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Blurb Workshop > Blurb Help - Fantasy, The Day You Were Born

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Greenbrook (danielgreenbrook) | 5 comments Hi everyone. Like some other authors, I suffer from an unrecognised condition which makes me very capable of judging other people's blurbs while being utterly unable to tell if mine are any good. So, yeah, I would like some opinions on the blurb for my epic fantasy short story (which is the prologue to a series): If it flows, if it has strange sections or turn-offs and if it makes you want to read the book in the first place.


"In a small, forgotten village at the forest’s edge, a half-elf warrior named Dramon watches helplessly as the birth of a child goes horribly wrong.

Dramon is used to hardship. He is a Hybrid, half elf and half human, and he fights every day to survive alongside his kin. They can count on none but themselves and often turn a blind eye to what happens around them, but not always: sometimes they hear of humans on the warpath, raiding the elven border. Those rumours they never ignore.

Four seasons past, Dramon and a few other warriors were sent ahead of time to one of these settlements: they hoped they could stop the humans.

They were too late then, and Dramon feels like he's too late now…


The Day You Were Born gives a first glimpse of the fictional land of Thessian, introduces the Deathweaver Series and its main protagonists: the Hybrids."


message 2: by M.L. (last edited Jul 19, 2020 01:00PM) (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments It's okay but the first sentence doesn't have a solid tie to the rest of the blurb. Dramon watches and then what? He's haunted for the rest of his life by what he could have changed but didn't, or couldn't because of a different loyalty or oath? The rest of it alludes to the first sentence but I think it needs to be stronger.


message 3: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 29 comments I agree with M.L. The first sentence doesn't really tie in. Also, who are Dramon's kin? Elves? Humans? Or other Hybrids?

Here's my suggestion to fix. Make the second paragraph the first. Start with:

"Dramon is used to hardship. He is...."

Then add the first sentence back, but add the word 'when' like this:

"When in a small, forgotten village at the forest’s edge, Dramon watches helplessly as the birth of a child goes horribly wrong, ..."

Now, finish that sentence being sure to add how this tragedy defines the conflict of the story. Good luck!


message 4: by John (new)

John | 56 comments I'm sorry, but I can't figure out what is going on in the blurb :-)

Apparently the humans only attack once in a while so who/what is this warrior fighting on a daily basis?

This thing about once being sent ahead to protect a village and now he feels he is again too late; should this tell us that a new danger is imminent? If so, it seems to be the main conflict and would need to be made more explicit.

Describing a book as giving a glimpse into anything seems dangerous — if I am to read a whole book I expect to get more than a glimpse ;-)


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

Dwayne Fry | 4335 comments Mod
In a small, forgotten village at the forest’s edge, a half-elf warrior named Dramon watches helplessly as the birth of a child goes horribly wrong.

Unnecessary snark: Why are there only half-elves in fantasy? How come you never hear of three-quarter elves or eighth elves? Sorry. Your first sentence is eye catching.

Dramon is used to hardship. He is a Hybrid, half elf and half human, and he fights every day to survive alongside his kin. They can count on none but themselves and often turn a blind eye to what happens around them, but not always: sometimes they hear of humans on the warpath, raiding the elven border. Those rumours they never ignore.

Huh. The baby is suddenly forgotten. No longer important to the story. We seem to be onto something else. Speaking of forgotten, why do they need warriors to protect a forgotten village? Why worry about the rumors? If the village is forgotten, they don't have anything to worry about from the outside. Otherwise, this paragraph is pretty vague. It doesn't really tell me anything other than Dramon is fighting every day (against what?) and there are rumors now and then about humans.

Four seasons past, Dramon and a few other warriors were sent ahead of time to one of these settlements: they hoped they could stop the humans.

I don't know what "sent ahead of time" means. They can time travel? They went into the future, yet they were four seasons in the past? What is a season in the context of this book? What settlements are you talking about?

They were too late then, and Dramon feels like he's too late now…

It gets more and more vague as it goes along. Started solid with that baby, but the further it goes, the less I understand about the story. There are humans and there are half-elves and they're fighting for some unknown reason. And there may be time travel going on. That's all I'm getting.

The Day You Were Born gives a first glimpse of the fictional land of Thessian, introduces the Deathweaver Series and its main protagonists: the Hybrids.

Yeah, you need to have a solid sell on this book before trying to entice people into a series. The blurb is too much a brief glance. You need to pique interest. As it stands, this comes across as a generic fantasy story about a warrior who has to fight his enemies. So? How is your story different or special compared to other stories like it?


message 6: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Greenbrook (danielgreenbrook) | 5 comments Thanks, people. You're right about the first sentence: I was probably zoning in too hard on "create a perfect hook" and I neglected the general flow.
I'll try to make it more specific.
Dwayne, thank you for your breakdown. It's a lot to digest, but it was very helpful (And, on a side note, there can be no quarter-elves in this universe: all half-elves are sterile).


message 7: by Frances (new)

Frances Fletcher | 16 comments "In a forgotten village at the forest’s edge, Hybrid warrior Dramon stands helpless as the birth of a child goes horribly wrong.

Dramon is used to hardship. He is half elf and half human, and he fights every day to survive alongside his kin. They count on none but themselves and often turn a blind eye to what happens around them. Sometimes they hear of humans on the warpath, raiding the elven border. Those rumours they never ignore.

Four seasons past, Dramon went ahead of time to a Thessian settlement to battle the humans and save the Hybrids.

They were too late then.

Is Dramon too late now?


message 8: by Roda (new)

Roda Grubb (rodathewriter) | 3 comments I think hooks are the hardest. What do you say? How much? We don't want to give it away yet we definitely want to entice them to read the book. Watched a class the other day on pitches, very similar to hooks.
They said to do the 4 Ws.
Who as in who is the character who pulls you into the book. You did that.
Where? Where is the setting? You kinda did that but not exactly.
When? Timing. Got it.
What? What is happening at the moment the book starts?
I think it's all about clarity.
I love how G.R. said:
"Now, finish that sentence being sure to add how this tragedy defines the conflict of the story."
Dwayne has me thinking hard on the:
"How is your story different or special compared to other stories like it?"
Don't be afraid to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and have friends, etc. give input. Then it's up to you to know when it's time to go to print!
Good luck!!!!


message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments Frances's rewrite makes the story sound a lot clearer and makes sense. If the baby's birth is important, I would suggest saying why it is. That is still missing because no one really knows. :-) Except the author, naturally.

Also, the statement in post #1 about a 'first glimpse,' does not appeal to me. An entire book should not just be a first glimpse. I want a whole story. Fine to have more in the series, of course.


message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Greenbrook (danielgreenbrook) | 5 comments Hi everyone,

thanks to everything for their feedback. It's a lot more than I would have expected. I have read all of your comments, thought on them, and decided that I had to re-write the entire thing. The comments from John and Frances were very important when taking this decision (Frances: Your re-write was very good, but a few details were off; it means I hadn't explained them really well).

Here's the re-written one. Longer, perhaps, but I couldn't condense the premise without making everything sound strange.


"When a war ends, trouble is just beginning, and the bloody conflict between humans and elves was one such war.

Three decades after, the Hybrids still live with its dreadful consequences.

Most people would tell you that the elves and the humans are at peace, but it’s not true. Their nations are at peace, but not much else. There are skirmishes along the border, and it's not rare for human warbands to trespass into elven territory and sack whatever village they find.

The Hybrids help the elves they can: they hope to prevent innocent deaths and draw some goodwill to their otherwise unknown community. However, they don’t always manage. Sometimes, the humans strike and retreat before they can do anything, and all they can do is care for the survivors.

Such is the story of a Hybrid warrior, Dramon. A year ago, he saved a young elf named Deluara from one of these raids, only to discover that she was pregnant with a half-elf baby: a Hybrid like him. On the day of the birth, it seems that the circle is coming to a close; until everything takes a turn for the worse...

As Deluara’s agony worsens, Dramon relieves the entire time he spent with her: The joy, the sadness, the love and the rage. Above all, he remembers the helplessness, his need to do something good for her, but never managing.

The Hybrids live in their infernal stalemate, hoping and praying that tomorrow will be better. But that is too much to ask of one little boy. Or is it?"


message 11: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Sells | 124 comments I'm not great with blurbs myself, but I will say, this reads much better than the first one and makes a lot more sense. (Although, you have 'relieves' where I think you want 'relives' in the penultimate paragraph!). It is quite long, but then, it's a complicated world and premise to explain in a short space, I suppose. Sorry, I'm not being much help like some others here will be, but I definitely do think this makes a lot more sense than the first one and I find it quite intriguing :)


message 12: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments It's clearer but I think there is too much repetition: making a statement and then explaining what you said and whether or not is is true, etc. It weakens the sense of urgency. This gives me the impression the book will be the same way. On the other hand, there are readers who like things gone over sort of repeatedly so it may appeal to them.


message 13: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 29 comments As before, I am agreeing with ML. The blurb paints a clearer picture but still leaves many simple questions unanswered, and the writing needs to be much tighter.

"When a war ends, trouble is just beginning." -- That's your tagline, you know, the sentence on the back of a bookjacket above the blurb that is usually a larger, bolder font.

Then open with (just to give you an example of how to tighten the writing):

Three decades after the bloody war between Elves and Humans, the Hybrids still live with its dreadful consequences. Despite an uneasy peace, skirmishes along the border are not rare as human warbands trespass into elven territory, attacking any villages they encounter.

That's as far as I'll go, but here are some questions that I feel the blurb is not clear about:

1) You are painting the picture that mostly it is the humans that are bad. Is this the intent?
2) Do the Hybrids as a whole only side/sympathize with the elves?
3) How are the Hybrids' community unknown if they are constantly trying to help the elves?
4) Why is the circle coming to a close? Is it because someone cared for Dramon when he was born?
5) "As Deluara’s agony worsens, Dramon relieves the entire time he spent with her" -- This sentence really doesn't make sense to me. How much time did he spend with her? What makes more sense would be: "As Delura's agony worsens, Dramon relives the harsh events of his own life in the short time he spends with her." --But maybe that's not what you intended.
6) I don't think 'infernal' is the right word choice.
7) The Hybrids are willing to just exist in this stalemate? That seems awfully passive. If they are constantly saving elves, why haven't they developed better relations with them?
8) Who is the 'little boy'? Is it Dramon? Or is it Delura's child? I'm a bit confused and still not sure I completely understand what the overarching conflict of the story is supposed to be.

Whew. Sorry. I know that's a lot to digest. Hope it helps.


message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Greenbrook (danielgreenbrook) | 5 comments G.R. wrote: "As before, I am agreeing with ML. The blurb paints a clearer picture but still leaves many simple questions unanswered, and the writing needs to be much tighter.

"When a war ends, trouble is just ..."


Okay, so... I've made some adjustments. I'll re-post most of the blurb with the major changes highlighted for clarity.

"Three decades later, the Hybrids still live with its dreadful consequences. They know that peace is a lie. They hear of the skirmishes fought along the border and of the human warbands that trespass into elven territory, sacking whatever village they find.

The Hybrids help the elves they can, preventing innocent deaths and drawing some goodwill to their otherwise shunned community. But they don’t always manage. Sometimes, the humans strike and retreat before they can do anything, and all they can do is care for the survivors.

Such is the story of a Hybrid warrior, Dramon. A year ago, he saved a young elf named Deluara from one of these raids, only to discover that she was pregnant with a half-elf baby: a Hybrid like him. A troubled year goes by, and Deluara flourishes anew after the tragedy. Until the day of the birth, when everything takes a turn for the worse...

As Deluara’s agony worsens, Dramon relives the time he spent with her: The joy, the sadness, the love and the rage. Above all, he remembers the helplessness, his need to do something good for her, but never managing.

Now, Deluara’s child is all Dramon has left of her, and he swears that he’ll make him into the warrior to lead the Hybrids out of their [insert adjective] stalemate. But that is too much to ask of one little orphan boy. Or is it?"

Specifically for G.R:
3) Way too long to explain (it takes half of the first novel of the series, and this book is ten times shorter.)
6) Is it just the word or the metaphor? Speaking plainly, would "hellish" be better, for instance?
7) Also very long to explain (now there's some more emphasis on the fact that they're looking for solutions, at least)

Anyway, I think that now it's in a good enough shape. I'll wait a couple days, integrate any further changes, give it a final keyword/marketing-talk shine and upload it. I'll keep modifying it in the future if anything better comes up.

Thanks guys. You've all been incredibly helpful. I think I'll soon plague this forum again, as it turned out to be very useful.


message 15: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 29 comments Daniel, that is much better! The changes you made make the blurb much stronger (and clearer) in my opinion.

As for the word "infernal." Hellish might be a better choice, but you could also look at words such as hopeless, despairing, desperate, wretched, or abysmal.


message 16: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 244 comments You’re trying to tell your story’s synopsis in 250 words or less. But that’s not what the blurb is for. If you could meaningfully give the reader that in 250 words it wouldn’t be all that complex a story. Right? So put the plot aside and focus on what matters: making the reader want to turn to page one, where the writing will hook and sell them. Let them discover all the interesting plot points as the protagonist does.

In the latest version you’re flailing, I’m afraid. You are literally telling the reader about the plot and including things for which only you have context, like, “As Deluara’s agony worsens…” Her agony worsens? From what, and to what? You know. She knows, but the reader? Not a clue, because they have your words, but not your intent.

Never forget that as in the writing of the story, itself, the reader cannot know how you would speak the narrator’s words. It’s why we can’t tell either story or the blurb as a transcription of the words we’d use before an audience. Have your computer read the blurb to you. (The story, too, because it’s a really useful editing technique for catching your “whoops” issues with punctuation and awkward phrasing) to be sure the narration doesn’t require emotion the reader won’t know to place into the reading.

In a blurb, in general, we make the reader know of the situation; the “problem;” why the protagonist is the one who must solve it; and, the consequence of failure. We hit the emotional “big-ticket” items, not historical facts. Avoid the dreaded, info-dump of data that will cause the reader to skim, looking for the red meat.

Hope this helps.


message 17: by John (new)

John | 56 comments The basic premise seems to be: "a Hybrid warrior, Dramon. A year ago, he saved a young elf named Deluara from (the human raiders who destroyed her village), only to discover that she was pregnant with a half-elf baby..."

The political situation, about the war etc is, in my opinion, not relevant for the blurb. Sometimes good people save other people - we understand that already.

I'm, not sure if the bigger part of the story is a flashback, concentrating on the relationship between the two ("As Deluara’s agony worsens, Dramon relives the time he spent with her") if so then we probably need more about the conflict(s) and problems in that.

If the main story is about Dramon raising the child, then I think you said somethjing important earlier, that Hybrids can not have children. There seems to be a tasty conflict in a man who never expected to be a father (at least not in the way we usually say is "normal") finding himself not just raising a child, but trying to raise him to be a hero.


message 18: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Greenbrook (danielgreenbrook) | 5 comments Jay wrote: "You’re trying to tell your story’s synopsis in 250 words or less. But that’s not what the blurb is for. If you could meaningfully give the reader that in 250 words it wouldn’t be all that complex a..."

I've thought about that. That's pretty much what made me write the first attempt: trying to catch the problem without illustrating the context. The one doubt I had while writing this was exactly, "Am I giving too much away?"

In the end, I decided that yes, maybe, but I think it's not a completely failed attempt for two reasons: this is a very short story with a relatively simple plot, and the story can be pieced together from very early on: the plot is not the only element that keeps the reader in, in this case. Second, this blurb is selling the entire series as much as the single story.

Still, I have thought about it and you make a good point. I don't know how to implement it.
I considered just cutting away the last two paragraphs and ending on. "when everything takes a turn for the worse...", but I'm not too sure about that. What do you think?


message 19: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments If it's that short, just cut to the chase: Dramon, a half-elf, cannot sire a child, but he can save one.


message 20: by Frances (new)

Frances Fletcher | 16 comments Daniel wrote: "Hi everyone,

thanks to everything for their feedback. It's a lot more than I would have expected. I have read all of your comments, thought on them, and decided that I had to re-write the entire t..."


Wow! I'm hooked! My only suggestion for improvement is to shorten the blurb.


message 21: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 244 comments Second, this blurb is selling the entire series as much as the single story.

The blurb has one job: make the reader look at the writing. It's not a sales tool for the book or the series. The writing does that. The only reason people will even look at book 2 is having viewed that book's blurb, having loved book 1, or, having it recommended by a friend ("hand-selling" is the best sales tool). Think of what the theatrical trailer script for the story would be. It's more, "Bang...bang...bang," on emotional points than, "Let me tell you about..."

The QueryShark site is a good place to see examples and advice. A better one is the old Miss Snark column, written by an agent/blogger, who rips apart submissions to show what they got wrong. And since writing sample the reader will get on Amazon, etc., is pretty much a long submission sample, ger blog can be useful for debugging the writing, too. She's long since retired from writing the blog (2007), but she keeps the columns up as a service to hopeful writers.


message 22: by Frances (new)

Frances Fletcher | 16 comments Thanks for the resources, Jay!


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