Thursday, October 21, 2010

Writing Blurbs, part two

Melissa commented on my Writing Blurbs post last week, asking for more hints and techniques on writing queries along with an example of a great blurb. When choosing one, I didn't hesitate. As anyone who knows me has heard umpteen times, my favorite book is Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. Bones and Cat are the ultimate hero and heroine in my eyes and I think this blurb (along with the gorgeous cover) is what drew me in first.

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.  

Standard blurb advice is to write one paragraph about your heroine and one about your hero, while nicely - and briefly - showcasing their conflict. Here both Cat and Bones are introduced in the first paragraph in dramatic fashion. Descriptive tags help a lot - "half-vampire" and "vampire bounty hunter" immediately show that these two could be at odds. Or if your hero is an arson investigator and your heroine an arsonist - boom, instant conflict, easily illustrated.

In the second paragraph, we get a short synopsis of the plot. From the word choices used, we get a sense of the author's style, which is imperative. Picking words with a lot of impact is so important. By mentioning how "sexy" Bones is, we learn this probably won't be a sweet romance. Phrases like "battle reflexes as sharp as his fangs" and "she's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner" help show that Jeaniene's writing will likely be fun and maybe a bit sarcastic. (Two reasons I love her!)

The blurb ends with the all-important conflict - Cat having to choose a side. That's why blurbs are SO crucial to selling a book to a reader. If there's nothing at stake for your characters in your blurb, there may not be much conflict in your book. And conflict is what makes a reader eager to flip pages.

Hopefully this helped a bit. I'll be revisiting this topic again, as it is one of my favorites. Thanks so much for the question, Melissa!


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