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  1. #1
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    Mystery/Thriller Blurb for feedback

    Hi All,

    I've revisited the blurb, or jacket copy, for my WIP after reading a bunch of blurbs at the bookstore.
    I've modeled the stuff below on what I saw there, but would love some feedback.
    Feel free to comment on: structure, writing, content, premise (interesting or not), emotions evoked,
    reader expectations set or frustrated, etc.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TITLE: New Year Island

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ELEVATOR PITCH: "And Then There Were None 2012"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TAGLINE/LOGLINE:

    Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," aka "Ten Little Indians," updated

    to a 2012 setting and sensibilities, with proven survivors instead of easy victims.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ONE-SENTENCE PREMISE:

    A secretive reality show recruits and maroons ten strangers on an island to compete

    for a five-million-dollar prize, but each contestant is already a proven survivor,

    having in their past walked away from a disaster or tragedy that would kill most

    people.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BLURB/JACKET COPY :

    Camilla Becker is a survivor. When she was seven years old, the 1989 Loma Prieta

    earthquake took everything from her. Twenty-three years later, she is an

    associate producer of acclaimed animated children's films, and runs a foundation

    to brighten orphan's lives. The invitation to be a contestant in a new

    reality-show arrives out of the blue. It's not really Camilla's thing, but the

    studio promises funding and publicity for her charity…



    Ten strangers meet aboard the reality studio's luxury yacht in San Francisco, to

    hear details of the show and make their decisions. A banker, a special-forces

    solider, a rock climber, a doctor, a mechanic, an art student, a journalist,

    a dive-boat captain, the director of a women's shelter, and Camilla herself:

    the show's hosts have screened thousands of possible candidates in utmost secrecy,

    before choosing these specific ten.



    Their destination is an island off the coast of California, abandoned for

    decades. A wild, desolate place, where Nature's own grand spectacle of survival

    plays out year after year. An island that has already claimed lives.



    The ten contestants will be marooned there, cut off from all other human contact

    for two weeks, while they compete for the grand prize: a vast sum of money.



    But nothing is what it seems. All of them are hiding secrets. Each of them has,

    in the past, already survived something that would kill most people. Now they will

    find themselves trapped in a game where the stakes are even higher.



    Camilla must choose whom to trust as the contestants come face to face with each

    other, their own darkest impulses, and Nature itself in revolt against a game so

    extreme, that the most terrifying experiences of their past was only its

    qualifying round.



    Maybe there isn't supposed to be a winner…


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Your help and insights are much appreciated.
    Last edited by paul.abbassi; 04-13-2012 at 11:22 AM.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    I LOVE the one sentence premise.

    The blurb sounds exciting too, but I stopped at this: '...while they compete for the grand prize: a vast sum of money.' And the GRAND PRIZE IS...a vast sum of money. How much? It's a bit of an anti-climax. Is it ten million dollars? A hundred million?

    Don't get me wrong, I think I'd buy this book based on the blurb- it does sound very exciting. There just seems to be something missing.

    'But nothing is what it seems. All of them are hiding secrets. Each of them has,

    in the past, already survived something that would kill most people. Now they will

    find themselves trapped in a game where the stakes are even higher.



    Camilla must choose whom to trust as the contestants come face to face with each

    other, their own darkest impulses, and Nature itself in revolt against a game so

    extreme, that the most terrifying experiences of their past was only its

    qualifying round.'


    Does something happen? Why does it become more terrifying than their previous experiences of survival? If it is a straight-forward reality TV show, then surely the producers wouldn't plan for anything too deadly...so does something go wrong?

    Just my first impressions and nit-picks Ignore me if you like. It looks great.

  3. #3
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    Paul: Evidently you plan to self-publish this. Have you selected your publisher?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    Paul: Evidently you plan to self-publish this. Have you selected your publisher?
    No. I haven't selected a publisher yet. I am also undecided whether to go the self-publishing or traditional route.
    Just starting to do a little research there, but my focus has been on the writing itself. I'm on my second draft,
    and at the current pace, should complete it in two to three months.

    Any advice would be appreciated

  5. #5
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    @ Susan:

    Thank you for your thoughts - great point about the anticlimactic vagueness
    of "the grand prize: a vast sum of money."
    I'll fix that.

    "Something missing:" - is the blurb too vague about what happens?
    I'm struggling to find the right balance between giving too much of
    the mystery away up front, and frustrating the reader.

  6. #6
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    I think you're getting the cart before the horse. If you want to take a break from rewriting the novel, spend time on your query letter. If you land a commercial publishing house, their marketing department's going to write the blurb--and possibly put a new title on your book as well.

  7. #7
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    A secretive reality show recruits and maroons ten strangers on an island to compete for a five-million-dollar prize, but each contestant is already a proven survivor, having in their past walked away from a disaster or tragedy that would kill most people.

    To me, this is written backwards and it's too much chatter. If it were mine, I'd run it like this.

    Ten survivors of life's toughest challenges are recruited to complete for a five million dollar prize on a mysterious reality show.

    Or

    Ten survivors of life's toughest challenges are recruited to complete on a mysterious island for a five million dollar prize.

    Or

    Ten survivors of life's toughest challenges are recruited to complete in a secret reality show for a five million dollar prize.

    I'd just keep tossing it until I got the order I liked the best without extra verbiage like, " . . . having in their past walked away from . . ."

    FYI - You don't need all those dashes in "five million dollars."

    I didn't read the jacket text, so if I got a storyline detail wrong, sorry.
    Last edited by leslee; 04-13-2012 at 01:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    I think you're getting the cart before the horse. If you want to take a break from rewriting the novel, spend time on your query letter.
    The main reason I'm looking at blurb, elevator pitch, etc. now rather than later:

    I'm getting some critiques and beta-reader feedback from lots of different sources,
    and I want these readers to have a similar context a browser in a store or online would,
    versus seeing chapters in a vacuum.

    People also ask me quite frequently: what is your book about? and I want to have snappy
    answers that intrigue.

    Re: query letter - I haven't yet searched WN for related threads, and now I will,
    but isn't some of the content of a query letter similar to a blurb/jacket?

    I'm sorry if that's a really uneducated question - I'm new to this, but learning.

    @leslee:

    Your suggestions make sense. I need to grind this until it sizzles.
    The current form doesn't.
    I like some of your re-wording - I'll hammer on it.

    Thanks to both of you

  9. #9
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    You're welcome.

  10. #10
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    Before you attempt a query, create a log line (an industry term for the "snappy answers that intrigue").

    Here's a .pdf download to get you started: <http://twoadverbs.site.aplus.net/loglinearticle.htm>


    -----
    edited to add: Oops, I see you've got a log line above. Well, this could help you refine it.
    Last edited by jayce; 04-13-2012 at 02:42 PM.

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