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  1. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Would You Read This?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JTheGreat, May 24, 2010.

    Okay, before Cogito goes and posts that "Concepts Mean Nothing" template post, let me explain this: I know that my concept gives nothing away about my style of writing, but neither do the blurbs on the backs of books. So as you read this, imagine that you're in a library and you've just picked up this book and something similar to the following paragraph is on the back. Would you check it out?

    Salem Stone had just been inducted into the Arcademy, the school where children are taught the skills that their ancestors had possessed so long ago. Namely, telekineses, telepathy, and clairvoyance. There, he meets the strongheaded Prince Alexander, the quiet Tabytha, and the beautiful Caspar Twins. He must fight a battle with both himself and his foes as the Averian Empire threatens to overtake the country. Will he master his power and accept the present over the past?

    Okay, that was a REALLY sucky blurb, but I'm in a hurry. Just for some extra info, Salem lives with a human family who adopted him, and the Arcans were the original civilization, all of whom had psychic powers. Now, what used to be Arcan Lad is now the country of Amaranth. And Caspar is a country, not a name.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It still makes no difference. The blurb on the dust jacket doesnt guarantee the book isn't crap, or that it is.

    If the story excites you sufficiently, WRITE it. Don't go around asking for validation. Get a grip on your gonads and just DO it.
     
  3. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Not doin anything for me, to be honest.
     
  4. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    That's what I was fearing. Most do not instantly love fantasy novels and such, because of the unfamiliar environments they are set in. Any ideas on how I could make the story more appealing?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Besides sitting down and writing it?
     
  6. hyperspace!
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    hyperspace! Member

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    From what you're giving us, it seems kinda like a generic fantasy story. Magical kid and his band of misfits need to save their magical land from something or other. Which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but you probably wanna make it stand out a little more.

    Also, why is the Averian Empire a bad thing? And why does Salem, a school-aged kid, have to take care of it? Aren't there adults with more magical skills (or whatever) who can handle it?
     
  7. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I think part of the problem is that writing a blurb like this before you've written the story won't do the story justice. You've got to have a handle on the heart of the story to describe it aptly.

    That he meets a prince and some beautiful twins, for example, tells me nothing. I don't know them.

    I don't know enough about fantasy fiction to know whether this is generic, but you may want to think about what's going to make this story stand out. I am not a fantasy fic fan, so it'd have to be super-extra-spectacular for me to pick it up.

    So, it's an idea. Run with it. Write it.
     
  8. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    LOL

    At J: The problem with writing the blurb before the story is there is no story yet. So no, it won't appeal to anyone because there's nothing to make it appealing. . .yet. It's in the details. Once you've fleshed out everyone and made an interesting tale, then you will probably be able to write a more captivating blurb.

    Writing a blurb asking for interest, in that case, really doesn't achieve anything. The same story, with a better blurb, could entice. Also remember that many people, myself included, don't just read a blurb to make a decision to invest time and/or money into it. I also read the first page or two to get a feel for the style. If it's something that makes my eyes glaze over on the first page, I'll put it down-- no matter how enthralling the blurb was or was not.
     
  9. MFreak
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    MFreak New Member

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    Well put, this one sentence should have been the end of this topic.

    Honestly I believe that a plot is only as good as how it is written. If it hasn't been written yet then who is to say if it will be great or a total flop?
     
  10. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing the story in a fresh and captivating way could produce a bestseller bu since you asked for an opinion on your blurb, here it is.

    No, I wouldn't read it. You didn't include anything remotely fresh or exciting. It's all a hackneyed vague description of something way too familiar. You can actually hook a reader with a plot concept, before even writing the book. That's the basis of a query letter (Though queries come after a completed manuscript, but take a look at a good quey letter and you'll get my point). Your concept is nowhere near strong enough to do this.
     
  11. System-Crashed
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    System-Crashed Member

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    nope, sorry.

    It's so cliche that I got chills.

    It's the same response as when I watch American parodies of anime.

    Start writing and see if you get anywhere.
     
  12. ilocar
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    ilocar Member

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    I'd read it, because to be honest, Magic Schools aren't done, we need more of them, I've scoured Barnes and Nobel for a good magic School based novel. nothing. I also Loooooove the ESP based magic system and that little bit about past v. present at the end is a nice indication that the main character has a time-based power, which is really cool.

    on the other hand I'm thinking in terms of, based on what you have there, what would actually be on the jacket. Those words exactly would make me sick. I also want to say make your places and people a little less fantasy-y

    lastly, what Cogito said, if you want to write it, write it. A publisher will tell you what needs to be changed for the book to sell anyway.
     
  13. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Jeez, why is everyone being so harsh?

    @ilocar: Actually, magical schools have been done. Maybe not in novels that I know of, but in manga that is available in America, yes. Although, even if an idea's been done before, how one writes it determines its originality, so...

    @J: An honest opinion because you deserve it*hug*.

    The blurb was interesting, to me at least. Interesting as in, it piqued my interest enough to make me think "Hm, sounds cool.", but not enough to make me think "OMG THAT IS AMAZING! MUST READ NAO!".

    Perhaps making it longer than that short paragraph would help? Most blurbs on the back of the books I read (the ones that have them, that is) span the whole back cover and give me a pretty good idea of what's inside. Not so much that I know everything just by reading it, but enough to make me interested to find out what happens.

    With your blurb, I had the fleeting thought that the Prince may be gay, but then again that seems to happen a lot lately, so don't mind it. Although I do wonder if your story has any small romance mixed with that action and world-saving.

    That's my opinion on it. You're welcome :).
     
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  14. DanielCross
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    DanielCross Member

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    I say go for it, but before you do:

    1. Obvious similarities to Harry Potter and a thousand others, so make yours stand out.

    2. A good writing voice means you can rewrite the collected works of Shakespeare and get away with it. And people won't notice!
     
  15. animelovers411
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    animelovers411 Member

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    i would go for it to , hello im new nice to meet you guys but toally go for it
     
  16. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    Just write it. I've read a lot of books with crap blurbs but awesome stories, and good writing to boot.
     
  17. basefare
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    basefare Member

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    I'm not a fantasy expert or even a reader. My ears did perk up when I read
    "telekineses, telepathy, and clairvoyance." However it do seem to me to have a blurb before you know what you're blurbing about is getting the cart before the horse.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that the writing determines whether it works or fails. But, some comments anyway:

    - I prefer things like magic or the mental powers that you name to be hidden, rare, mysterious, poorly-understood, and poorly-controlled - by _everyone_. So I dislike the idea of a school, which implies that some people have it all worked out in detail. Yeah, it worked for Harry Potter, and that's where "the writing determines..." comes in.

    - I dislike fancy powerful characters. So, I dislike Prince Alexander.

    - I dislike _openly_ big, world-changing plots. It's OK that the characters in _The Lost Room_, for example, were in the end saving the universe, because nobody else knew that; it's not as if they were being called to presidental briefings. It was, as described by one of the writers, a battle fought "in diners and bowling alleys". Also, the main character was mainly interested in saving his daughter; saving the universe was incidental.

    So I dislike a big fight against the Averian Empire. If it's just a background of danger and enemies and they're winning small battles, that's OK, but if they're charging into the middle of the war and winning it, I'd dislike that.

    - I dislike characters whose primary descriptor is "beautiful". Especially if _two_ characters apparently don't have enough personality to be anything but beautiful.

    In general, your plot sounds too big and shiny. Too many trumpets. I want a more ordinary canvas, so that the occasional spark of the extraordinary doesn't just inspire a shrug.

    ChickenFreak
     
  19. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, you're aware that this question is so commonplace Cogs has a template post for it? Cuz I honestly don't see anything about your post that separates it from the ones that (very appropriately) receive said post. This is just your mind's way of abdicating responsibility for a task your heart clearly wants to take on. If the energy's there, pound that bitch out, and make it as good as you can. When it comes to creative endeavor, you really gotta shoot first and ask questions later.

    No more excuses, sister. Get to work.
     
  20. Brandon_Trotter
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    Brandon_Trotter Senior Member

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    I am sorry but, I have to disagree with alot of you. When I read a book it is the cover that hooks me I do not choose a book by reading the first chapter of each and every potentail book because that would take forever! I think I would be interested in reading a book like this. I would be interested for three reasons. One this is my favorite genre: medieval fantsy. Two the character seem intresting as does the story and I have only read a paragraph! Why should I not check this book out? Three the author is unkwon to me ( right now anyways ) and I am always looking to find new good authors. May I sugest one thing though, never ever rush something, a post and especaily a book. If you do right this take your time, please.
     
  21. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    To be honest, this sounds like what someone would say if they were deliberately trying to bum the book out. Seriously - try reading it with the right tone of voice and you've got a seriously vindictive plot synopsis.

    What you've given us not only has no indication of how you plan on making the book noteworthy - ie. the writing itself - but you've highlighted the worst parts because every bit of them has been done to death a million times over.

    An ancient civilisation of psychics? An adopted kid with identity issues? Dear me.

    As Cogito said, the only way of actually selling a story is selling it in the same voice you plan on writing it in, and if you plan on writing your story the way you wrote your blurb then this needs to be shelved until you've got a better grasp of things.
     
  22. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I think that most do not instantly love fantasy novels and such, because of the drearily familiar environments they are set in. And because of the drearily familiar things that happen in them, of course. There have been great fantasy novels, of course, but the market is swamped with potboilers by authors who think that a fantasy setting will save them the effort of having to do research.
     
  23. Falconjudge
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    Falconjudge Member

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    Hmm... I think your example was a moment that was a biiiiit too dramatic. Far too much melodrama. I'd like to see a blurb from a more "common", or not so tense, part of the story, because a scene like that is always going to sound forced if it has no context.
     
  24. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    Honestly, you kinda lost me at "school". I've read my share of special talent school genre books, and they interest me very little. However, reading the excerpt, the characters seemed rather interesting. A little stock-ish, but interesting none the less. I'd probably give the book a shot.

    But what Cog said: Just write it.
     
  25. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    BTW, thanks to the exponentially (that means times itself XD) awesome Halycon, whose idea completed this blurb. He thought of calling it the Arcademy, so yeah. Please don't sue me....
     
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