So, all is hunky dory. Nothing to see here. Everything is in control.

But when Isra Jicarro and her team arrive from Earth to broker an alliance with Cythrea, they discover unsettling signs that the city that Isabel shows them is not the city as it actually is. What? It's a good idea to read your blurb aloud to yourself when you think you've finished, just like you do with your novel. It will help you catch confusing sentences like this. It's overly wordy and doesn't flow.

Viekko Spade, the team’s security officer, notices that every single man and woman in the city is beautiful; the epitome of human physical perfection. Well, that's nice that they have beautiful people. Must be from eating all that fruit. Still, no real signs of a story here.

Cronus, the team’s computing expert, finds a Cythrean woman trapped in a stifling caste system. My brain has gone fuzzy trying to keep track of all these names.

But when Althea Fallon, the team’s medical officer, discovers what happens to the children that don’t meet Cytherea’s physical standards, she stumbles onto the vicious truth behind the city. Mixed feelings now. First, we're tossed yet another name to try to keep track of. But, we are also finally given a hint there might be a story here. Far too late for that.

The staggering consequences of this discovery forces every member of the team to make a choice, flee the city before the might of the Cytherean army, or fight against Isabel’s tyrannical regime and plunge the only human city on Venus into total chaos. The best sentence of the blurb, though it is wordy.

Take V.M.'s advice. Short, exciting blurbs work best.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 333 comments As Dwayne says, the last two sentences are the best, but cut down on the names. We don't know who they are - two names are usually enough. The last sentence gives a clue to the stakes in this story, but it has taken too long to get there.


message 8: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Jones | 13 comments Woo... tough room.
Seriously, though. Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to take one more run at this. First post has been edited with the new blurb.


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

Dwayne Fry | 4271 comments Mod
Jeremy wrote: "Woo... tough room."

Yes, it is. I've ran a number of blurbs and covers by this group. Sometimes the feedback feels harsh, but we're giving you an idea of what potential readers might think.


message 10: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Connell Wardlaw | 8 comments Jeremy, I am joining this a bit late, but hope my comments will still be helpful.

Firstly, I was at first confused thinking Cytherea was a person, not a city. Although you go on to talk about it as a gleaming city, at first casual reading I already had assumed Cytherea must be a woman and so did not make the connection. Ironically, I note that in earlier versions you write "the City of Cytherea". Personally, I'd keep the earlier version, just to be clear.
The confusion means that the next four paragraphs don't make a lot of sense.
It makes me realise how careful one has to be in writing blurbs. People read them in a casual mood, they are just browsing after all (I'm thinking of my own blurbs). They won't read a second time if they misread it the first.
Concerning the rest of it, it's too long. I would keep the first para (modified) and the last, with a single intervening one to connect. I would omit mention of Isobel from the last para as the reader has no idea who she is. Alternatively, introduce Isobel in the second paragraph. Try and keep below 150 words.


message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1101 comments I'm late on this but reading the rewrite, parallelism usually works best at three, so you might think of omitting the last 'wasn't.'


message 12: by Faith (new)

Faith Jones (havingfaith) | 17 comments Do you know the rule of three in comedy and marketing? It reads well if you have 2 x "It wasn't just..." to build up, then drop the crescendo with "It was...". Four wasn'ts is cooks spoiling the broth. Readers are comfortable with patterns, but you can still make them original. Venus, the beauty, the mystery, the pink poison gas.


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