Book blurbs

I am utterly useless at stringing words together into a coherent sentence today.

Case in point: I just misspelled the word sentence three times (scentence, scendence, scentendence). ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Clearly I need to re-think my blog name. Because I most certainly am not a #writer of #words. At least not good words. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been working on a synopsis for a multi-chapter story I wrote and let me tell you, writing a blurb is much more difficult than writing a story. I’ve never been good at it, summarizing something effectively, or at least not quickly. I do eventually manage to get there; god knows I’ve written enough cover letters for job applications in the past three decades… ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I don’t know why the story writing is easier for me than the marketing-type summary that is required for a book’s blurb. Maybe that’s because I like story-telling. The story itself has a beginning and an end and many words in between where I get to tell my readers what’s happening.

But the synopsis, that’s much trickier. How am I supposed to excavate the absolute gist of the story into a select few words that not only interest, but hook the readers into wanting to read my story?

Easier said than done.

I’ve been at it on and off since 6 am. (I’ve been working on other stuff peripherally but it’s not looking great that I’ll actually get the damned blurb done today.)

First, I tried to read things which inspire me, like other people’s blurbs, tips and tricks, that sort of thing. I ended up messing around with some of the ideas but my end result was too wordy, and mediocre at best. So I quit that.

Next I went on social media. Sometimes writers share all sorts of gems (and a lot of bs) in various social media apps so you never know if you might stumble onto something worthwhile. I opened twitter and was promptly distracted by idiocy, stupidity and sex. Meh. Twitter et al. are annoyances best kept closed (or uninstalled).

I walked away for a while and procrastinated with other, non-writing things. Sometimes this helps me to craft a sentence I can publish without cringing.

Then, I had an idea. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I decided to ‘share my joy’ ๐Ÿ™„ with an unsuspecting friend who was at work. So me being me, I began to pester him. Turned out he had a moment of time and he helped me brainstorm. Since he’s much smarter than I am, he came up with a few really good suggestions which I’m able to use going forward.

Want to know the first thing he did?

He cut out half of what I wrote. ๐Ÿ˜›

Pretty brilliant, isn’t it? This is what editors do (and he’s not an editor by trade, but may as well be…ha).

I learned that sometimes, wordy is not good. I learned that less is more, which you’ve heard me preach here on and off over the years. And I’ve learned that good friends make time for damsels in distress like me. โค

Since then, I have been playing around with his suggestions and slowly the annoying little blurb is taking shape. Sort of. (It’s not ready yet.)

I took a lot of breaks – I ate food, washed dishes, tried to photograph the bright red cardinal on the bird feeder which was swinging precariously on the tree branch because it’s windy today (and almost hot, 19 degrees C!)…

I don’t’ know what my mom was thinking seeing me wander around doing stuff away from the computer. People who don’t write, recreationally or professional, don’t really understand that much of the writing happens away from the keyboard. I often come up with the most alluring, grammatically enticing or engaging sentence structure when I’m not at the keyboard. For instance, when I’m in the shower, washing dishes, or making meatballs with my hands up to my wrists covered in raw meat. You know, the most inopportune time to be writing something down is when the magic happens. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Note to non-writers: just because we’re not typing doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about writing.

Tip for fellow writers: wear a wireless headset to alert people you’re not available for conversation.

Anyway, it needs more work, my blurb. It needs emotional pull, an intriguing hook, a simple but effective summary that tells you what the story is about without giving too much away.

Theoretically it should be quite simple. IT. IS. NOT.

But I’m getting there.

Tell me your secrets. How do you get blurbs or summaries done? Does it get easier with practice?

See you in the comments.

30 thoughts on “Book blurbs

  1. I’m wordy so blurbs would be difficult for me too. Glad you have your friend who could help you! Storytelling is an art form so how could you possibly make all that you wrote in your book condensed into a blurb? I understand.
    I get my inspiration from everywhere and I notice that if I don’t write it down, no matter if it’s in the middle of the night, by morning, the feeling is gone as is the amazing thing I thought to write!
    Best of luck to you today with writing your blurb! I have every confidence you’ll get it done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One suggestion for the future is to start with a blurb and develop the story from there. You probably did that but are so busy trying to get out of your own mind that you forgot thatโ€™s what happened.
    To answer the question, NO, it doesnโ€™t get easier. You will always be your meanest critic which is why itโ€™s so hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hate that part too. and think it’s best left up to an editor. I get the idea of a blurb or summary for promotional purposes, to entice the reader, but a chapter by chapter summary destroys the suspense of reading the book/story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 19? Can you believe it’s only 13 here?๐Ÿฅถ
    I can’t write anything succinct. I do have my own abbreviations that no one understands ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ
    I love cardinals. We don’t have them hereโ˜น

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I rarely write titles first…they come after I empty my head into a blog post. And not all of them are good, in fact, most of my title aren’t. I don’t give two hoots about SEO on this blog… lol

      Blurbs are a little more serious than stuff I do on the blog so I agonize longer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For my podcasts Iโ€™ve been trying to do blurbs and I just freeze up….title I just write and hope it fits with what the post is going to be

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. I usually give my final thoughts and 8 say some of the comments that I thought were interesting. Iโ€™m still working on what I want to do. Itโ€™s totally a work in progress

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hard to do your own. A synopsis tells the story, just the meat, not the rest of the meal. A blurb shouldn’t do that–or what would be the point of reading the book. A blurb should set the story…and ask the question.

    Liked by 1 person

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