Monday, March 26, 2012

Story Summary 3 Back Cover Blurb

For the past few weeks, we've been discussion different forms of one-paragraph story summaries. Today we discuss the Back Cover Blurb Paragraph.

If you’re a pantser who doesn’t want to outline because it will spoil the story fun for you, the back cover blurb paragraph is a great way to know just enough of your story to keep you on track, but not so much as to spoil your fun!
So let's get to it!
For decades editors and authors have been encapsulating their stories for the backs of their books to entice readers. And what’s the best way to entice readers? Show them the most important, most critical, most compelling part of your story.

i.e. Sam Montgomery had it all. Beautiful wife, smart kids, penthouse apartment. Until an old girl friend returned and told him their son was a prisoner in Iraq, thrusting him into a world of intrigue and danger. Can he trust the beautiful Bella when she tells him her son Cade really is his child? Or is she sending him on a chase that more than likely will get him killed?

Do you know what the heart of that story is? Sure. The relationship between him and Bella. That relationship and his mistrust of his former girlfriend will drive that thriller as they try to find “his” son. They will have dangerous adventures. There will be suspense and scary parts. All the while he’ll be with a woman he isn’t sure he trusts. And that might get him killed.

Knowing that BEFORE you write the book, you will also know how to tell the story. How to focus it. How to make it even more compelling and dramatic. All by sticking with the tone and premise you set forth in that paragraph.

So you need to think through your story. What story are you telling? Whose story are you telling? What’s the heart? What makes it special, unique…What would YOU put on your book’s back cover blurb?

What would make a READER pick up your book? Hum...interesting. After all, that's what a back cover blurb is supposed to do...entice a reader into buying!

That was a made up example. Let’s take a look at a back cover from a real book and see if you can tell how knowing this “back cover” information while you’re writing could keep you on track.

Lori Handeland’s MARKED BY THE MOON. (I don’t know Lori, by the way…but I loved this book!)

“Tough as nails, Alexandra Trevalyn does what most people can’t: She kills werewolves. Once part of an elite group of hunters, she’s going rogue these days, though no less determined to rid the world of the bloodthirsty beasts…once and for all. That’s why Alex had no choice but to kill Julian Barlow’s wife – and will have to pay the price. Julian’s brand of vengeance is downright devious, and now he’s turned Alex into a member or his pack. It’s only a matter of time before she falls under his spell. With the wild freedom of the wolf in her veins, Alex can’t deny that Julian wakes her most primal passions…and draws her that much closer to the moon’s call, where evil lies in wait.”

You don’t know the whole story from the back cover blurb, but you get the richest, most compelling, most important parts of the story in that blurb. As a writer, you would know how to focus that story – first on her killing Julian’s wife, then on Julian’s revenge which puts her smack dab in Werewolf World – and her troubled adjustment to becoming one of the beasts she used to hunt – even as her captor awakens her passions.

Which is why, if you choose the back-cover-blurb type of story summary, you will get a very good handle on the most dramatic, most compelling, most important parts of your story before you write it! Simply think: What will draw readers to this story, and write that blurb. (And then write THAT story!)

Just like the core story question, a well written back-cover-blurb summary can almost become a blueprint of sorts…

First hunting werewolves,

Then killing wife,

Then being hunted herself,

Then being turned,

then adjusting to werewolf life, as she falls in love with her captor –

We see five very distinct segments of the book. Five turning points.

But even if your blurb isn’t so good that you can pull out your turning points…it will keep you on track by always reminding you of the most important parts of your story.

And that's what you want. You want to focus on the most compelling, most interesting way to tell the story. The way that will draw in readers and leave them spellbound.

Happy Monday!


P. S. April 2012 I will be doing my workshop LET CONFLICT TELL YOUR STORY FOR YOU for the STAR chapter. Go to:

There's still time to register!

No comments: