Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Writing back cover Blurbs. Oh my!
My new editor at Solaris, asked me to write a 100 -150 word blurb for each book of the King Rolen's Kin (KRK) trilogy. Since these books are 120K, 130K and 150K, reducing them to bite sized blurbs seemed insurmountable.
Let's see, I had to retain enough of the feel of the story to get that across. I had to encapsulate the important conflicts of the plot, without revealing too much. And I had to do all this while making it sound interesting and enticing. Easy ... sure.
In the past, I've found it easier to write a blurb for a book I haven't written, than for one already completed, when I'm familiar with all the subtle twists and turns. Rather than tear my hair out, I went back to my KRK file and pulled out my Chapter Outlines which contain scene breakdowns.
When I'm writing an intricate plot that stretches over 1,500 pages and three kingdoms with parallel time lines, I keep notes for myself on what happens in each scene. I've learnt from experience there are times when I wake in the middle of the night thinking, 'Oh no, I forgot to mention that X was wearing his lion tooth trophy necklace early in book two.' Then I have to go back and find the right scene and the right place to mention this in passing. If I haven't done a scene breakdown I spend ages looking for the right spot. So I have this handy tool that reduces each book to the important events in each scene. But these documents are up to 10 pages long. At least I was one step closer to writing a 100 word blurb.
Still not there though. So I resorted to the old faithful:-
Who is the story about?
What do they want?
Why can't the achieve this?
How do they overcome it?
Only I avoided the last line because these were blurbs to tease the readers. After three days of intensive writing, editing, putting aside for a couple of hours, going back to it. I had the blurbs written. Under 400 words in 3 days -- Wow!
After all that I had to wonder, do the reading public pay much attention to blurbs? Do you buy a book on the strength of the back cover blurb?