Friday, May 18, 2012

Stumbling block....

[plindberg /photo pin cc]

I have found my stumbling block, my weak spot, my Achilles heel. It's the book blurb, describing my story in an interesting but brief way.

It doesn't matter if I'm working on the elevator blurb or the bookstore blurb, whatever I write comes out sounding like a first grader wrote it.

This book is gud. The people are pretty. The girl kisses the boy. That makes them both happy. The end.

Ugh! I really dread this part of writing. I keep reading articles about it, hoping something will click. So far nothing has.

At eHow they tell me to "Keep it short" and "Quickly summarize the basic plot, but don't give too much away." Yeah but I already knew that.

At Suite101 I learn "The blurb needs to be easy to read and digest in a very short space of time." Again, nothing I didn't already know.

The Creative Penn informs me that I need to name and characterize my main characters, give an idea of the setting, evoke images and hint at some mystery.

Sigh... I have to wonder if I am the only one who hates this. Why does it have to be so difficult? How do you handle it? Does it come easily or do you fight it like I do?

Hmmm, maybe I should just pay someone to write it. Any takers? ;-)


  1. Writing summaries that sell books is hard!! It's a skill that takes a lot of practice. You aren't alone in finding it excrutiatingly frustrating.

  2. Hi Donna - I hear you. Here's a great post you might find to be helpful:

    Good luck! And happy Friday! :)

  3. First, thanks to DC for my private mail about a misspell...LOL! Fixed, but some may still see it in their blog readers.

    @KarenG - Thanks, glad to know I'm not alone.

    @Tracy - Going to bookmark that article. I love Anne's blog but have only been following it for a short while. Thanks!

  4. I agree, Donna. Log lines are the hardest to write. I've written about 100 for my current novel and don't like any of them.

  5. Yes, blurbs are tough. Some people seem to have the knack. For Talion's new cover, I asked two writer friends who had read the novel to compose blurbs. They both came up with wonderful stuff. I couldn't write a decent tagline, so my cover designer wrote a terrific one, no extra charge. Maybe the problem is writing about one's own book. It's hard to see it objectively.

  6. Ha! Loved that blurb you wrote. It is short, concise, uses 'pretty' and 'kiss'... 'Kiss' should be enough! Most people would buy it if you just said "they kiss in this book".
    But seriously, I know what you mean. It's the same problem I had with book reports...either tell too much or too little, never a happy middle ground.
    BTW: I downloaded your A to Z Flash Fiction book. Loved having it all in one place. Now to go write a rave review!

  7. Aww why don't you ignore the "how to" articles and write it from the heart? You've invested blood, sweat and tears into a story - eHow can't really get this on a personal level. I find what works for me is if I tell someone briefly what my novel is about. Hearing it out loud helps me articulate it better into written word, for some reason! Good luck :)

  8. @Carol It can be so frustrating. I have done a short synopsis for my website for my two WIP but neither is exactly what I want. Probably tougher because the books are WIP right now.

    @Christina Thanks, always nice to know you're not alone.

    @Mary I like that idea, my official ones may come from my beta readers. Thanks!

    @Donna [giggle-snort] It was fun to write...wish it were that easy. Thanks so much for the awesome review on my A-Z. I hope you got the version with all the photos. That was frustrating but at least now I know how to upload them right.

    @Catherine Part of my problem is the books are WIP so maybe it will be easier when the first draft is written. Time will tell...

  9. It's funny, everyone says, "No one knows your book better than you" and I've also been told, "You should be able to describe your book in one sentence so that when readers hear that sentence they will automatically know it is your book." Okay easier said than done. My last book had 3 heroes and I kept flip flopping on who the heroine would pick and it was that indecisiveness that ended up being my blurb.

  10. Thinking about things like this make me glad I'm just a babbling blogger instead of a real writer! Put on your fancy clothes and stop by my blog tonight at 8pm to walk The Red Carpet to pick up your award! :)

  11. I have problems with this as well Donna. You aren't alone! Good luck. :-)

  12. I'm with you here. Writing the whole damn book was a walk in the park - reducing it to a blurb feels like I'm smacking my characters in the face - love your 5yr old style blurb - looks like mine.

    Even worse is the synopsis. I begin to wonder why I wrote the book and didn't just stand on street corners handing out synopsis print-outs to passers-by.

  13. I found that it is not so hard as long as I can keep my head in the venue. I found that for me, just rewriting it in a very terse form lets me continue to do that. Once this draft is done, then I tighten it up even more and take out all the plot "give-aways". This tends to make it a bit cryptic and enticing (fill in the blanks urge) for the reader. It also seems to provide its own interest hooks.

    Trying to summarize, blog or blub what I have written seems to force me outside of the zone I was in when I was writing the content so from there, I really don't know it, anymore. I need to be back inside with the content if it is going to compare to the real thing.

    Just make it very terse and then trim out.

  14. I haven't experienced that yet! Learn it well so I can come to you for advice later! :)


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