◎ How the Master of I-CAN'T-WRITE-BLURBS Wrote a Blurb for Her Novel

December 12, 2012

This is me when someone asks me to
explain what my novel is about.
If you're someone who has talked to me before about writing, you're well aware that I can NEVER sum up what my books are about. The question always catches me off guard, and I end up just standing there with my mouth gaping open like I left a suitcase full of money on a train. Writing the blurbs for my books is no different. Somehow, I pulled one together for Darkness Surrounding and wrote a really vague one for Creation. (Quick note: According to several readers, Creation is one of those things (like Inception or Midnight in Paris) you need to go into totally unprepared in order to get the most out of it.) Because I'm entering ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award), I need a good, solid pitch that'll knock everyone on their asses (or at least, you know, pique their attention).

So what did I do? I, for once, did something sensible. I looked at the blurbs of books most similar to mine, noted aspects of each that I liked, then used them to create my own.

The Catcher in the Rye: This summary was poorly written and I'm pretty sure it was added by some asshat with librarian privileges on Goodreads. However, I did find some merit in this particular passage:

Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

While I didn't like the blurb-writer's execution, I did like the idea of establishing the importance and catchiness of Holden's "voice" without having to sneak in a quote or a passage written in first person.

Room: I liked the idea of establishing Daron's connection to his father's house from the get-go just as Emma established Jack's relationship with Room. I particularly liked the last sentence, as it establishes the large-scale themes that will be encountered throughout the novel.

With the elements I liked from those two blurbs in mind, I managed to put together something for FWYD that I really like. I'll probably expand it some for the contest (as I'm currently using only half of the allotted words they allow for pitches), but maybe not. Short and sweet makes the treat, right? (Just kidding. I totally made that up. But you already knew that, didn't you?)

I'll write a post about what key points a blurb needs in the near future. In the meantime, it's editing and grad-applicationing for me!

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