Breaking Out the Blurb

Adventures in novel writing…

I feel like I’ve been working on Breaking Bread forever! But at last I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As long as it’s not an oncoming train… and frankly the way the past year has been? That could very well be the case.FullSizeRender

I’ve reached that stage in novel development that I like the least — writing the synopsis, or blurb that goes on the back cover of the book and in the description on the Amazon page. How do you distill 85,000+ words down to a few sentences or a short paragraph? And write those sentences in such a way as to suck your potential readers into buying your novel? Ugh. It’s agonising!

Why is it so hard? Fellow writers, do you struggle with this part, too?

The blurb needs to convey the mystery, the suspense, the drama of the book without giving away the details or the ending. It also has to be concise and attention grabbing. I either end up with three sentences or an entire page. Finding the happy middle ground is elusive. So as I work on the blurb for my fifth novel, Breaking Bread, (and yes, I’m going with that title – more about that in another post), I rant, I rail, I stomp and I curse. That is ridiculous, right? Temperamental artist stereotype, right here! (She says throwing herself onto her Victorian fainting chair.) After I’ve had enough wallowing and whining, I get angry. What?!? Angry, you say? How does that help?do-not-keep-calm-anger-is-an-energy

This is not the path I would recommend to you all, but for me, getting angry energizes me. It sets me on fire and it feels kind of good. Maybe that makes me a dangerous psychopath, or possibly The Incredible Hulk’s previously unknown twin sister, I’m not really sure. Whatever the case, anger makes me feel alive. Once I get the frustration out of my system, I can move on, rejuvenated.

I nailed that blurb today. And if I didn’t nail it, I want you to tell me. Here it is below. All suggestions are welcome.

Breaking Bread, Book Five in the Bucks County Novels

Maya Kaminski has achieved her dream of owning a French bakery cafe, even though her family opposed her every step of the way. It hasn’t been easy, but her hard work and dedication have paid off —the business is thriving and she’s slowly getting ahead. Just as things seem to be going her way, her childhood friend, Brad Logan, moves back into town and with his recent inheritance, buys Maya’s building, intending to help her out. However, Maya is so used to relying on herself that it’s a struggle to accept help from anyone, let alone a man with whom she finds herself falling in love. When the cafe comes under attack, first by what appears to be petty mischief but quickly escalates to dangerous sabotage, Maya will need all the help she can get to save her business and her life.

(‘Keep calm’ image credit: farenheit211)

A clean slate for the new year.

I did it! I managed to finish the revisions of Breaking Bread before the end of the year. I’ve passed it off to a few readers for last minute feedback on the change in the story. I’m sending to my editor today with his promise to have it back to me by the end of February. In the meantime, I will work on the book cover and writing the dreaded blurb. Watch for publication in early March!

Today, I opened the file for “Here Lies a Soldier” and began rereading the story so far. I’ve dusted off my notebook for the novel and begun jotting down ideas for some changes and for what happens next. I can feel the neurons beginning to fire and I’m looking forward to picking up the threads of this story set between modern day and the time of The Great War. Watch for interesting bits of research I find as I read to write.

I also received some very exciting news at the end of the year, but I will save that for tomorrow as it deserves a post of its own!


The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Meg

Here we are on the last day of November. For those tired souls who participated in National Novel Writing Month – congratulations! It’s over! I did not participate this year, but instead set the goal of revising my completed manuscript for publication. I am not sure what happened to my time this month, but I’m sorry to say that I barely even made a dent in the job. Besides the introductory section I posted recently, I have accomplished absolutely nothing!

Nevertheless, I am still going to attempt to finish so as to publish before the year is out. If it seems a little quiet around here, you’ll know why. I’ll be in the subterranean lair, feverishly editing away…