The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.

Writing My Blurb – Step by Step

I was told that I make writing a blurb sound easy. It is! What’s not easy is letting go of the pressure that comes with it. “The blurb sells your book.” “Your blurb decides if the agent will request the whole manuscript.” The blurb, the blurb, THE BLURB.

Breathe. Let go of all of that pressure. Pretend your blurb is just another paragraph in your story that you are excited to write.  For now, it’s just you, your story, and your ideas about how to summarize it. No expectations other than getting something on paper.

My first step: I find the main points in the story. Here are mine for, Enough for Four:

Point 1) Lily flies down to meet her girlfriend, Ava, with one goal in mind: remain platonic until she is able to convince Ava’s husband, Carson, that love does not have to be limited to two.
Point 2) In between the arguing and the secrets Lily’s presence uncovers in Ava and Carson’s marriage, Lily falls for Carson as well as Ava.
Point 3) Lily’s husband, Dominic, has always allowed her to have meaningful, even if sometimes sexual, relationships with other women, but relationships with other men is out of his comfort zone. He flies down to put a stop to it.
My editor/bf’s thoughts?
I LOVE that you’ve nailed down the plot and where the story is going.  I wouldn’t change anything about that.  I think it has great potential for being interesting, moving, entertaining, all that good stuff 🙂 And the blurb is very straightforward.
1) Have you considered making a couple the focus of the blurb? (I’ll think about it…I didn’t want one couple to be front and center. This is poly after all!)
2) Or maybe comparing the men to each other? Dominic feels … but Carson would never… (I felt comparing the men would put the focus on them, which I felt was the wrong direction.
3) Or introducing one couple and then the other and then making us wonder how they will take to each other.  (I though this balanced out suggestion #1. Both couples will be equally important.)
….I don’t know.  It’s a complicated web … whew, girl but that also means there’s a million different ways you can tackle this. 
Then she said one thing that summed it all up:
But I think the blurb is missing the human factor, the emotions that drive the characters.  Make me feel like I understand where they’re coming from. 
Right! Isn’t that at the heart of all creative writing? You get a great idea and then you fill it out with details. My main ideas were all spelled out. No matter what I add from here, the story is about Lily wanting to date Ava. Dominic allowing it, but Carson not. The four of them coming together and…exactly! Sparking the readers’ interest. All that’s left is to go back and make it colorful, make it moving, make it polished. Aka, edit!

Lily couldn’t have picked a better husband. Dominic allows her to fulfill her desire to be with him and her desire to have girlfriend. She has the best of both worlds. (Who can’t relate to feeling like they’ve found, “The One” for them?)

Through a chance meeting, Ava is excited to have potentially found happiness in Lily after years in a difficult marriage. Equally thrilled, Lily flies across the Midwest to meet Ava face to face. (Can you relate to the excitement of moving from a bad relationship to a good one? Or just being thrilled to meet someone for the first time?) However, Lily has one big challenge: remain platonic until she is able to convince Ava’s husband, Carson, that love does not have to be limited to two. (So, things won’t be so smooth sailing…)

Lily’s presence in their lives stirs up arguments and secrets which Ava and Carson rather not deal with. (More bumps in the road) It also causes issues in her own marriage that she never knew existed to come to the surface. (Even more bumps in the road)Forced under one roof, Lily, Ava, Carson, and Dominic try to abide by their own rules of what is right and wrong. (Intriguing…) But when unintended passions rise, none one is able to walk away. (Intrigued! Hopefully!)

Hopefully? Yes, hopefully! But again, let go of that pressure. Once your blurb is “perfect”, there is almost nothing you can change to make someone who is not interested, interested.  (Short of marketing it to no end…I’m almost tempted on, Shades of Grey)
I’ve gotten a few emails about adding secondary plots. Good idea? Will that help spark the interest? Think of it this way:
When an asteroid threatens to crash into the earth, NASA sends a team of misfit oil drillers to outer space to drill into it and place a bomb inside of the hole that will hopefully shatter the asteroid before the asteroid shatters the earth.
Based on the above, if the whole two-hour movie is about trying to stop an asteroid from destroying our planet and us, if the movie-goer isn’t interested, do you think added the fact that one character is getting a divorce will change their mind?
My advice is to write as interestingly as you are able what your novel is truly about and let go of all other fears and worries. It will appeal to those it is supposed to appeal to!
PS – Yes, that is the summary of “Armageddon”! Yes, it was from the top of my head, so I don’t know what the movie actually says it’s about. ^.^
PPS – From start to finish, it took me/us 35 minutes or so to write the blurb for, Enough for Four, broken down like this:
5 minutes – I wrote down the main points.
15 minutes – Waiting for my bf’s response. 😉
10 minutes – Considering her response and making a 2nd draft based on the points I agreed with.
5 minutes – Waiting on her, “ok!” or more suggestions. It was an “Okay!”
How so quickly? Easy! My background is heavily weighted in screenplays. I mentioned before that a one-line sentences summarizing the entire movie is a requirement. Once you can get to the main points…the black & white, the heart of your story…you can get to the details!
Truly, truly try to do the steps outlined in Give Me the Skinny, How to Write a Blurb. It will get you there!

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in For Writers and tagged , , , , .

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New Chapter Countdown

7th Release Date!August 13th, 2012
Chapter 6 is here! - Enough for Four

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6th Release Date!August 6th, 2012
Chapter 5, Part 2 is here!
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