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How To Write A Compelling Blurb

How do you write a compelling blurb?

First and foremost, you need to hook the reader, just like when you write a query and a synopsis.

Easy, peasy, right?

The best way to hook the reader is with a logline and/or first sentence.

A logline is one or two sentences used to describe the essence and concept of your story.

Screenwriters have to write a logline for their screenplays because directors, agents, and producers, usually will not read beyond the logline unless it grabs their attention.

It does take a lot of practice to write a logline and a blurb for that matter. If you find yourself getting frustrated, put it away for a day or two, and then go back to it.

After you think you have your logline or the first sentence nailed down, I suggest you have somebody read it, a friend or family member to see if it grabs their attention.

The logline always has the main character in it, what’s unique about it, and the hook of the story. It can also have the villain and what is standing in the way of what the main character wants, but it all depends on what type of story it is, so you tailor your sentence to that.

Screenwriters use action and descriptive words in their loglines. What worked for me, considering the type of story I wrote was this:

Paige knows evil exists in this world, but she never imagined it would want something from her.

As you can see there’s no action in it but mentions the main character and the essence of the story. In the literary world, this is called a shoutline, which is supposed to grab the reader’s attention. Your goal is to do that so it’ll entice them to read more and hopefully buy your book. It also applies to the first line of your blurb. Of course, you don’t have to write a logline/shoutline. You can always just dive into the blurb and pique the reader’s interest with that first line.

 

Also, I want to mention if you’re writing a story with an unusual world, whether it’s dystopia, steampunk, fantasy, scifi, etc, you might want to start out by mentioning the world first. That way the reader will know if they buy your book they’ll be transported to another world, a world they can totally get into.

Now comes the fun part, the part I’ve had a difficult time with–writing the plot.

In a story, you have a plot and subplots. What you need to do is focus on the plot.

I know. It’s difficult because there are so many cool ass things happening in your story and characters you want to acknowledge. But if you focus your attention on that stuff instead of the plot, it’ll crowd your mind with all the awesome things you feel compelled to mention, which will cause you to lose sight on the root of the story. You have to push all that aside and give the reader what they need to know.

When you start writing the plot, though you don’t want to weigh it down by putting too much into it.

I’m not going to lie; it’s a pain, and I think it’s one of the most difficult things to do as a writer. Regardless, though it has to be done, and there are questions you need to ask yourself before you write it . . .

1. What does the reader need to know?

2. What does your MC want?

3. What is standing in the main character’s way?

4. What’s the main conflict?

5. What’s at stake?

6. What’s the plot?

At the end of your blurb, you don’t want to give away how your story will end like you would in a synopsis. You just need to bait the hook. Your goal is to get the reader to want more and to have them dying to know how your story is going to end.

So never give away the ending.

There are many ways you can end a blurb, like with a question or suspense. I suggest you read blurbs on the back of books or movies to give you an idea on how you should end your blurb.

Here’s how I ended mine:

Can a deeply troubled teen overcome her own demons in order to fight those lurking about? With the past and present colliding, Paige must make the ultimate mortal choice. Will it be the right one?

As you can see, I didn’t give away the ending. And although there’s a lot more to my story than that, the last line is essentially what the reader needs to know. It’s the lifeblood of the story that gives the heart of it a pulse.

Anyway, I know this blog post is kind of long, but I thought this topic was important enough to spend some extra time on. Besides, I’ve been sick for almost two weeks which explains why I haven’t posted anything here until now.

For those of you who are working on a blurb now or may do so in the future, I hope what I wrote helps you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I believe in paying-it-forward, and I’d like to help you if I can. 🙂

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