how i learned to stop worrying and love the blurb

Ugly word, that.

Blurb.

Doesn’t even sound pretty when you say, but for me it’s an important writing tool. I know a lot of people put off writing their novel’s blurb until after the manuscript is completed, but I’ve learned to work on the blurb when I hit the mid-point of my novel.

Why?

The blurb contains the essence of my book’s story. Understanding exactly how I want to present the core themes of my novel gives me a quick reference so I don’t go off track in the middle of the book.

During my edits, I’ll check my blurb and synopsis often to make sure I’m on track and haven’t left anything out. If my three-act synopsis is a roadmap of my novel, my blurb is a snapshot of the town in which I travel.

I finished the long version of my blurb for The Garden last week and I’m very happy with it. It’s more like what you would see on the flap, but it’s easy to trim from here.

It goes like this:

It is the summer 1348 on the Iberian Peninsula; war rages through Aragón and the black pestilence has begun to ravage the populace. When Guillermo Ramírez, a blacksmith conscripted into the King’s army, murders his commanding officer in a drunken brawl, he flees the encampment and takes refuge in the ruined garden of an abandoned monastery. He soon discovers he is not alone.

An ancient daimon that calls herself Urraca has entrapped other men in her garden and forces them to build her temple. As the walls grow higher, Urraca feeds on the blood and souls of the men who perish from the misery she creates. When the temple is complete, she will have the strength to break the barrier between her land of fey and the world of men.

In the garden, Guillermo has strange visions of people he has never met, places he has never seen, and a lock with many keys. The mysteries can only be unraveled by a hideous creature, perversely named Belita. Guillermo believes that Belita knows how to destroy Urraca, but Belita will only divulge her secrets if Guillermo can recall a past incarnation he shared with her. Buried in the memories of that incarnation is the pattern for a key that will fit an enchanted lock.

Time is short, the temple is almost finished, and Urraca’s power grows. Guillermo races to solve the mystery of his past so he can forge the key that will forever lock Urraca from humanity and save the people he loves.

From here I can shorten it to a three paragraph or two paragraph blurb.

What about you? Have you written a blurb for your novel? Share it in the comments and tell us if you had trouble working on yours or did it come easily to you?

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About T. Frohock

Please visit my web site at: www.tfrohock.com
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6 Responses to how i learned to stop worrying and love the blurb

  1. Kelly Bryson says:

    Ooh, I like it. That’s longer than before, but you have room for a bit of worldbuilding, and it’s engaging. Good job!

  2. kat magendie says:

    Ugh, I am the worst about this – as you and others have often heard me lament and whine and moan and groan about *laugh*

    You are good at this – and at artculating your blog posts in a way I wish I could … dang me.

    • And I always wish I had your snap-fan-doogle never care way of writing, Kat. Isn’t it funny how others always see us as competent and we can only find our faults? 😉

  3. lawrenceez says:

    Hi, I’ve worked on summary blurbs and they work. I’ve found they come naturally in the same narrative voice of the main character.

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