Blurb Critique Thread

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by Paul Bellow, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. YonEye

    YonEye Level 8 (Thug) Citizen

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    way too grimdark for what it actually is

     
  2. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    One I decided to change mine to:

    "Nadine survives a fall with one arm and one leg. Surviving on the dregs of a former life, her solace is in browsing the web for pain killers on a constant basis. When she longs for the city in the sky, she finds that the life she now lives keeps her from restoring hope for a better future. After one her peers tries out a new virtual reality game, she succumbs to the new peer pressure with some hesitations. She must choose: a reality of suffering, or a dream of indulgence."
     
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  3. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    How about this then to give it more of a light-hearted tone:

    Old and about to die, Christopher Ryland is digitized in the new beta program offered by the Everlast Corporation.
    The beta promises eternal life in a video game but, as Ryland is soon to discover, he should've read the instruction
    manual first.

    The corporation failed to mention that it had populated his new world with slavers, sadists, supremacists, and one very
    trollish elf. Alright, that last one isn't really thier fault. Sure he might live forever, but with a serious lack of
    RPG knowledge this isn't going to be the fun and relaxing retirement he had imagined.

    He might not be the world's greatest gamer, but he won't let anything keep him down. Not even fish herpes.
     
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  4. YonEye

    YonEye Level 8 (Thug) Citizen

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    thier > their

    but yeah, I think that captures the tone better :)
     
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  5. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Hiya. My first impression of this is that it's really hooky. So good job!

    Second thought - you have written the blurb with what seems to be a very logical/chronological flow. She's spent years grinding but never explored. Then this happens. Then this happens. Etc. While that presents a clear order of events, it is difficult to make dramatic. The contents are good, but try rearranging them into the most dramatic order you can think of. (Don't worry about it making sense, at least not for this exercise. Go for 100% feels first. Then smooth out the kinks)

    Third thought - This is a game, so we all assume there's no death and it's not IRL. Which means you have no stakes. Rather, you mention there might be stakes at the very end with "regardless of the consequences of defying the in-game prophecy." That needs more elaboration. Like, we need to know that Sun Wukong is choosing to pursue revenge heedless of dire warnings. The real trick here is that you have to tie those warnings into what she cares about.

    A bad example: Killing Xifanglong will bring about the end of the game.
    Analysis: this is a bad example because we don't know if that is going to hurt the main character. So it's not a stake.

    A better example: Killing Xifanglong will bring about the end of the game. The same one her paraplegic brother has spent his whole life in. OR. The game she uses to run away from living in crushing poverty. OR etc...

    Edit: Thematically speaking, you have a revenge tale here. So what are you the author saying about the pursuit of revenge? If you do know, try to imply a bit of the theme's answer in your blurb.

    Hopefully you get the idea.

    Last thought - as for all the things you haven't mentioned, well, there's probably room for them to be put in. Your blurb is pretty short right now. Reasonably speaking a blurb can be 2-3 long paragraphs before people's eyes start glazing over. Since the first 2 paragraphs are really story related, you could make the third a marketing pitch of sorts. Something like...

    "[Previous paragraph]...of defying the in-game prophecy.

    Lady Wukong vs world is an 80's-inspired kung-fu romp through a high wuxia MMO the likes of which you've never read about. Come for the drama, but stay for the awesome battles against Sun Wukong's four great nemsis and the world-breaking conclusion."


    Wrapping up - I'm exited by your initial blurb btw. I've not read a litrpg about a grindy wuxia style of MMO yet as most MMO litrpgs are western-based MMOs. Though that may just be me (anyone have a recc on this score haha?). While I don't play that type of game, I an enamoured with it as seen on youtube and anime. I would totally read about one, that's for sure.

    Anyway, that's what I've got this morning. I hope you find it useful.
     
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  6. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Divine quests?! WOW. That's a cool idea. I freaking love it! That's like, even better than legendary or epic quests.

    I have mixed feelings about the blurb as a whole though. On one hand, it's pretty inspiring and leaves me jazzed up. Which is what a blurb is supposed to do.

    As a reader, IDK if I would click on this. It's a maybe for me. There are two issues which bug me,
    1. Too many proper nouns that I don't understand and aren't explained. By the blurb's end, I still don't really know what Incipere is or what the MCs' state of existence is (digitized?). Also, who is Unum and why is he a big deal? (I'm guessing that he's "first god" or something like that since Unus is 1 in the Roman numbering system. Maybe? That's a stretch of a guess IMO.)
    2. The blurb is 90% backstory. Only the last two sentences talk about what the book will actually be about. You talk about River and Dante making this big choice and then going on to do all this awesome stuff. Your blurb makes me want to read about that stuff rather than the front-story.
    (All that said, I notice the title is 1.5, so maybe issue #1 of mine comes from not having read Incipere Online 1. Existing series's readers wouldn't have a problem with #1 like I do.)

    #2 is a problem for existing or new readers IMO.

    I say all this, but I emotionally liked the blurb. So take it all with a grain of salt haha. ^_^
     
  7. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Do you want a critique of it?
     
  8. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    IMHO, #2 is way better than #1. Overall #2 is a pretty solid blurb. Good job!

    The part where "the director asks them..." feels out of place though. Might be too much detail or maybe it doesn't fit with the dramatic flow. If you can't hear how it's disjointed, ask someone to read your blurb out loud to you. That might highlight the problem.

    You're really coming along with this thing Andre. Keep pushing. You can do it! ^_^
     
  9. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I will take this as a half victory as the title is a side-ish story, but I did mean it to be a jumping point for those that couldn't get into the true book one due to the slower pace of it. You aren't wrong about Unum and the significance of the name as a whole, but that's another story. Those two issues are are hopefully easy enough to fix though. We shall see, Sir Bach.
     
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  10. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Sure but I updated it yesterday:

    Nadine survives a fall with one arm and one leg. Surviving on the dregs of a former life, her solace is in browsing the web for pain killers on a constant basis. When she longs for the city in the sky, she finds that the life she now lives keeps her from restoring hope for a better future. After one her peers tries out a new virtual reality game, she succumbs to the new peer pressure with some hesitations. She must choose: a reality of suffering, or a dream of indulgence.

    ---
    In the older version of my blurb, in retrospect I wonder "wtf is 'introduce new problems' suppose to mean?"

    Like saying "I drank all the milk, that introduces new problems."

    Yea, you think? :D
     
  11. YonEye

    YonEye Level 8 (Thug) Citizen

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    feat
     
  12. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Is this a LitRPG, and something on XHamster?o_O
     
  13. YonEye

    YonEye Level 8 (Thug) Citizen

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    I was going to make a Rex Ryan joke

    /NTTAWWT
     
  14. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Doh!
     
  15. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    By the way, I wanted to show people my work, but Leanpub is being a butt at the moment: it places a hard limit on how many times I can actually update my book within the month.

    So I'm stuck basically having to edit the XHTML in calibre just so I can split "The Spectre Of Dr. Richard Meville" from Uploaded Fairy.

    So if you see epilogue 1-4, I'm trying to edit that out when I can.
     
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  16. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Hmm, we get a good picture of the heroine's basic struggle, which is suitably sympathetic and brutal, but we need to know more. Questions I have when reading this include,
    1. What genre is this book? (I know it's litrpg/gamerlit but what genre is the game? If we're spending a lot of time in it, that's important)
    2. Why does she long for The city in the sky? The way you phrase that makes me think that she wants to go to a place that exists in her world's IRL. Especially since you say this before introducing the vr-game element.
    3. Her big choice... How is that a choice? IMO, most readers wouldn't begrudge her wanting to live in an indulgent VR world when the MC's real life is so horrible. You need to explain what forces and incoming consequences will make this choice one worthy of being the heart of your book's conflict. Make us wonder what we think the right choice is and whatever or not she'll make it.
    The blurb as-is is pretty short, so you've plenty of room to answer these sorts of questions without making it too long or a drag.
     
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  17. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Excellent, thanks!:

    UPLOADED FAIRY

    The Potato District, a megalopolis after the Second American Revolution, is constructed after picking up the pieces of civilization. Dream-Scanners, a specialized sky division, gathers data through peoples subconcious mind. This data is used for further development of Voreth's Promise, a VR Roguelike, a fantasy world with its own laws and customs, based on medieval society. As a seperate universe originally created in a lab, it was based on the desires of individual users.

    A girl wanting a robotic dog, is sent to a boarding school for delinquent teens. When she runs away, only her childhood friend tries to find her. But their hands slip. When Nadine wakes up, she finds herself in a hospital. Unable to make her way in the new world, drowning herself into the flow of an alternate universe, marketed as a VR game. The rumored "Voreth's Promise". The original gamer became greedy, his body began degenerating rapidly. Nadine, the "fallen angel", longs for the city in the sky while others seek the "Meadow Of Gold".

    When she is stuck in this game, she would rather fight monsters in ruins. But when the princess she dies do to her negligence, things come to ahead at the blade of an ax. She must fix this game to go home.
     
  18. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 12 (Rogue) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Haha, wow, that's a lot better. Also, I'm shocked (in a good way) at the difference between this blurb and the previous one. Based on the old blurb, I thought your book was a near-future contemporary drama using immersion-VR to replace harder drugs as the MC's means of coping. That does not seem to be the case though.

    *Cracks knuckles* Ok, lemme start fresh on this. As for the new blurb...
    • The opening paragraph is a list of facts. They are important, interesting facts and it's ok to start this way, but they do not flow together very well. It's hard to explain why I feel that way however. I desperately want to say that this paragraph is passive voice, but that's not accurate. It's more like you've weighted the action and significance on the end of the paragraph which is, in essence, why we tend to avoid passive voice constructions.
    • Unless you want to explain what a sky division is, you should probably cut out ", a specialized sky division," It's less confusing to say, "The Dream-Scanners gather data through peoples subconcious minds."
    • I'd replace "A girl" with Nadine. We need to know who you are talking about immediately.
    • I wouldn't mention the robotic dog. It's not important [in the blurb] and you shouldn't risk confusing what the MC's established need is (to find a new way of living after being crippled). Blurbs tend to get scanned by the eyeballs, so try to keep it to just the big stuff. You should only state the MC's need/want once in the blurb, if you can.
    • You should specifically mention that Nadine is badly and permanently crippled. This was a strength of the old blurb that should be kept. It was powerful stuff.
    • Why is Voreth's Promise rumored? I don't understand. Is she involved in something clandestine?
    • Who is the original gamer and how does he factor into all this?
    • You still haven't given us a clue as to the City in the Sky. Why should we care that she cares about it?
    • Same goes for the Meadow of Gold. Why should we care beyond it's cool name?
    • Same goes for the princess.
    • What things come to a head? You've not given us enough of an understanding of Nadine's situation to imagine what "things" might be (other than deadly).
    • Is she stuck in a game where death is real? You imply she must fix the game but I don't have any idea of how it's broken.
    • is this a death game? Always important with Litrpg is saying if people can die or not. If you don't have permadeath, then you need to say what other stakes there are. There's no gravitas without this.
    So that's a lot of criticism and questions, I'm sorry. I think that while you have a much better structure for your blurb now, you are relying on far too much "rule of cool" and not putting in enough substance. Keep in mind that blurbs can't handle a lot of unique terms, proper-nouns, or custom words. Sometimes those elements sound hooky and build reader curiosity, but they also create confusion. Clarity comes at the cost of mystery, but there's definitely a balance that must be struck between the two. I feel you're too far into the mystery territory right now which is why I'm going, "make it more clear."

    Don't be discouraged though! You've busted out huge improvement already. Blurb writing always takes a lot of iteration. I mean, Rachel and I have a graveyard of dozens of blurbs for each and every book we write. Fight on!
     
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  19. Andre Pisco

    Andre Pisco Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Thank you!
    I might do a few changes before publishing it
     
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  20. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I hope this new blurb clarifies the self-parody nature. :D It's meant as a parody of "rescue arc" games from the 90s:

    Dream-scanners dot the landscape like grains of sand, gathering data about potential candidates for a government experiment. This experiment produced the virtual reality game "Voreth's Promise". Originally designed as a battle simulation for space marines, and reworked into a fantasy world, it was repurposed by the secret service for targeted advertising.

    Nadine, a trans girl trying to make it as a normal student despite being a vampire, and is sent to a boarding school for unruly teenagers, where she eventually runs away do to the near prison like conditions. When her childhood friend tries to keep her from falling at the edge of the city in the sky, their hands slip.

    Dismissed as dead, Nadine wakes up in a hospital in the slums of Purgatory. Brought back to health at the edge of death, she's unsure if she's actually alive. Locked into a flesh prison. When she finds a mysterious game, not knowing its history, she mistakenly breaks it by not rescuing the princess. Nadine didn't consider Millie an important character, until the game begins to fall apart at the seems.

    Stuck in a game of stupid 90s tropes, Nadine must choose: fix the game, or be consumed as data. Compounding the issue, she finds it difficult to resist killing the "Flat" princess herself, at first...

    ---

    Trying to decide if its important that Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun is its prequel, and clarifies the setting of it being after the "Second US Civil War."
     




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