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10:21 am: The Terror of the Blurb

 Okay…we all have strengths and weaknesses in our work. My weakness is the blurb/synopsis. I have had a really bad track record with this. The Prospero books are relatively easy to talk about “a sequel to the Tempest”, Shakespeare meets Dante, or, the wonderful quote: “It’s like Neil Gaiman meets C.S. Lewis or, for an American equivolent, Roger Zelazny meets Lloyd Alexander.”

The Corruption Campaign novels? No such luck. It is nigh impossible to explain the Corruption Campaign to begin with…any description I try leaves out really important stuff. But, I thought I would start with trying to sum up the book, which currently may go under the title of: The Dreamers Whose Dreams Come True…that or Creator Visions.


Try One:

When magic comes to the modern day in the form of an attack, including a dragon who can knock planes from the sky with his psychics, one young woman recognizes the invaders as characters from stories written by friends of hers—friends who are missing. Withdrawing all her savings, she travels to California to ask the Archmage that she and her friend have made up stories about since childhood to save the world. When he proves less than helpful, she takes matters into her own hands and vows to save the world herself.


Try Two:

When storybook characters and figures from mythology begin walking the Earth, one young woman refuses to be daunted. Using her ingenuity and her knowledge of the stories these invaders come from, she vows to fight back and save the world, whose doom, Odin assures her, is already written.


Try Three:

 When her two best friends are captured by invaders, Victoria Woods leaves her ordinary life behind and embarks on a journey of magic and adventure. Her efforts bring her face to face with gods, giant talking hounds, arrogant Archmages, the villains from her friend’s novel…and, best of all, the beautiful supernatural heroine of the stories she herself has written.


 Try Four:

The doom of the Earth has written. Our world’s name has already been struck from the Book. But one young woman refuses to surrender. She vows not only to save our world, but to defeat Ragnarok—the prophesized destruction of all worlds.
 
Try Five (this would be better for book two or three…or perhaps for the series.):

 Victoria Woods has always dreamed of magic, of stories, and myths, and fairytales. But she never dreamed that she herself would be granted the power to Create worlds. But, now that she has it, how does one decide how to safely use such power?
 

Okay…none of these really tell you anything about the story…sigh.
 

I wish I could somehow put on paper what it is really about…one unconventional young woman,  powerful, impressive, possibly evil men, a universal civil war, gods and angels walking the earth, villains out of storybooks springing to life, unnaturally beautiful villianesses named after demons who sing men and worlds to their doom, Creator Vision–the power to write stories about real things, larger than life characters who are ancient and wounded and not at all ready for the sunlight that is about to enter their life (literarlly in the case of the Sons of Darkness who are fleeing the return of the sun to their world.) Flying shoes, magic rings, unicorn horns, chase scenes running from giant hounds, chase scenes on the back of giant hounds. Compassion, undauntedness, refusal to give up, hope…and, most of all, the eternal love story of the immovable object and the irrisistable force–the woman who would save everyone and the man who cannot be saved–reflected in small in the life of one brave girl and dark, broken man who may some day be her true love. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:May 19th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:cmzero
Date:May 19th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
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From:arhyalon
Date:May 19th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that made me laugh.
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From:juliet_winters
Date:May 19th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Being thoroughly tired of the subject by the time they called for the blurb, I cheated and got Steve to do it. The problem with the blurb is it has to be outstanding. It's what will sell your book to the casual browser.

Don't suppose John could do yours? But your books aren't so straight forward so it might not work. In my case, I enjoyed having a less jaded pair of eyes than mine own tackle it.
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From:arhyalon
Date:May 20th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
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I can ask for help...but this is more for myself...what I can say if someone asks me what the book is about.

What I need help with is the synopsis. I do horrible synopsises, and I'll need one to sell the project to my agent. Sigh.
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From:annafirtree
Date:May 19th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I thought your first one worked best.

Here's my attempt:
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When Earth is magically attacked, Victoria Woods recognizes the enemy. She knows them because they appear as characters in a book series that was written by her friends - friends who have gone missing. Now Victoria must find her friends and unravel the mysterious connection between the enemy and the books, in order to save Earth. A task that may prove to be far more difficult than it first seems, and a journey that will take Victoria far beyond where she ever imagined she might go.
******************************
Or something like that. The last sentence is two fragments joined together, but I can't think off the top of my head how to fix that.

Keep in mind that you don't have to fit the whole book into the blurb. You just need to put a 'hook' into the blurb, to make them want to read the book. Then they can find all the other goodness in the book for themselves.
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From:arhyalon
Date:May 20th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
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Hmm...I think you did a nice job of blurbing my blurb...but not really of catching the book...as the connectoin between what is going on and the books is covered almost immediately and not really part of the plot.

But yeah, the blurb really only needs to cover the opening idea (which those above except for the last one do).

In this exercise, though, I was really trying to explain what the story is about...and I'm failing miserably.

The story is about a young woman, who--when earth is attacked and her friends go missing--takes a small amount of information and uses it really cleverly to allow her to confront Archmages, gods, talking ravens, ghosts, dragons, talking dogs, villians, and handsome cads to the betterment of the world...all while trying to rescue her missing friends and save the world.

What is going on is that I haven't yet figured out how to put into words some basic part of the book...

The actual story is a lot like a cheerful Amber story. She does the kind of thing Corwin does...talking to powerful people and charming/bluffing them to get enough info to talk to the next powerful person. It is really about her ability to do this and the wonderous things she sees...but I haven't figured out how to put that across yet.

One of the problems I realized, doing this, is that the overall story and this book are not that related. The overall story is about a girl with the power to Create worlds who uses it to parley herself into an extremely powerful political position among the immortals who run the multiverse and then sets about trying to right wrongs, improve the moral and social order, and end the eternal war they are all fighting--all while searching for true love (a long and rough road.)

But most of that does not come up in the first book.
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From:annafirtree
Date:May 20th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
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Summing up a whole story is definitely more difficult than just writing a blurb. I'm not familiar with the Amber stories (I googled "Amber Corwin" and was surprised to discover that was the name of an ice skater, although the second link provided the reference I assume you were making).

I think I've read series before where the first book didn't really match the scope of the rest of the books. I'd say try coming up, at least for yourself, at first, with separate summaries for this book and the overall story?
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:May 20th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
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>Amber Corwin" was the name of an ice skater

Oh, that is amusing.

The first book just gets started. She doesn't get to use the power that is the main thing she can do until what will probably be Book Three. The first two books concern saving her friends and the Earth.

From:tapinger
Date:May 22nd, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
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Try four is the one that grabs my interest the most (and is most likely to make me turn to the first page and start reading), though the others may be more accurate as to the actual contents of the story. :) It sounds like the goal is to tell a story that makes the audience go on to read the book. So, why try to explain complex concepts in that small amount of space? Does that reflect why readers would like the book, or is it more about wonder, a young woman bluffing gods and demigods into saving her doomed world?
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From:arhyalon
Date:May 22nd, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
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Basically there are two things going on.

1) writing a blurb to draw attention to the story...blurbs, as you say, do not need to reflect what is going on in the plot...only to hint at cool stuff.

2) Me trying to pin down what the book is about...not really related to blurbing it, but useful to me.

Thanks for your vote for 4. I'll remember that. ;-)
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From:arhyalon
Date:May 20th, 2011 11:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks!

What the blurb doesn't say is that the book is cheerful and full of fun...kind of like a four-color comic...in that you can have sf stuff next to gods next do unicorns.
From:xander25
Date:May 20th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
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Can't wait to read it!
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:May 20th, 2011 11:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 23rd, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
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As a reader/customer, I liked Try One. What about continuing it with a combination of your other terms, something like this:

She parlays a chain of clues to charm and bluff her way up Homer's golden ladder, confronting Archmages, gods, talking ravens, ghosts, dragons, talking dogs, villians, and handsome cads to rescue her missing friends and save the world.

I know, really it's not the chain that gets parlayed, but on a back cover.... ;-)
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