Monday, February 01, 2010

Tuesday Tip: the Art of the Blurb

Can you summarize your book in just a few sentences? Whittle it away to its most basic core? It's not an easy thing to do. But if you can do it, I believe it is a sign that you truly know the story you are writing (or have written).

If you've not attempted to write one before, consider this a challenge to do so. There are several reasons you should do this. First of all, if someone asks you, "What's your book about?" you'll want to give them a short answer without stumbling around and saying "ummm..." fifty times. Also, using these short hooks is a great way to start off a query or cover letter once you begin submitting. As if those reasons aren't good enough, it's also a fun challenge that, once accomplished, will leave you with a swelling sense of accomplishment.

When writing your blurb, you need to answer the following:
  • Who is your main character?

  • What is their goal?

  • What is in their way?

Unlike a synopsis, a blurb (your hook) doesn't tell the whole story. It is a teaser that is meant to snag your reader and reel them in so that they want to know more. Here's a little blurb I wrote for my verse novel, SHARRA'S WAR:

Sharra is on the run, hunted for her ability to compel animals to obey her will. During her flight through the wilderness, Sharra finds friendship in surprising places. These alliances give her the strength to make her way home, where she must face the leader of the invading warriors and use her gift to save her family and her country.

Have fun blurbing! If anyone would like to post one here, I'd love to read it. Tips that help you write them are welcome too!


  1. I've written one-sentence blurbs for my past two novels. It's an amazing (and tough) exercise paring down a plot to its core.

  2. Another thing I like to do is write blurbs for books I haven't written yet. It's a fun way to spark ideas.

  3. This is a very good tip. I need to do this for my WIP (is that right: work in progress: WIP?) that I have yet to finish editing from November's writing frenzy.


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