Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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AUTHORS' CORNER > I would love blurb feedback!

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message 1: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Does it draw you in? Have I piqued your interest?


A treasure hidden deep in the Fijian mountains, guarded for centuries by the descendants of a legendary explorer. 

A ruthless businessman who won't let anything--or anyone--keep him from taking it. 

And Benjamin Stone, just an average fourteen year old kid, is the only one who can stop him. 

When Benji's mom surprises him with an escape from his normal, boring life, he's thrilled. A real life adventure he's always dreamed of. It's supposed to be an easy vacation in Fiji full of hikes, river swims, and living like locals, but then things get...complicated. 

And suddenly, Benji finds himself in a race against a group of men determined to get their hands on the treasure first. And if they do, innocent people are doomed. To succeed he'll have to be more than average. 

He'll have to be a hero.


message 2: by Nick (new)

Nick Green (nickgreen_catkin) | 8 comments Okay, some thoughts:

'an average fourteen year old kid' - I'd avoid terms like this, similarly 'normal, boring life'. There's no such thing as average, and what life, really, is normal? Try to show his apparently 'normality/averageness' in something specific (e.g. Luke Skywalker was introduced to us as a farm boy. That was specific.)

There are various other 'vague generalities' that detract from the current wording. E.g. 'ruthless businessness', 'innocent people are doomed' etc. Even in a blurb, I'd aim for specifics. Otherwise it can look like too many other blurbs and get lost in the crowd. This is your one big chance to be unique. Don't squander it.


message 3: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Thanks, Nick, for the feedback--it's much appreciated. I see what you're saying about being vague. I guess if it's vague enough you could write two very different books that are both described by the same blurb. I can think of another way to introduce the character, but do you have any ideas about the "normal, boring life" part? My goal is to convey the character's feelings towards his daily life.


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen Malone I agree with Nick that specifics are what will make this stand out. In terms of showing us he thinks his life is boring, what if that line read something like:

"The occasional outing to Pete's House of Pancakes is all the excitement Benjamin has in his life, so when his mom surprises him with..."

or "Up til now, the highlight of Benjamin's life was the time he finished twelfth in the school 5k fundraiser, so when his mom..."

Something to show the mundane life he's led so far but that also clues us into Benjamin's personality...

good luck- this sounds fun!


message 5: by Andy (new)

Andy Mulberry (andymulberry) | 15 comments I like adventure stories and the book sounds fun!

Condensing your story down into a few enticing sentences ain't easy (speaking for myself here), and I agree with the feedback already given that being specific trumps vagueness.

The blurb for the book is usually the first thing a reader reads. I guess show don't tell applies to the blurb too. Whereas a synopsis is more tell, less show.

Maybe you could write a blurb around the "one" incident that turns Benjamin's 'normal' life around? The moment his life changes?

Good luck!


message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Good blurb comments and advice! I don't have anything to add; I'm off to contemplate my own blurbs.


message 7: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Great feedback. You guys are awesome. What do you think of round 2?

A treasure hidden deep in the Fijian mountains, guarded for centuries by the descendants of a legendary explorer.

The Ironsides, a ruthless family that won't let anything--or anyone--keep them from taking it.

And Benjamin Stone, a fourteen year old kid from the suburbs, is the only one who can stop him.

Up to now, the most exciting event of Benji's life was a snowstorm knocking out the power for a week back in third grade, which is why he's thrilled when his mom surprises him with an escape from his everyday routine. A real life adventure he's always dreamed of. It's supposed to be an easy vacation in Fiji full of hikes, river swims, and living like locals, but when Benji overhears something he shouldn't have, things get...complicated.

And suddenly, Benji finds himself in a race against a bitter enemy and his gang of hired thugs determined to get their hands on the treasure first. And if they do, they won't be leaving any witnesses.

To succeed he'll have to be more than average.

He'll have to be a hero.


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
I think it's stronger. But in the 3rd paragraph, who is "he" that Benji must stop? The reference before it is to a whole ruthless family, who seem more like they are defending than acting.


message 9: by Andy (new)

Andy Mulberry (andymulberry) | 15 comments I think it's stronger too. I do like shorter blurbs, but that's just a personal preference. Good luck!


message 10: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Okay, so i took everyone's awesome feedback and scaled it back a bit so as not to chase any middle schoolers off with a long description. What do you think?


A treasure hidden deep in the Fijian mountains, guarded for centuries by the descendants of a legendary explorer.

The Ironsides, a ruthless family determined to take it--no matter the cost.

And Benjamin Stone, a fourteen year old daydreamer from the suburbs, is the only one who can stop them.

An easygoing break from school is turned upside down when Benji learns of a plot to steal the treasure and silence anyone who would claim it as theirs. And suddenly, he finds himself in a race against a bitter enemy and his gang of hired thugs determined to get their hands on the treasure first. And if they do, they won't be leaving any witnesses.

To succeed he'll have to be more than average.

He'll have to be a hero.


message 11: by Peter (new)

Peter Millett (petermillett) | 29 comments Hi Craig, okay if I add my 2 cents worth? Sounds a fun book. I've trimmed it back even further.


A guarded treasure hidden deep in a faraway island …

A band of ruthless hunters who will stop at nothing to steal it …

And 14 yr old Benjamin Stone - the only one who can stop them.

Benjamin’s holiday on a remote Pacific island is turned upside down when he stumbles upon a plot to steal a protected treasure.

Risking life and limb, he finds himself in a race against time to try and outwit a group of criminal masterminds and violent thugs before the treasure is lost forever.

But to succeed he'll have to be more than average.

And to make it out alive he'll have to be more than a hero.



Cheers

Pete


message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
That's really good, Peter! Especially for adverts, where you don't get much eyeball space, as it were.

I think I use too many words in my blurbs.


message 13: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments I find myself stopped at the 14 year old who is "the only one who can stop them" bit. That makes me feel like this book is going to be all cliche. WHY would this kid be THE ONE to stop the baddies?

So my input is: change up that part to make me believe there's something interesting about this kid (if he's "the one") that is going to make for a worthwhile adventure. If it's more that this adventure has just fallen into his lap, then say so.

Ex: "And fourteen-year-old Benjamin Stone, the only one brave/smart/stupid enough to try stopping them." OR "who gets the job of trying to stop them." OR "who accidentally gets in their way." Or something along those lines, eh?


message 14: by Peter (new)

Peter Millett (petermillett) | 29 comments True. But 90 % of action books for boys have an age factor appeal. It's just the way it is. The world doesn't need another pink coloured girls book jacket, but I sense there's are five thousand more being printed in 2015.


message 15: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments Peter wrote: "True. But 90 % of action books for boys have an age factor appeal. It's just the way it is. The world doesn't need another pink coloured girls book jacket, but I sense there's are five thousand mor..."

Was this comment for me? Not sure, so thought I'd clarify that I'm NOT suggesting to get rid of the character's age in the blurb. I was just too lazy to keep repeating "fourteen-year-old Benjamin Stone" in my examples. ;-)


message 16: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Thanks for the feedback. I definitely want to avoid a story about anyone being "the one." There's way more than there needs to be already. With my main character, he just happens to overhear details of a plan with no one else around to help him and no time, or way, to call for that help. He sort of falls into the role and does his best not to die, while at the same time trying to save the lives of innocent people. I'll take the feedback into account and do some revisions.


message 17: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments How 'bout this:

A treasure hidden deep in the mountains of Fiji.

The Ironsides, a ruthless family determined to take it--no matter who stands in their way.


And Benjamin Stone, the fourteen year old daydreamer who wanders into their path.

Benji's relaxing vacation is turned upside down when he discovers a plot to steal the guarded treasure. Suddenly, he's pulled into a race against bitter enemies determined to get their hands on the treasure first.

To beat them he'll have to be more than average.

He'll have to be a hero.


message 18: by Jay (new)

Jay Parks (jay_parks) | 19 comments I particularly like the last line -- it reinforces your title Unexpected Hero.


message 19: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments I like this better. Short but gives an idea of the adventure we're in for. Kinda gives me excited shivers at the end. :-) I'd pick this book up if I saw it.


message 20: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments I love the line "the fourteen year old daydreamer who wanders into their path"

I'm getting a sense of who your MC is here . . . I'd pick it up!

Best of luck with this! Love everyone's input. As S.W. says, I'm off to review my own blurbs!


message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Actually, that was me, MG :D

I also loved that line. It really does more to make me want to read this than the "only one who can stop them" line.


message 22: by Craig (new)

Craig Goodwin | 16 comments Thank you so much, everyone, for your help on this. I really feel we've whittled this down to a strong book blurb.


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