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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Drama - Old Friends [Working Title]

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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Mellanby (jsmellanby) | 6 comments Hi,

I'd like some honest feedback on a blurb I have been working on for my first book. It is as follows, thanks in advance!

What happened to David at the lake on that baking hot Saturday afternoon affected fifteen-year-old friends Lauren and Matthew for the rest of their lives.

Now, facing the prospect of living their lives with this hanging over them, they follow a suggestion to change their names and move away from the area. So, Lauren became Sarah and Matthew became William while agreeing never to see each other again. This changed after a chance meeting and it was clear the effects of the tragedy took more of a toil on one than the other. With the other seeing how mentally debilitating a person can become.

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

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Not bad, but it could be stronger. What happened to David? Keeping it a secret weakens the notion that it affected Lauren and Matthew for the rest of their lives.

Throwing a lot of names into a blurb can make it confusing. It's not necessary at this point to know what Lauren and Matthew changed their names to. I'd leave it out.

I'm wondering if you meant "toll" instead of "toil".

The last line is fuzzy. It's not clear what you're getting at. Not a good way to end a blurb. I don't know who "the other" is.

It might be good to have some solid details in here, too. As it is, it's all a little vague.

message 3: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments I’d just use the first paragraph. It hits the ‘what happened here?’ button

message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe Mellanby (jsmellanby) | 6 comments Thanks for your comments Dwayne and Jane. I thought I'd keep what happened a bit of a mystery, I wouldn't want to divulge a major event in the blurb.

I appreciate the feedback regarding the names and I will certainly remove that. I did mean 'toll'.

I quite liked it to be sort of vague to give the reader many different thoughts before ever reading the story. I think that's what a blurb should do. I do acknowledge the fact it is very vague though and including other events will entice a reader further.

Thank you so much for your feedback!

message 5: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Thanks for your comments Dwayne and Jane. I thought I'd keep what happened a bit of a mystery, I wouldn't want to divulge a major event in the blurb."

I've learned over the years in this blurb workshop and working with my own blurbs, this is a common desire among authors writing their blurbs. I get it. I used to think the same way. I've learned that blurbs are a lot more interesting and intriguing if they give away big events in the book. Of course you don't want to give all the secrets, mysteries, and plot twists away. The blurb you have gives nothing away. All we can get is something happened to someone named David and it had an effect on two of his friends. We know they changed their names for reasons not given and somehow all this took a serious toll on one of them. That's it. Readers are looking for characters they can care about and looking for a story they can sink their teeth into. They want to know the plot, they want to know the stakes. Again, you don't have to give away everything. At least, however, give us a strong idea of what's going on. If I tell you I wrote a book about a man who was fairly content with life until some bad things happened to him and as he tried to put his life back together more bad stuff happened and he got to the point he didn't think he could fix it all and wanted to give up, I'm betting you wouldn't be interested. Most readers wouldn't be. If you want people to buy your book, give them some idea ahead of time what they're buying.

message 6: by M.L. (last edited Sep 05, 2019 04:07PM) (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments I agree with V.M. and Dwayne, and Jane as well because I like 'What happened to David.' However leaving it at that wouldn't get me to go much further.

You could try shaping what you already have. And you've mentioned that it was a tragedy so we know that.

The other thing is the genre. I'm also thinking more horror or psychological suspense, and that's the way it's pulling, but it may not be right. So it could use a little more direction the author. :)
Below is a re-shape.


What happened to David on that baking hot afternoon?

Lauren and Matthew know but they want to forget. They change their names, they move away, they agree never to speak to each other again, yet the past follows them. It eats away at one of them. It may destroy them both.

message 7: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 843 comments Why should I read this book? I need something more than you gave us. Why should I care about these people? I need a good enough reason to want to open the book to find out how this thing with David affected the two friends.

Most of the books I buy are based on that pesky blurb and if it doesn't make me want to open the book and read it, I move on. This one is blah and I'd not bother to go past the blurb. M. L.'s blurb would at least get me to open the book and read the first page or two.

message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe Mellanby (jsmellanby) | 6 comments Thank you everyone for your comments. I know where I can improve. Thanks for the improvement as well M.L. I'm going to think about how I can make it more enticing to read.

message 9: by L.K. (last edited Sep 06, 2019 11:25PM) (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments I would definitely say you need some concrete details in there. I'm wondering whether the mystery of what happened to David is something that the reader waits until the end of the book to find out, or whether (as your original blurb suggests to me) the reader discovers it nearer the beginning? If it is a mystery that the reader waits until the end to discover I would say your blurb needs to go the other way round, i.e. it opens with some details about your main characters current lives and ends with a "but what really happened to David on that baking hot afternoon?" type line.

It's quite a funny coincidence, but my current WIP revolves around a mystery of a girl who drowned on a hot summer's day! (It's not really similar to yours in any other way though!)

Anyway, if your book starts with a scene showing what happened to David, or this scene happens near to the beginning, and then the main story of the book is about the two main characters having a chance meeting and then trying to resolve the continuing problems they face, it could be that saying what happened to David in the blurb would be the right move and give the reader some sort of idea what problems your characters might be facing in the future.

At the moment the impression I get from the blurb is that most of the book is about the consequences of that hot Saturday afternoon and two people trying to rebuild their lives, so if that is what it's about, then your blurb isn't too far off, it just doesn't have enough to really draw me in, and some extra detail will make readers more intrigued I think, not less.

Also, I sometimes wonder whether readers really remember exactly what was in the blurb once they start reading. Maybe it's just me, but once I've read a blurb and decided whether a book is for me, I pretty much forget about the blurb once I start reading, so it doesn't matter too much if it gives away a few details.

One other point, the sentence "With the other seeing how mentally debilitating a person can become." implies that being around this person is mentally debilitating for others. I feel like that might not be what you mean... or maybe I'm just reading it wrong!

Anyway, good luck with it!

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