1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    My Description is dry - Help!

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by peachalulu, Nov 16, 2014.

    If there is one thing I hate about writing - the topper would be trying to describe the book/story once its done.

    Here's my description for the Worms of Wicher-Woo as is on Amazon
    - Hands lowered Tetty, a plucky orphan, into the walled garden of Wicher-Woo. Left to toil with the extraordinary worms sculpting baroque vases, Tetty battles her initial desire to rule the worms rather than befriend them. But when she realizes that the worms are being stifled creatively, she attempts a creative revolt that tests her own views of artistic ownership.

    Very dry.
    I'd like to spruce it up and also get some tips on how to word a good description for later projects.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I understand the deal with word count here, but the reference to the worms sculpting Baroque vases is too specific. It doesn't leave me room to fantasize about the creativity that you later describe as being stifled.
     
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  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate that first sentence, Peach.

    I'd try something more dynamic and shorter, like" Trapped in the walled garden of Wicher-Woo, orphan Tetty must command the worms and their extraordinary sculpting abilities for the profit of greedy slavers. Tetty's options are few- exploit the worms or starve to death. Or revolt."

    It's not worded that great, but hopefully gives you an idea of what I'd like to see.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    That's a good point, Wreybies! I'll have to find a way to rework the idea of them making something that is rather superficial kinda mass-market. Baroque vases doesn't really full-fill that vision though as the very idea of them sounds elaborate. But it's become that way to the worms.

    Trapped! Now that is a good word - 123! Actually your description is much more interesting than mine.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I love that version @123456789.

    @peachalulu, leave more mystery and avoid the "tests her own views of artistic ownership." I, for one, am tired of that 'personal growth' trope. I've vowed to steer clear of it in my description, which is hard because it's the natural direction to take.
     
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  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    FYI, I don't hate the first first sentence in the actual story, I just don't like it here. You know I loved the story :S
     
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  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    No worries, 123. It works in the scene but it doesn't do anything for the description. I'll work on something and maybe post it here again. Hope you don't mind if I use aspects of your description.
     
  8. Stephen Paden
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    Stephen Paden Member

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    Your description needs to be a summary that grabs your potential reader. Here is the description of my novel.

    "In 1959, after years of abuse from her father, thirteen-year-old Rosalind Ann Stump finds a way out of the house from an unlikely source - her drug addict mother.

    Rosalind is whisked away to a nearby town where she finds that her parents weren't unique in their transgressions, and that those who claimed friendship weren't really friends at all.

    Follow Rosalind as she meets new people in a new town, tries desperately to embrace the normal life she never had, and does her best to deal with an old wound that returns to threaten her new existence."

    Three lines. Pull the potential reader in and give them no choice but to find out what happens by downloading your novel.
     
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  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The first clause doesn't work for me: "Hands lowered Tetty, a plucky orphan" - I spent so much time trying to figure out what sort of name "Hands Lowered Tetty" is supposed to be and just generally being really confused. It also seems odd, these disembodied hands. Are they particularly important? If yes, I'd introduce it as a character. If no, I'd just cut because right now it just confuses.

    I'm wondering who your audience is? I don't know anything about the book, mind. From seeing worms are the characters of the book, I am inclined to think it's a children's book. But from the language in the description, it feels like an adult's book. It seems to be a book that crosses over between the whimsical and perhaps the adult/complex/philosophical. I'd say it needs a better balance of these things. Right now it feels... off-balance.

    Personally, I might try to emphasise the whimsical nature of the book and through whimsical elements convey the more complex themes you probably deal with within the book. Charm me, basically. Not just describe the book, but seek to charm the reader with those slightly odd quirks you've clearly got in the book.

    Although like I say, I don't know what the book's about so I could be just spouting a load of rubbish sorry :D
     
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  10. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is pretty close to a log line, which is what you get when you merge it into one sentence and leave out the names:

    When an orphan is held captive* in a magical garden and tasked with exploiting the worms' extraordinary sculpting abilities for the profit of greedy slavers, she plots a revolution.

    * appropriate word choice?

    Now that I read that sentence, I see what @Mckk meant -- it sets the mood for a war epic, not a whimsical children's fantasy. Such is the difficulty with log lines: they leave you without much room to mention anything but the basic conflict and the stakes.

    So what you want is definitely not a log line, and it is probably not worth it to try to make the blurb shorter and shorter until it is practically a log line.

    What you want is more verbal glitter, so to speak. Instill excitement and wonder at the infinite creative potential at Tetty's fingertips. And eliminate awkward phrasing like "Hands lowered Tetty" and "battles her initial desire". Also, I am not sure if there is a purpose for being so specific as "baroque vases", especially since the book is targeted at children, not antique collectors.

    Try something like:

    An orphan is held captive in the magical walled garden of Wicher-Woo with the task of exploiting the worms' expert sculpting skills for profit. As she explores, she discovers infinite creative potential the profiteers never imagined. By commanding the worms, she can build a small world exactly as she likes. But when she sees how the worms are enslaved, her ambition gives way to sympathy. Her options are few -- exploit the worms or starve to death. Instead, she plots a revolution that combines her own ingenuity with the worms' creativity in order to overthrow the slavers and usher in an era when the worms can create for themselves.

    Hmm. Did I go too far away from the "log line" extreme and into "overly verbose" territory? I wonder what could be cut. Maybe sentence 3 (although it provides context for "her ambition" in sentence 4). Maybe do not even mention in the beginning that Tetty is tasked with exploiting the worms for profit; just hint at that with "her options are few".
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
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  11. PaulGresham
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    PaulGresham Member

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    I just copied and pasted the descriptions for the best selling books on Amazon and got some ideas from them, without actually copying them of course.
     
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