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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > Blurb: Can she survive the Cleanse?

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message 1: by Jillian (last edited Oct 31, 2014 09:03AM) (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Title: Freeborn

Warriors aren't made, they're born.

Genre: Dystopian/Young Adult

NOTE: Thank you to everyone who has helped me so far, this is what I've pieced together from several critiques on this post.

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The last eastern city, Coda, is decimated from famine and disease. The only chance of survival for Lucy and her family is to migrate to Grandeur – ‘City of Prosperity’. However, unknown to them, they find themselves at the mercy of the Cleanse Act, a violent gladiator tournament that removes citizens at random, pitting them against each other in a fight to the death.

When the Act calls upon Lucy to shed blood inside the dome, she struggles with hiding a rare genetic gift and capturing the hearts of a broken nation – which may be her only hope at salvation.

WELCOME TO THE MEGADOME! LET THE GAMES BEGIN!


message 2: by Lena (new)

Lena | 172 comments Mod
Based off this synopsis alone, I'm sorry, but I would not read this. I think you have a good story here, but your blurb is riddled with errors that make it difficult to understand. I would work on really polishing it up, using correct grammar, etc, and it will be much more likely to entice readers.

Blurbs are excruciating for every writer...take your time. You'll get there!


message 3: by Lara (last edited Oct 29, 2014 01:00AM) (new)

Lara | 29 comments I agree with Lena. This needs work. Problem is, you've probably read it a hundred times and don't see the errors anymore. Do you have friends who could look over it with fresh, critical (but helpful) eyes? The blurb is always painful to write!

Also, a small note: as 'armor' is one of your title words you should probably be aware that this is the US spelling, whereas in the UK and Australia, for example, we spell it 'armour' (in Canada they use both, but I believe 'armour' is the preferred spelling) - just as this spelling may appear 'weird' to you the same could be said of your version to us. Having said that, us Brits are usually familiar with American/British variations!

Good luck!


message 4: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Lara wrote: "I agree with Lena. This needs work. Problem is, you've probably read it a hundred times and don't see the errors anymore. Do you have friends who could look over it with fresh, critical (but helpfu..."

Blurbs are my enemy! Thank you for your honesty. I guess I didn't put much thought to the 'armor' and armour', but I see your point! I agree that armour would be more appealing to a wider audience.

I shall get to work! :)


message 5: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Lena wrote: "Based off this synopsis alone, I'm sorry, but I would not read this. I think you have a good story here, but your blurb is riddled with errors that make it difficult to understand. I would work on ..."

Thanks for your reply and critique. I'm someone who loves constructive criticism, so your honesty is something I appreciate. I will get to work on polishing it up!


message 6: by Jlweaver (last edited Oct 29, 2014 07:04AM) (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments One thing you should change is the blurb. It rings Hunger Games in every way possible. And your MC is too old for YA. Make her eighteen, that's the oldest they can be. YA protags are almost always from 15-18 maybe 14, so just gotta work that out.

Honestly I'd avoid it because of the Title. I might even with the blurb being the way it is, but the title would shove me away,


message 7: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments sounds more like a synopsis than a blurb. also way too similar to hunger games. what bugs me is the glaring trope that i cant stand where someone with no combat experience is suddenly thrust into a fighter role. it just won't fly. this lucy appears to have special snowflake stamped on. i wouldn't read this either.


message 8: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments young adult is 13 to 18 whereas new adult is 19 to 25. just so you know


message 9: by Jillian (last edited Oct 29, 2014 08:59AM) (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Well I wasn't asking about the title, but thanks anyway. I know not EVERY story is going to appeal to EVERYONE.

So this needs polishing. You can't judge this little snip-it saying it "screams" Hunger Games. It actually has nothing to do with that particular storyline, besides a girl fighting in a dome (which I might add, an actual stadium - not that I need to explain myself at this point). Can you think Gladiator?

Now going on to people with no ability to fight and thrust into this type of life so-to-speak. Who's to say they aren't trained when chosen?

See, people are way too quick to judge.

That's okay, I'm working on it.

Thanks everyone for your replies. Maybe could be a little less harsh, though I appreciate the honesty.


message 10: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments No harsh (: I know the pains of writing a novel, and the title isn't important, because an agent will change it, but the blurb isn't too bad. I would just not make the fighting to the death so upfront and it's not too hard to make a nineteen year old eighteen. I was not trying to be cruel or harsh. I was just being honest! Wish you the best of luck!!!!


message 11: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Jlweaver wrote: "No harsh (: I know the pains of writing a novel, and the title isn't important, because an agent will change it, but the blurb isn't too bad. I would just not make the fighting to the death so upfr..."

No offense taken, I'm just frustrated with writing a stupid blurb! :)

Yes, changing her to eighteen isn't hard. Thats's all I write is YA, so I'm not sure why I made that simple mistake!

With the fighting to the death being mandatory, I was trying to hook, line, and sinker the reader right away, but maybe I don't need that?


message 12: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments It doesn't sound like hunger games but that's what people are going to think. I think her genetic condition is interested. Perhaps you should ellaborate on that?

The only thing with the title is, I'm a 14 year old boy, (who is publishing a YA also dystopian story) and even though my agi doesn't matter I know what titles really capture attention. Kids my age are liking snappy titles that are super cool, and I think if you don't genderise you could get a bigger potential audience, because boys don't care if the character is a girl. All my friends who are guys have read divergent and hunger games. So I think not genderising could help you.

Also try to leave the blurb off with sinker. Like a suspenseful question.


message 13: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Jlweaver wrote: "It doesn't sound like hunger games but that's what people are going to think. I think her genetic condition is interested. Perhaps you should ellaborate on that?

The only thing with the title is,..."



I'm 28, so writing for YA isn't too difficult still, however, coming from a younger person's perspective about the gender of the protagonist makes sense (for the title).


message 14: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments Hopefully Ive been helpful


message 15: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments Also when I said elaborate on her genetic thing I meant the blurb not the book


message 16: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Jlweaver wrote: "Also when I said elaborate on her genetic thing I meant the blurb not the book"

You have and thank you! :)


message 17: by Lara (new)

Lara | 29 comments I agree with people commenting on the 'rare genetic' thing - makes it sound like she's got some kind of disfigurement or disease, but I'm assuming that it's more of a 'gift' that will help later on in the story? - could you hint at this without giving it away entirely (which I assume you don't want to do)?

I'm new to the reviewers group and see that some of the comments are quite 'blunt' (to put it politely) in their approach, but if one is willing to take it all on board there are some really good suggestions (and reasons) given for changing the title / age of your protagonist / wording etc. If nothing else, thank you for bringing this possibly of generating such a wide range of help to my attention - I'll be doing this with my own work, for sure, when it's finished!


message 18: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Lara wrote: "I agree with people commenting on the 'rare genetic' thing - makes it sound like she's got some kind of disfigurement or disease, but I'm assuming that it's more of a 'gift' that will help later on..."


Thank you for the reply! I do like the suggestion of hinting more at her "rare genetic" condition.

=)


message 19: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Kisak | 9 comments Lara,

Are you the one who wrote Alfie Knight? If so, brava! It is fantastic. I did a review on my kindle for it. My 11 year old son went crazy for it! More please.


message 20: by Robert (new)

Robert Michael | 26 comments I had some comments that were very helpful with regards to my blurb and the biggest by far was to shorten it. I also feel like you're running into a lot of people who feel the plot is similar to the Hunger Games, so what if you took a different approach and left certain similar elements out?


18 year old Lucy and her family flee their famine and disease stricken home in Omega-4, arriving at “The City of Prosperity”. There she finds herself at the mercy of the Cleanse Act, a violent gladiator tournament that purges citizens at random. When the Act calls upon Lucy to shed blood at the stadium, she struggles with hiding a rare genetic gift and capturing the hearts of a broken nation.


message 21: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Robert wrote: "I had some comments that were very helpful with regards to my blurb and the biggest by far was to shorten it. I also feel like you're running into a lot of people who feel the plot is similar to th..."


Very nice! I like your version a lot. I might steal some bits and pieces of it for my revision. :)


message 22: by Lara (last edited Oct 30, 2014 01:53PM) (new)

Lara | 29 comments Kathryn wrote: "Lara,

Are you the one who wrote Alfie Knight? If so, brava! It is fantastic. I did a review on my kindle for it. My 11 year old son went crazy for it! More please."


Kathryn, wow! Thank you so much...do you know that's my first review from someone I don't know (at least I don't think I know you??!!). You've made my day! I've had great feedback from friends but there's always a niggle in your mind that they're just being nice because they know you - and a lot of kids who have read it don't have access to write reviews so I'm struggling to get it out there. Did you find out about the book randomly or did someone recommend it? You've given me hope! There will be a sequel one day!

Jillian .....sorry to hijack the discussion about your blurb for something else. I still haven't figured out how to contact people directly!


message 23: by Lena (new)

Lena | 172 comments Mod
Actually I think "Gladiatrix" is a pretty catchy title...but then, I think Gladiator/Matrix, and some people might think Gladiator/Dominatrix, so maybe not!

I will try to be more specific as far as suggestions (and hopefully not harsh):

Your blurb begins:

MEGADOME! LET THE GAMES BEGIN! (Is their actual games? Or are they fighting to save the city? This could be more clear, or leave it out).

In order to live in the nation’s number one city, fighting to the death is mandatory. (Is the #1 city Mega 1? Or Omega 4? I'm assuming it's Mega 1, but this could be more clear or left out altogether).

Omega-4 has crumbled. Famine and disease have decimated the city, and the only way out is to migrate to Mega-1 – ‘City of Prosperity’. (I could live without the city names, which are similar and I don't know about them yet, so it makes it confusing. A blurb should be very simple and clear. You can lose an average reader like me with too much detail.)

Lucy, eighteen years old, does everything in her power to leave Omega-4 in order to save her mentally sick mother and two starving younger sisters. Trekking across perilous terrain isn't her only problem – but hiding a rare genetic condition is. (This whole bit could be tightened, shortened, etc. "18yo Lucy does everything in her power to leave her crumbling city to save her family...." Is she already in the arena here? I'm sure this is all very clear to you, since you wrote the book and know it so well, but having never read it, the blurb leaves me confused at every sentence).

Difficult to travel abroad with migrators, the others become suspicious of her standoffish actions. Now, Lucy and her family have no other choice then to travel alone after a murderous attempt on their lives nearly end in death. (I'd cut all or most of this, as it sounds like summary of events).

What she doesn't anticipate upon entrance through the protective walls of Mega-1 is becoming a spectacle for their long-time initiated Cleanse Act - the removal of citizens at random through violent tournaments. (here's where your real story begins. I'd focus more on this part, with only a sentence or two to introduce her circumstances before she arrives).

Capturing hearts, shattering lives, and becoming exposed, she becomes 'the daughter in armor' for the blood-soaked dome. (exposed has a sexual connotation that conflicts with the rest of your synopsis...I think 'wardrobe malfunction' when I hear it :)

Through the struggles and sacrifices, Lucy Grove will ignite a fire that spreads wildly across a broken nation. (Nice sentence, but might give away too much and the fire imagery reminds me of Hunger Games, which from your previous comments you do not want).

I hope that helps and is not too harsh!


message 24: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Lena wrote: "Actually I think "Gladiatrix" is a pretty catchy title...but then, I think Gladiator/Matrix, and some people might think Gladiator/Dominatrix, so maybe not!

I will try to be more specific as far a..."
"

This wasn't harsh at all! Very helpful actually. If you don't mind I've revised two different versions I could private message you? I'd like your opinion.

:)

I will also take what you've said and look over the two revisions, as well.


message 25: by Lena (new)

Lena | 172 comments Mod
Yes, I'd be happy to look at them. Or, you could post them here, scary as that is, and get more general opinions. I'm only one (very opinionated!) reader.


message 26: by O.E. (new)

O.E. Boroni | 10 comments Hey Jillian
So another thing I think you should look at is the name of your cities. "Omega 4" because it's not terribly exciting. Think catchy but mysterious. Like "Azkaban in Harry potter" or "Camelot in Merlin." Game of thrones also has some pretty fascinating names. The name of the cities alone speak of solid imagination so I think you should revise it. It is crucial to the novel's appeal.


message 27: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Omoye wrote: "Hey Jillian
So another thing I think you should look at is the name of your cities. "Omega 4" because it's not terribly exciting. Think catchy but mysterious. Like "Azkaban in Harry potter" or "Cam..."


I'm brainstorming now. :)


message 28: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments Okay, how's that?


message 29: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments the new blurb is cool. good job


message 30: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments now i want to read it :p


message 31: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Romanowski | 36 comments K.P. wrote: "now i want to read it :p"


Thank you! :)


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