1. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Back cover blurbs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nicholas C., Dec 21, 2011.

    I came across an article that suggested the idea of writing a back cover style "blurb" for the story you are writing before you've actually written it. The idea, obviously, is to get an overall snapshot of your story (as well as practice for writing a synopsis when you are querying). I'm not a big outline guy in terms of pre-writing, so I think it helps in the sense of getting a framework that you can refer back to.

    This is my first attempt for the current story I am writing. Any thoughts/suggestions?...


    Ryan Whitley is a walking contradiction – austere yet rough around the edges, and an incredibly gifted high school failure. Unable to cope, Ryan's mother ships her listless son to his uncle down south, where an insight into Ryan’s family history awakens a talent he never knew he had.

    Discovering what he feels is his true path, Ryan moves out West to make a new life for himself. But his hidden talents do not go unnoticed… as one very dangerous man has been searching for someone like Ryan – and the secret he holds – for nearly a lifetime.
     
  2. Jethelin
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    Jethelin Member

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    It works. If I read it I would most likely open the book and read a bit more. You have my attention. I also found "and an incredibly gifted high school failure." amusing :)
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The blurb seems to change point of view - first we're looking at Ryan from an outsider's point of view, then we're his mother, then we're Ryan, then we're the dangerous man. I'm not saying that this is actually a writing error, but I am saying that switching point of view so many times is likely to dilute the reader's interest.

    An example of rewriting these facts to be from Ryan's point of view:

    "Ryan's life grows more confusing every day. His teachers tell him he's gifted, even as they fail him. His mother tells him she loves him, as she packs him off to relatives. This "fresh start" falls apart when Ryan discovers a family secret and attracts the interest of a dangerous..."

    My rewrite isn't _good_, and in fact I think it diverges from your plot. It's purely an example of rewriting the facts to be from a single point of view.
     
  4. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Hmmmm, interesting point. It raises the question of whether or not one should stick to one character POV. I'm sure a lot of blurbs do, but it seems I've seen a fair amount that don't as well.

    The actual story is past tense 3rd person limited, for what it's worth...
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I don't think the blurb necessarily needs to reflect the POV of the story if all it's doing is providing a narrative and thematic summary. All of my written works begin with one or two sentence ideas, from which I develop along the same kind of lines (using that kind of blurb format, for instance). I think it's a good idea for the kind of stuff I write, which is very minimal in terms of plot, but less useful as a planning tool for stories with complex plots.
     
  6. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I like this and thought it stayed with the plot idea from the orignal blurb.

    Anyway, I really like the idea of a writing a blurb to help you keep your story on track as you write it.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'an insight' makes little sense... and the glut of punctuation marks in the final sentence renders it virtually incomprehensible...

    other than that, it's pretty good [though of course, grammar and punctuation don't really matter, since it's only for your own use as a 'guide']... and if doing this works to help you write your stories/books, then go for it!
     
  8. Nicholas C.
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    How does "insight" not make sense when refering to clueing someone in to an unknown part of their family history? :confused:

    Virtually incomprehensible? Lol, that's blowing it a wee bit out of proportion, don't you think? :rolleyes: It's simply two independent clauses seperated with an elipsis then a coordinating conjunction (this done for dramatic pause, instead of the more standard comma then coordinating conjunction). The second clause contains an interrupting phrase set off by em dashes. It's not a cut and dry sentence, sure, but there's nothing incorrect (or incomprehensible) about it from a grammar or punctuation standpoint.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me it was a little too vague, I would have liked to know a little more to be convinced to read it. it's like you are afraid to reveal too much and instead you just hint at it and for me it isn't enough. Besides, it doesn't give me an impression of what kind of novel it is. Is it mystery? Sci-fi? thriller? drama? fantasy? from what I've been given it could be any of those.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Best advice when asking for people to comment on something: do not argue with the people who are giving of their time to comment. If you do not like or agree with the comments, say thank you and move on to the next post.
     
  11. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    99% of the time this is what I do. Having been employed as a technical writer though, I tend to get overly defensive when it comes to grammar/punctuation. :redface:

    Sorry, Maia, if I came off as argumentative.
     
  12. Nicholas C.
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    I suppose you could classify it as a supernatural thriller.

    I see where you're coming from about the vagueness though. You're right in that I'm probably being a little too hesitant here in regards to details. I suppose it's a tight-rope of sorts in regards to informing the reader yet keeping a level of mystery. Thanks for pointing that out.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no prob, nic!... but i do appreciate the apology...

    here's why i wrote what i did:

    if you go back to my words, you'll see i did not say 'insight' was a problem, but 'an insight'... and the problem with it in this context is that to make sense, if you must use that particular word, it should be 'gaining an insight into...'... the simpler, 'learning about' would do the job, too...

    here, while i have to admit 'glut' was a bit much [apology herewith tendered], using an ellipsis and em dashes in the same sentence is at least over-punctuating, as well as doing so improperly... first of all, the ellipsis is not appropriate there and secondly, there should not be a space after one, as you've done there... the em dashes, while correctly used to set off that bit for emphasis, should also have no spaces fore or aft, even though some do it anyway...
     

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