Monthly Archives: May 2012

How To Write A Blurb in 6 Steps

When I needed to know how to write a good blurb for my stories in the Sparta series, I had a hard time finding specific helpful hints on how to do that on-line.

*One Caveat I will offer, it is usually easier to write the blurb before you’ve gotten very far into the manuscript because it keeps you from getting “lost” in the details. But write it when you need to and go from there.

Definition of a Blurb: A blurb is the back cover “teaser” that lures a reader or an agent/editor into wanting to buy/read your book.  Your blurb can usually be used as your pitch in your query letter or when you are doing an actual face-to-face pitch session with an agent/editor.

A blurb contains the overall premise of your story without giving away specifics.

Homework for you:  Visit a bookstore or go on-line and find 10 books that are within the same subgenre as your story. Read each back cover blurb. Count the # of words. Total the number of words from all the blurbs and divide  by 10. This gives you the average # of words your blurb should contain. It is a guide–not a rule. But if you look at the blurbs of those books, it will give you an idea of what your blurb should include and how long to make it.

A blurb is not a “just the facts” recitation of the highlights of your story. The blurb should be written using the same tone/voice that you use in your story–so don’t even think about getting someone else to do it for you. And no, writing the blurb is not easy–Trust me.

1. You know the average word count. Stick as close as you can to it.

2. You have 2 choices on POV here. You can go for either the hero or heroine‘s POV or you can tell the blurb in both of their POV’s.

3. Define your character. (not their name or how they look.) WHO are they? ex. Josie is a scientist with OCD, raised by hippie parents. Paint a picture of your character by word choice and remember you only have a limited # of words to use for the entire exercise.

4. What does your character want?

5. Why can’t they have it or who causes them to not be able to have it?  Usually this will be the other main character.

6. What can these characters lose if they can’t resolve their differences?  This is the theme of your blurb. Heroine has to learn how to let go and trust others while the hero has to learn patience or that there are other things in life more important than the goal he started out trying to attain at the beginning of the story.

Word Count on Blurbs–Not etched in stone, just a suggestion.

For a 70,000-100,000 word story, word count of the blurb can be up to 300 words (again, check out blurbs of actual books within your subgenre).

For shorter fiction the word count can run from 100 to 250 words. (If you err on the side of more, make sure each one of those words is powerful and necessary. Otherwise, the blurb won’t read as tight and descriptive.)

For examples of blurbs in the 200-250 word range, take a look at my page titled My Stories on this blog.

I hope this post is helpful to you and saves you some of the angst I experienced when I was looking for direction in how to write blurbs.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you found this post useful. And let me know if there are other areas of craft that you would like to see addressed here.

Thanks and happy writing.

 

 

 

Not Everyone Is Your Friend: Networking vs. Using– Find A Happy Place

In life, not just the writing world, but families, jobs, social settings, even church–not everyone is going to be your friend. They may ‘act’ like they like you, when in fact, they are sizing you up to see what use you can be to them.

There is a huge difference between networking and using. Networking, to me, is making connections with people who have similar interests and goals as me. Our connection allows us to form a support group for each other and if we hear something that might benefit someone we’ve connected with within our network ( and networking is a wonderful way to make new friends) we pass it along in an attempt to help that person. Here’s the slippery slope:  If you are passing that information on with the idea that now that person ‘owes you’, you’ve just used them. You may have helped them, but it wasn’t with an altruistic purpose that you helped them. You were creating a marker that you expect to collect on at some later date–when it benefits you.

I simply like to help people. It makes me feel better that I’ve done something for someone and maybe lightened their load. I’m not obsessive about it and need to do it to validate myself so I know I have a reason for existing. I just genuinely like to help people. And if I help someone, I don’t do it thinking they owe me anything. I do it because it helps them and I know that by helping my fellow-man or woman, God sees me doing that and he will take care of me when I have a need, because I’m being obedient to his commandments.

I don’t limit how he meets that need. He’s God. He knows the best way to help me. And for that reason, he sends some pretty amazing people into my life that I know have made me realize something important about myself because I met them. I’m thankful that he does that and I’m so thankful that I get the chance to meet these wonderful people, and if I’m truly blessed, I can call them my friend.

Why am I writing this today?  Mostly, I’m dealing with a rather big happy-emotion drainer in my personal life and I’m reflecting on the good things I have so I don’t get sucked into the ugliness of a situation I have no control over. Note I claim no control over the situation. I have complete control over me and my  thoughts. Hence, the ruminating.

If you saw the movie “Finding Nemo”, there is a scene in the fish tank where the Starfish suctions herself to the upper corner of the tank and chants “find a happy place, find a happy place.” That’s me. And my happy place is immersed in my writing and the wonderful people who make up the world of writing and those within it that I can proudly call my friends.

Thank you for giving me a happy place to go to when things in my life aren’t as rosy as I’d prefer.

 WHAT DO YOU DO TO RECOVER FROM A HAPPINESS-STEALING ENCOUNTER?

 

Day Seminar on May 26th Taught by the Amazing Julie Leto

Julie Leto, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, is offering her five-hour class, Layer by Layer: Characterization from Start to Finish, to local Tampa authors on May 26th. Only a few spots remain, so register today. Contact Julie at Julie@julieleto.com or visit www.julieleto.com
I’ve taken this class and it was amazing. I learned so much about how to more effectively develop my characters and show their growth on the page so my readers can feel more connected to the character and be drawn further into the story.

Chaos Amid Excitement

Sorry that I haven’t been posting more frequently. My FIL has been ill for a while now and he’s in the hospital again. Not sure which direction his health will go this time, but trusting God knows what’s best.

I’m thankful for the love and support of my friends and acquaintances within the writing community for their prayers and encouragement. Other people’s kindness is what has kept me and the rest of our family going through this chaotic time.

So my question to you for this post is, “What gets you through a tough time? Does it always work? Do you ever have doubts that the problem/trouble is too big to conquer?”

These are all questions running through my mind as we face Dad’s illness. My mantra for my writing is “using stories of faith to share hope.” I pray my faith is strong enough to lead me through this turmoil and maybe I can give someone else facing the same type of heartache hope because I was faithful.

Hug your loved ones. You don’t know how long God will let you borrow them.

Kay Hudson

Reading, Writing, and Rambling Through Life

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