Review my blurb

3 years ago | ChrysKelly (Member)

From my about page (and big thanks to everyone who helped me with that ugly first sentence I had).

England suffers under a totalitarian, fascist government. Powered individuals are slaves to the state. Lexie, a young woman with a strong healing power, is being hunted through the streets of York by the powered Authority. Offered sanctuary by the Church, she knows it can be only a temporary reprieve, and turns her eyes northward, to the utopia that is Scotland.

Scotland is the world’s first utopia. A perfect country without crime or poverty, or at least that’s what the government claims. Stacey, Beki, Ashleigh, Zaheera and MJ, five young powered women, are going to find out that what the government claims isn’t always true.

In a crime that shocks the nation, the beloved heroine Glorious is brutally murdered. Stacey learns the government, police and media are actively covering up the truth of the crime, and teams up with a lucky photojournalist to get justice for the hero who once saved her life. But when the authorities don’t want the truth to come out, sometimes the only way to achieve justice is to fight for it yourself. Can Stacey become a vigilante without going too far and becoming a villain?

The Scottish National Defence Association, the government body in charge of Scotland’s Sanctioned superheroes, declared Beki a dud – a person with the potential to develop powers, but who never achieved that full potential. When Beki’s powers are suddenly unleashed, the SNDA want her back for more testing. After she refuses, Beki discovers her country does have villains after all – and the SNDA just promoted her to the top of the most wanted list. Can Beki be a hero, when everyone sees her as a criminal?

Ashleigh knows who the criminals are. Those too impure to live in a perfect society, whose awakened powers mean they can never pass for human. The freaks, the monsters, the xenoes. When Ashleigh discovers an entire community of them living in the ruins of Glasgow, she realises that the true monsters are those who would force others to live in such destitution, and wants to help improve their situation. Can Ashleigh overcome her own problems and prejudices to be the hero the xenoes see her as?

True criminals operate from the shadows, and the most successful are the ones no one ever knows exist. When Zaheera learns a secret organisation is kidnapping powered people to experiment on, she vows to expose and stop them, just as soon as she finds a way to escape their clutches. How can a pacifist hope to fight a group that no one believes in?

MJ doesn’t know who the bad guys are, and she’s happier that way. She wants to live the most normal life she possibly can, with a job, a boyfriend that will one day become her husband, and eventually kids. Her friends are beset by enemies on all sides, the danger to them mounting from moment to moment, but helping them means sacrificing everything she’s ever wanted. Will she give up on her dreams, and fight a battle she doesn’t believe in, for the sake of her friends?

Can a perfect society ever exist, or is perfection a lie, and the hunt for it the best we can ever hope for?

(I'd love any thoughts on it).

Read responses...

Page: 12

Responses

  1. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    This feels way too long for a blurb. Just looking at it puts me off from reading it. I realise that's a bit unfair since it may be riproaring stuff, but that's my first reaction.

  2. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Holy cow, that's WAY too much! A blurb should be a teaser that doesn't reveal too much about the story. This sounds like it reveals everything, and readers who don't already know you have little patience. They'll stop reading if you don't deliver the essential hooks right away.

    You should cut at least 50%, more would be better. For instance, I think you could cut the entire first paragraph, the second works pretty well on its own. Reduce the character paragraphs to one punchy line for each, one sentence that best describes what makes each character special. And don't unmask the whole plot!

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  3. Dary (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    That reads like half a dozen blurbs mashed together. You need to find something to focus on, and get it across in as few a words as possible. When in doubt, look to other blurbs for inspiration. I mean, have you ever read a blurb that long? Even some of the oldest books I own, whose blurbs detail the entire plot, get the job done in less words than that.

  4. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    That's actually way too long for a blurb. Blurbs are short and gives a reader an idea for what the story is about. I think about it like this in terms of blurbs. They should read like the back cover or inside of a dusk jack of a book. They are usually two to three paragraphs long. Some are shorter. Your sample is honestly too much.

    1st paragraph. Probably could go. The second paragraph seems to be a great opening to a blurb on its own. And the rest needs to be consolidated. Having a paragraph devoted to each of your characters is too much. Also, in those paragraphs, you reveal too much about the story. To a readers eyes you'll be throwing too much out that they don't have reason to care about yet and will glance over this because it's daunting for a blurb. At the most, maybe one or two lines devoted to each character about who they are and that very last paragraph should be the plot. Not the plot in detail. Not what you written. All you have to do is just tell the readers what they need to know to make them interested and pull them into reading the story. You don't need to tell them all the facts.

    A cross-genre slice=of-life, some adventure fluff fantasy stories about elves--> https://brotherhoodarchive.com
  5. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I'll echo what everyone else is saying - it's too long, and gives away too much - but I'll maybe add a bit of context given how I've been following your story to this point. Your work feels very much like a character piece, with the different points of view, and heck you referenced each of the mains in their own paragraph. As such, the setting feels like a secondary consideration, even a wee bit deceptive in your blurb... I'm not sure my utopia really includes drunk men hitting on women in bars, or for that matter, super villains who can waltz in when they choose. (Utopias and Dystopias also feel a bit overdone to me, but that's a personal observation.) All that to say, the first paragraph does feel unnecessary (plus we haven't even met Lexie or the Church yet and we're several parts in).

    I like the second paragraph. Particularly since it's a "government claim" against my utopia criticism, making me interested in reading, whether I care that it's in Scotland or not. In fact, you could almost simply ask the tagline questions after that paragraph listing your five mains - Can Stacey become a vigilante without going too far? Can Beki be a hero when she's seen as a criminal? Etc etc. The more context you give away for those questions, the less of a reason we have to actually read the story... you're also doing a bit of the "telling not showing" with lines like "MJ doesn't know, and she's happier that way". You may be better served mentioning more personalities (like pacifist), not emotions. Plus, damn, that Beki stuff feels SO spoilery.

    Anyway, that was thoughts.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  6. SovereignofAshes (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    As Mathtans mentioned above, I may be a bit of an echo as well.

    If this were a blurb for your fiction on here or something you would put on a dustjacket of a book, it's a lot. You could always design the cover of the book with words, I've seen it happen. I think one notable author who really loves her long blurbs is Ursula LeGuin. I've seen her fill up the entire covers of her older books from the 70's and 80's. I have an older copy of her book "The Dispossessed" and both front and back are covered.

    Blurb-wise, you want to tantalize the reader as much as you can. Hint but don't say. Start to go into your work, then quickly pull back, make the reader want to follow after you and jump right in to figure out just what's going on. All the advice everyone has mentioned above will get you there.

    I will mention this because I have done some slush-reading, editing, and some TA work for creative writing courses before... What you wrote above is the absolutely perfect synopsis that an editor or agent would love to have submitted to them. It's to the point, it summarizes your work, it leaves some to the imagination, and it lets an editor or agent know exactly what they're getting with your story. So if you are pitching this professionally, this is perfect. If it's the blurb for a web serial or a dustjacket... You might have to get out the scalpels and 'twitter-ize' it.

    You have my interest as a reader in your story. If you were looking for thoughts about the actual material of your story through the synopsis, you're good. It sounds solid. There are a lot of places you can go with it. It calls ideals out of the current zeitgeist and political atmosphere right now. The elements of brexit, third-wave feminism coming back into the first-wave ideals, the concepts of fighting for a better world in the illusions of a utopia which in fact is a dystopia. I'm drawn to allusions towards "V for Vendetta" and a little bit of Orwell's work.

    I take it your story is kind of in the super-hero or psi-hero vein of science-fiction. I like how you use the term 'powered' as if it was a double-entendre in a kind of way. Powered as they have powers, but powered also in an individual sense. Of being 'awoken' in a sort of way.

    Don't want to ramble on. Tonnes of better advice above. But, if you're pitching the story in the pro-markets, that's exactly what people want to see to pick up a fiction. So hold on to this, but you may want to start cutting it down to vague bits for your actual blurb.

    *** I just put my glasses on and saw that in your post, you stated this is a blurb for your about page for your fiction. It's perfect, if this is on an about page for a Wordpress site or some-such. Although, all I could give as criticism is to dial it back a bit. As I mentioned above to tantalize the reader to jump into your work. They don't need all the details at once.

    Yeah, an about page can have as much as you want to pile into it. Some people prefer short and quippy, others like a detailed and robust entry into your fiction. That's mostly preference. But, yeah, the advice given is perfect for cutting the elements of what your wrote down for a blurb like on WFG, or other sites that need a short and quick summary to capture readers.

    I have stuff on here too! The Vorrgistadt Saga.
  7. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Okay, so yeah I maybe shouldn't have used the word "blurb" as people are thinking "book back cover" and it's more like "the back covers of six books." This is my About page for my webserial.

    Chrysalis, I could cut the first paragraph, but I have a whole novel's worth of plotlines around Lexie and the situation in England.

    Dary, it is 6 blurbs, you're absolutely right. I should not have used the word blurb, because it's my about page - if I was doing a novel, well, this would have to be at least 5 books, probably 6, and each one of them would have a single paragraph from above as a blurb.

    @LadyAnder, again, I shouldn't have mentioned blurb - its an About page, and I know it's too long for a book.

    I am interested in why you think I'm giving away too much story in each paragraph, though, because I honestly can't see it. If you could clarify what you mean at all, that would be awesome. From my point of view, I'm looking at a paragraph up there (eg

    "In a crime that shocks the nation, the beloved heroine Glorious is brutally murdered. Stacey learns the government, police and media are actively covering up the truth of the crime, and teams up with a lucky photojournalist to get justice for the hero who once saved her life. But when the authorities don’t want the truth to come out, sometimes the only way to achieve justice is to fight for it yourself. Can Stacey become a vigilante without going too far and becoming a villain?")

    and when I look at that I know that the first sentence details something that happens off page before the story begins, the second sentence is mostly chapter one, all the character info and plot is in the third sentence and the 4th sentence is the theme. It honestly doesn't (to me) seem to give away much of the story.

  8. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Mathtans... it is a character piece, and I gave each main a paragraph because they are all essentially in their own novels that run concurrently. Some of them are even different genres (one of them is hopefully a thriller, one is hopefully more of a horror, for example). Are drunk women hitting on men in bars allowed in your utopia? Umm, have we had a supervillain yet, or are you referring to that character that scares you?

    Utopias and dystopias are definitely overdone, and I don't even believe in them in the first place, and that's definitely something I wanted to explore.

    Lexie is coming... eventually(?) I'm not sure how soon, though.

    "Scotland is the world’s first utopia. A perfect country without crime or poverty, or at least that’s what the government claims. Stacey, Beki, Ashleigh, Zaheera and MJ, five young powered women, are going to find out that what the government claims isn’t always true. But as they struggle against the authorities of a "perfect" country, they are going to have to face some harsh truths about who they really are, and how far they are willing to go to get what they want. Can Stacey become a vigilante without going too far and becoming a villain? Can Beki be a hero, when everyone sees her as a criminal? Can Ashleigh overcome her own problems and prejudices to be the hero others see her as? How can Zaheera, a pacifist, fight against evil? Can MJ give up on her dreams, and fight a battle she doesn’t believe in, for the sake of her friends?

    Can a perfect society ever exist, or is perfection a lie, and the hunt for it the best we can ever hope for?"

    The problem with this (and with the first About page I tried) is that it sounds like there is one story, the rejects (my heroes) against the government. But there isn't just one plot going here (and I don't mean there are subplots. Stacey, Zaheera, and Ashleigh have massive plotlines, easily enough for one novel, maybe more, and each is separate and has a different villain. They are in different styles, different genres, stemming from a single starting point but then going in completely different directions. Beki has slightly less plot, but only when compared to those three.)

    There was a complaint about my last about page making it sound like it was all Stacey's story, when my after my first update, the next three were Beki's story, kinda out the blue. I don't want to be saying to people "come read this one storyline" when I'm actually saying "come read these six storylines."

    If you know what I mean.

  9. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @SovereignofAshes I never really thought of it in terms of synopsis. It would have to be a doorstopper, and I think it's way too, uhh, experimental, with 6 1st person main narrators and changing genres and things, but I'm glad I finally got some feedback on writing synopsi. Thank you. :)

    I got lucky. This was planned a while ago, launching it at Brexit was luck. But there is a definite feminist zeitgeist right now. V for Vendetta definitely is some of the inspiration for parts of my English plot.

    Yes, it's superheroes, but the main characters were (mostly) rejected from superhero training.

    It is an about page for a Wordpress site.

  10. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I reread my above posts, and I seem to come across as being a bit ticked off. Honestly, I am... but at me. I should never have used the word blurb, I should have made it clearer what this was. I'm annoyed at myself.

    Thank you everyone who offered any advice. Most of what was said (about blurbs) will definitely help when I eventually put it on to WFG.

  11. mooderino (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    What exactly do you want the About Page to do for your story? Because blurb or not, it feels way too long as a tool to get readers interested in reading the story. That's how I see the About Page. I find an interesting premise or writer, I go to the About Page to see what the story's about and then I decide if I want to give it a go. If that's your purpose here it's still way too long. Like twice as long as it should be. If you have another purpose, then no worries.

  12. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Chrys I would still shorten this. A lot. Because readers will lose patience with a wall of text, no matter how much content there is. You don't need to represent all the content on the about page, let readers explore the story on their own.

    For the record, I'm at over half a million words and the summary on my about page is something like 200 words (which hint at maybe 5% of the total content). It hasn't hurt my views or my TWF ranking.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  13. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    And just to piggyback on Chrysalis' comment, your blurb is for the people who don't know about your story heading in. Yeu don't have to keep every plot line about every character updated and in there, because those readers will learn that as they keep going. You want to appeal to the people who only have patience for your first five chapters (I'm kidding; I speak from experience that it's your first one) and entice those guys.

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  14. Walter (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    A thing I heard, that I think is important to keep in mind (in terms of brief synopses), is the elephant principle. If I pitch a story with an elephant in the driveway you might be interested. If the story goes "I woke up, and there was an elephant in the driveway...so I drove around it and went to work. I had some toast and some...", the reader will feel betrayed. They are here for the elephant.

    So, if the ideal blurb hooks a reader, the first chapter needs to start following through on that hook. (My story doesn't do this well though, this is a 'take my advice, don't expect me to take it' situation). If your blurb is something like "Bob is the best zeppelin racer, but can even his amazing talents overcome the crooked Helium Cartel and their illicit weather control device?", then we better see Bob in a blimp in chapter one.

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