What about blurbs? Can you write one?

Please Click to buy One Insular Tahiti from Amazon

I write novels. You know that, right? i write nonfic articles for magazines, and I write essays, and short stories, and sometimes (as in my blogstreak last April) I write flash fiction.

But I’ve never been great at summaries. One would think if I could write in different forms I should be able to write a stoopid blub. But I can’t and all my book blurbs are just terrible because I can’t. I really think they are holding back some readers from testing out the books. The blubs just aren’t intriguing enough.

(Note: The Green Water blog has an awesome post on writing blurbs. )

So I recently hired the Blurb doctor to work me through my blurb for One Insular Tahiti. I sent her a synopsis so she could get a feel for the story and then answered a few questions. She sent me back a first draft and we worked it out together.

I feel pretty good about the experience and the result. I still think it’s not bang on, but it’s closer.

Here’s the before and after.  You decide and if you’re inclined, vote in the poll or leave a comment. If you think you can add something better, please feel free to suggest it. I make no bones about my blurb writing expertise. I just need to get it right.

Which leads me to think that maybe I just might offer a blurb writing contest in the new year for one of my novels…not sure what the prize would be, but I’m thinking a $25 Amazon coupon could go a long way.

Before

After

Luke’s death has come the way he always feared it would: in the claustrophobic, underground heat of a Cape Breton coal mine.  He had suspected it would end this way, had embraced it even, so while his body is buried, his soul settles into a watery existence of endless waiting.Soon, something changes in his personal purgatory; all is not quiet the way it was when he first realized he was dead.  Now a wind howls and storm seas bring waves of half remembered events from his past life that are so terrible he will do anything to avoid reliving them: images of war and abuse and of a favored brother spoiled by disease.

He needs to find a way out.

This is when he notices Astrid, a newborn fighting for her life. She isn’t supposed to survive her birth, but if he can just will her to be his mother, he can save her and escape the anguish of this terrible supposed insular Tahiti.

Too late, Luke realizes that the connection that binds him to Astrid is the same inevitable battle of memories he left his purgatory to forget. Now he must endure the replay of horrific images that will ultimately change his soul and Astrid’s forever.

One Insular Tahiti is a nonlinear tale of one’s souls search for redemption and the lengths the human spirit will go to find peace.

Luke MacIsaac is dead, and not restfully dead. His death has come the way he always feared it would: in the claustrophobic, underground heat of a Cape Breton coal mine. He had suspected it would end this way, had embraced it even, so while his body is buried, his soul settles into a watery existence of endless waiting.But in short order the placid waters of his afterlife turn to rolling seas of time and memory as his violent past plays out again for him. Images of war, childhood abuse, and the tortured life of a brother he loved and failed threaten to inundate him.

More than anything, he wants to escape.

In his confusion and pain, he senses a kindred spirit in Astrid, a newborn struggling to stay alive. Luke helps her in hopes she may one day be the one who brings him out of his purgatory and into a new incarnation.

He discovers too late that Astrid’s soul is linked to his hellish past life. Now he must experience all the anguish they went through together, and watch helplessly as Astrid goes through sorrows of her own, before the two of them can finally meet in this world and find peace together.

Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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5 comments on “What about blurbs? Can you write one?
  1. […] What about blurbs? Can you write one? (theaatkinson.wordpress.com) Share me Some Pin ItMoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. Diane Tibert says:

    Burbs are always difficult. I remember searching the Internet for suggestions when I wrote one for my book. Short and factual with a little mystery is best I found. If it’s too long, people won’t read it all.

    As an exercise, I played with what you had posted. I chose to work strictly from the “After” copy because I felt it was better than the first. Here’s what I got:

    Even in death, Luke MacIsaac found no peace. His body lay buried in Cape Breton soil, but his soul waits in limbo. Suddenly his afterlife begins to churn in the rolling seas of time, sparking memories of his violent past that play out before him. Images of war, childhood abuse, and the tortured life of a brother he loved and failed inundated him.

    More than anything, he wants to escape.

    In his confusion and pain, he senses a kindred spirit in Astrid, a newborn struggling to stay alive. Luke helps her in hopes she may one day be the one who brings him out of his purgatory and into a new incarnation.

    Too late he discovers Astrid’s soul is linked to his hellish past life, and together they must experience the anguish he endured. Through it all, he watches helplessly as Astrid endures her own sorrow. Are they strong enough to survive death and find peace, or will they be forever trapped in an endless circle of pain?

    . . . and thanks for posting the Green Water link. I’m going to keep that for my next book.

    • Diane!

      I love this. especially the ending. that’s super!

      thanks for the insight.

      • Diane Tibert says:

        Some where along the way of my research on blurbs I learnt to pose a question. I use it in my blurb for my book, too:

        Prim, Ellis, Henry and Shona stumble onto the biggest mystery in Cranberry Cove, a small community on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. Together, they must face their fears to save their beloved island and find their missing uncle. But the ghost in Prim’s dream threatens to become real, and a mysterious neighbour turns up when they least expect him. Is he there to help? Or is the creepy man behind their uncle’s disappearance and the mystery light haunting Cranberry Cove?

        A question provides readers with food for thought: if the hero doesn’t escape (win, etc), this is what will happen.

        I’m glad you liked it. It was a good exercise for someone who has to work on a blurb for her upcoming book.

      • more good info, Diane. very helpful stuff. thanks for taking the time to comment

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