Blurb Critique Thread

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

  1. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    She's also a vampire? You've got a lot of ideas packed in here, that's for sure. Distilling them into the critical components is gonna be the key. People like a good genre mash-up, but only if they don't get whiplash from the big ideas.

    Hmm. How much of the book happens inside the game? 50%? 90%?
     
  2. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Closer to 65-75 percent. It's hard to say for certain, as the game world enters around chapter 7 in a 13 chapter book. But the last chapters are what make it 16,300 words and not 11,500 words. So determining an actual percentage is hard.

    Also I wanted to wait to mention till the first blurb edit, but the robot dog is actually highly important in the book. The dog sets the stage for the "preliminary game" where the group fights in a dog fighting ring between different robotic dogs, prior to when the actual "Voreth's Promise" enters the picture.

    It's like trying to write a blurb for two novelettes, even though the second novelette is actually just a long short story. Hence the difficulty in writing a blurb.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  3. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    That's a substantial portion. Darn. TBH, I was hoping your IRL was contained to chapter 1 or something. If so, then the blurb could have glossed over some of the bigger IRL details in favor of focusing on the in-game section. IMO, the two segments are almost competing with each other. One is an alternate future/history urban fantasy about a vampire girl while the other is a litrpg about being trapped in a pleasure-game run amok and trying to fix it before deletion.

    Marrying the two in a blurb is challenging. You've got the right of it.

    That said, now that we know. I feel the basic structure should be something like....

    Blurb for the first half of the book about the main character and the cool world she lives and struggles in, running up to...

    A single sentence about the accident.

    Blurb for the second half. As she's now living with horrible consequences, we dive in into the game content. But the escape turns into a trap and now dramatic stuff or else. (stakes).

    Tagline which asks the dramatic question. (ex: will she make it in time?)​

    Does that make sense?

    Yeah, but to be blunt, the level of plot importance doesn't entirely matter for the blurb. Blurbs aren't all about the content. They are ads that have to give the reader a free sample of the experience they will have if they buy and read your book.

    Since you're almost blurbing two books in one, you have to be really really picky about what details go in. Trust me, I know this pain. My book has a split 50-50 POV between two equal main characters. I had to divide my blurb as a result and it was hell to do. The best guideline I can give is only to put in what is needed to make the blurb make sense while also making it dramatic and reader focused.

    So is the robotic dog important enough to make it into the blurb if doing so is going to shove one of these other elements out? Only you can answer this.
     
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  4. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yep, thank you! I'll get to work on it.
     
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  5. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I kind of did it, kind of not:

    Nadine is an slacking student, who has recently broken up with her girlfriend. Initially she wanted to continue building her robotic dog. But the next morning, her mother dies in a mysterious accident. Taken to a boarding school to live the rest of her teen years, torn between dating her old sweet heart and establishing a new life, she knows the life she wants to lead is not here.

    But when she runs away from the boarding school on the floating city, the only way to hold her hand to keep her from falling is her old lover. Stuck in a world where teens build robot dogs to fight to the death, she comes to understand that not everyone lives like aristocrats. They hold onto the false promise of a better life.

    Compounding the stench of death and cockroaches, the corporate state forked the source code from an old war time simulator. This simulator reworked into tailored experience in a fantasy world, specific to the desire of individual gamers. When Nadine finds her sexual desires to much to handle, she is about to give up gaming.

    A dream-scanner, whose been watching her play all this time, has given her one last chance: she has the opprotunity to fix that apocalypse she's created that ruined the lives of the game world fairies. Who has her own mixed loyalties. And she keeps telling Nadine, "It's not really a game."

    ---
    And this is just for Uploaded Fairy. I'm not quite sure how I'll write the blurb for Uploaded Elf, and Uploaded Skull-Fairy. They'll expand on the history of Voreth's Promise, such as the Wizard that tried to hold off the purple slime that caused the original apocalypse. (Nadine caused a worse second apocalypse.)

    Lidier's Game I'm not entirely sure of its relation to Uploaded Fairy, except it's feeling more and more like a prequel. But then, I've already wrote a crap load of prequels.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  6. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Planning yo. Sit down and do some major series planning. Figure out your meta-plot for series first and foremost. Then figure out how each book will advance that plot and which book will be the "ending".

    If you don't have a meta-plot, then the books need different packaging and treatment. Do that whole, "A Voreth's Promise Novel" branding thing. Make sure the blurbs don't overly reference your other books, cause you don't want the reader to think they are mandatory. Etc.

    Though, I have to wonder. It sounds like you have 2 books which expand on the history. Generally, if you have more than 1 prequel, you're starting your series in the wrong place. Prequels are basically back-story novels and they are harder to sell, generally speaking. The majority of readers get invested in the front-story and are always a little grumpy about not getting forever more of it. The more of your series you can convert from back-story to front-story, the better.
     
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  7. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Perhaps history of the world wasn't the right word, I meant like the history interspersed into the front-matter in background subtext. Sort of like different arcs through out Conan, elude to earlier events, without playing out the entire events, in order to build context of future events.

    I need to check to see if she made it through revision, but I have an assassin character I'll be expanding on later, that only has a very brief role, but has been a long term friend to the sister of one of the MCs in the game world, but not in the none game world. (In other words, an NPC.)

    Her role in first Book is to act as the executor of one of the NPC princesses will, to assassinate the MC. And even when one dies in my work, it's only death in the "temporary death"/reincarnation sense.

    Funny you mention that, Voreth's Promise was going to be a series title.

    What I'm not sure about is how it will conflict with already existing "spin off" novels, about the MC's daughter. Which aren't on Amazon, but have been on Penana for a while. A lot of it is I'm not wanting to mess with the timeline so much that it completely diverges from the plot of Simply Pace and Mr. Clocktime's novelette.

    Historically this has tended to happen to earlier books, where I wrote one short story, and rewriting it caused the timeline to split, and make certain events in timeline 2 impossible, unless things happened different in timeline 1. So I'd probably be writing true sequals, and not books that become sequals because one of my characters from a different series decides to show up in it, just to prevent that kind of timelime cancelling.

    And yes, I'm of the opinion that drastic rewriting constitutes bad rewriting. It's how one version is a Survival Horror, and the other is a GameLit. Which shouldn't happen, unless I've completely botched some part of the book development.

    So I mark them as seperate stories now, with a similar (but different) MC.
     
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  8. J.S.

    J.S. Level 7 (Cutpurse) Roleplaying Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Ok, so book one is off to the proofreader. I have been trying to tackle my blurb for the past two weeks and feel like I am spinning my wheels. Any feedback or help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated!!

    XP: Unlocked
    Book One: Quest Accepted

    "Socially awkward, introverted nineteen year-old Evan spends most of his time playing video games to avoid his moody younger sister, Audyn. He never thought he’d actually be trapped in one with her while their crazy uncle tries to get them out.

    Stumbling into the first ever full immersion virtual world, they must learn how to live surrounded by magical energy, strange and powerful fantasy creatures, with dark enchantress intent on destroying them.

    Separated on different sides of an unexplored world, Evan and Audyn rise to the challenge. Gaining unlikely companions, discovering powerful items, and uncovering ways to increase their skills, they learn they can overcome their past to become whatever they want, but can they complete their quest before they are locked in the game…forever?"


    A few things that I do not mention that may be worth adding somewhere:

    Evan enters the game world as a Dwarf
    Audyn enters the game world as a Half-elf
    They have underwhelming starter gear, no skills, no abilities, and no assigned class when they enter. Only a couple racial bonuses.


    While my book has some cursing and intense fight scenes with some blood and gore, I also keep humor in the forefront.
    I am aiming this series more toward a YA/Adult crowd, say 15 and up.

    Again, any help is greatly appreciated!!

    J.S.
     
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  9. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    IMO, this is a strong blurb and I am having a hard time thinking of ways to improve it. I don't think cramming in those extra details will help.

    Good job so far!
     
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  10. Andre Pisco

    Andre Pisco Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Hello everyone. I'm back at it again. I made a few changes using the help I got previously.

    When Alec turned fifteen, he was forced to accept an implant made by the gods - a chip that granted random powers and the possibility to see everyone's status.

    While Alec never asked for it, his fledgling fire sorcerer ability enables him to get in the prestigious Drexus academy despite his poor upbringing.
    Once there, it isn't long before the academy is under attack by the mysterious Reapers who are looking for two very special students.
    Alec and five classmates are chosen to undertake a dangerous journey to seek help. Along the way through, they uncover the true nature of the chips.
    What he discovers may save or doom them all.


    Is there anything you would change?
    I'm not sure if I should add that despite getting the chip at 15, he only enters the academy at 20
     
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  11. Kidlike101

    Kidlike101 Level 17 (Theurgist) Citizen

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    I like it except of this one line that gives too much away

    "they learn they can overcome their past to become whatever they want."

    Maybe not mention that they'll actually win this battle and what the moral is? My suggestion would be

    "Can they overcome their past or will they be ruled by it."
     
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  12. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    That's better! ^_^ It feels like it's coming together to me. The flow isn't all together though. Reapers attack and now he's going on a journey. Those lines feel disconnected.

    It also feels to me like there's a gap between getting into the Academy and the attack. That's a gut-level guess though. I think I was expecting you to say something about Academy life (what it's like or how he doesn't get to have it b/c of Reapers then journey). IMO, this line would be a great place to tip the reader off as to Alec's desire as a character. Ex: "He was ready to enjoy living well at the Academy, but..." or "He was hoping to survive first term without lighting too many things on fire..." etc... whatever it actually is.

    Example of what I mean:

    When Alec turned fifteen, he was forced to accept an implant made by the gods - a chip that granted random powers and the possibility to see everyone's status.
    A few years later and his fledgling fire sorcerer ability has enabled him to attend the prestigious Drexus academy, despite his poor upbringing.


    Insert: Something about his life in the academy, reveal Alec's desire.

    Once there, it isn't long before the academy is under attack by the mysterious Reapers who are looking for two very special students.


    Insert: The reason the Reaper attack sends him on the journey. This would be a clue as to the preliminary stakes of the plot

    Alec and five classmates are chosen to undertake a dangerous journey to seek help. Along the way through, they uncover the true nature of the chips.
    What he discovers may save or doom them all.



    That's a tricky question. Normally, I would say "no" because that's not a detail which stirs up wonder, irony, dread, or curiosity. BUT, you do not want readers thinking they are buying a YA (age 15 protag) when they are really getting something that's NA (new adult/college). IDK your actual text though, is this book college or is it more high school?

    If you want to court the YA crowd and the Magical High School genre, then I'd keep the blurb as is. Otherwise, I'd swap things around to only mention the age once. Like this,

    When Alec was a kid, he was forced to accept an implant made by the gods - a chip that granted random powers and the possibility to see everyone's status. Now, at age 20, his fledgling fire sorcerer ability enables him to get in the prestigious Drexus academy despite his poor upbringing.
     
  13. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Help!


    She’s one of a few who can remember it’s only a game…

    The high cost of survival on an apocalyptic virtual world believed to be real…

    Scout and Missy live and work in Shelter 042-003, one of a hundred self-contained underground cities necessary for survival in the harsh landscape after the Great Freeze and the destruction of almost the entire world. At least that’s what most people believe.

    While the game screens, stats, and combat notifications are normal to most citizens, Scout remembers another world. She recalls being in a virtual world on a planet called earth when calamity struck and everything went apocalyptic in an instant.

    Most of the others trapped have no memories of the real world,. After several years on the bottom, trying to figure out how to escape, Scout tires of just surviving and works toward gaining power in order to uncover the deeper mystery of the dark game.
     
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  14. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    First, gotta say that I love the premise. Being the only one who knows she's in the matrix is so much baked in tension. Lemme read it right now!

    On that note, keep that first line no matter what. She’s one of a few who can remember it’s only a game… is a dynamite hook.

    Past that point, I think the blurb is overly focused on the setting and not enough on the character's place in the story. Like, the bit about game screens being normal is great, but there's much repetition of information otherwise. For example, here's the blurb after I remove any redundancies,

    She’s one of a few who can remember it’s only a game…

    Scout and Missy live and work in Shelter 042-003, one of a hundred self-contained underground cities necessary for survival in the harsh landscape after the Great Freeze and the destruction of almost the entire world.

    While the game screens, stats, and combat notifications are normal to most citizens, Scout recalls growing up on a planet called Earth, before calamity struck and normal life ended in an instant.

    After several years on the bottom, trying to figure out how to escape, Scout tires of just surviving and works toward gaining power in order to uncover the deeper mystery of the dark game.

    Edit: Got rid of the virtual world called earth. Haha removing redundant info is hard!
     
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  15. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Just realized that this last line is contradictory. She's trying to escape but is also tired of just surviving.

    Some more thoughts on this blurb. There's a lot of questions that it could/should either answer, ask, or hint at. Scout knows her reality is fake so...
    • What has she done with this knowledge so far?
    • What inciting incident changes her stance on that?
    • What goal does she choose?
    • Why should we care about reality being fake? (what are the stakes?)
    • What obstacles threaten her/her goal?
     
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  16. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Great! Thanks so much. You made me realize the five years in there isn't really a good place to start. I'm going to change it and make it closer... Here's a quick rewrite based on your notes...



    Still a work in progress.

    Glad I finally have a good hook, I think! ;)
     
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  17. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Even better, I think your questions got me asking other questions which is going to make the first chapter a lot stronger. Thanks again!
     
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  18. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 10 (Filcher) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yay!

    You are always helping all of us, i am happy to have returned some karma.
     
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  19. WaywardDreaming

    WaywardDreaming Level 4 (Warrior) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I really like where you're going with this premise, but there are a few parts in there that I find somewhat confusing.

    This sentence in particular, "While the game screens, stats, and combat notifications are normal to most citizens, Scout recalls growing up on a planet called Earth, before calamity struck and normal life ended in an instant with the Great Freeze." reads rather strangely to me. She's trapped in a Post-Apoc "game," but the reality she remembers is also post-apoc? With the addition of that following line, "Who was behind the switch?" I'm pretty sure that guess is correct, but it still doesn't quite flow correctly because it also sounds like background information from the game that everyone (in the game) should know. Also the first clause about notifications doesn't really flow with the ending.

    To fix it, maybe something like...

    "While the game screen, stats, and combat notifications are normal to most citizens, Scout finds them jarring. She recalls growing up on a planet called Earth where such things were non-existent. But those memories are confused, tangled inextricably with memories of the great freeze that ended normal life in an instant. It's too bad that calamity never actually happened. Dealing with that would be easier than trying to figure out who was behind the switch, or why no one else seems to remember."
     
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  20. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Thanks much. I'll post up the closer to final version in a few days likely.
     
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