I’ve decided it’s time for a new series of podcast now that we whacked character lies down to a mush of sobs.
There are all different ways to write these blurbs and make them tantalizing to readers, but there are set steps. We’re going to focus on the first one here.
First let’s explain what a book blurb is, right? It’s just the description of your novel that goes on the sell page on Amazon or other places. It’s short. It’s sexy. It’s enticing. You use it on social media, on Amazon.
It is the ad for your book that is everywhere your book is available to be sold and some other places too.
Oh, this baby is about 150 to 200 words.
HOW DO YOU MAKE ONE?
Shayla Raquel has a great post from last year where she writes,
“Similar to what a writer would do for a query letter, a hook is meant to entice the reader to bite. It takes several tries to get the hook just right, but once you’ve got it figured out, the reader won’t be able to resist. When writing your hook, consider the following:
- Who is the main character(s)?
- What do they most deeply desire?
- What stands in the way?
- What is the setting or context for the story?”
She then gives some great and quick examples of this:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
—The Martian, Andy Weir
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
—The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
The Reedsy blog uses this one as an example. It’s Uncanny Times by Laura Anne Gilman.
Huntsmen, according to the Church, were damned, their blood unclean and unholy. Yet for Rosemary and Aaron Harker, the Church was less important than being ready to stand against the uncanny, as not being prepared could lead to being dead.
But Blurbmedic has a really lovely infographic and guidelines, which is probably why it’s Blurbmedic.
It creates a template that’s really amazing at showing how the blurb is a teaser and also organizes the story, connecting emotion and tension to make a blurb interesting.
Hooks can be opened or closed.
And that site says that the open hook is the “statements or questions that make a reader ask more questions. The reader will have to read the book to find out.”
Carrie is dying.
The moment she opened that door, her life had turned poopy.
You’re like, “Wait, what? Why is Carrie dying? What door? Why did she open it? what happened?”
The closed hook makes you ask questions and find answers.
Carrie is dying.
First, she opened the door that let in the zombie. Then the zombie bit her, but this kind of zombie doesn’t want to eat brains. It also eats poopy.
The point here, according to Blurbmedic, is to get the reader to be afraid of missing out on knowing what happens. The hook will build up the tension and make everyone intrigued.
It’s a really big first step.
EXERCISE TO HELP
A great exercise for this is to use the Killogator logline formula created by Graeme Shillin.
He says to write:
- “SETTING: When and where your story takes place.
- PROTAGONIST: Who your main character (hero or heroine) is.
- PROBLEM: The issue or event that causes your Protagonist to take action.
- ANTAGONIST: Who or what tries to stop your Protagonist.
- CONFLICT: The major obstacle, difficulty, or dilemma your protagonist faces.
- GOAL: What your Protagonist hopes to win, achieve, find, or defeat.”
You put it in here, also created by Graeme. Cool, right?
“In a (SETTING) a (PROTAGONIST) has a (PROBLEM) caused by (an ANTAGONIST) and (faces CONFLICT) as they try to (achieve a GOAL).”
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
In real life, you don’t want the question of defecation location to be open ended.
PLACE TO SUBMIT
Emerald City seeks fiction for our upcoming issues. We are a quarterly online fiction magazine that publishes traditional short stories, flash fiction, and hybrid works. We believe fiction is a necessary part of life; captivating storytelling transports us to other worlds while allowing us to make more sense of our own. We’re less interested in what genre something is or its literary status than we are in how much it moves us. Whether traditional, experimental, or something else fun, we publish well-crafted stories that make us reevaluate ourselves and our place in the world. emeraldcitylitmag.org
LINK WE TALK ABOUT
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!