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  1. Cynnara's Avatar
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    #1

    Xwriter Lesson 5: Back Cover Blurbs

    I enjoy writing the Back Cover blurb as it’s often one of the first things I write while writing a story. It’s part of my plotting process and it often is the motivation to keep things on track even when the characters seem to meander down trails I never saw in the initial movie trailer. In fact, the back cover blurb will lead us to the final blurb– the query/highlight one as it’s a refined version with small changes. So, let’s take that high concept blurb as our guide and begin the back cover blurb.

    In this blurb, I often have three to four paragraphs, each composed of 4-7 sentences. This limits what is included and forces you to think in what I call movie trailer mode. Movie trailers are one of the best ways to learn how to write back cover blurbs. Listen to them on the radio and watch them on TV. Take notes on what is used as the opening, the middle, the ending hook. These are what comprise the back cover for a story. Though there are many things that make up a book or movie, these three components are always present.

    We know the essence of the story, so the next step is what is the crisis/decision moment that forces the protagonist to act? This is your first sentence since it creates the setting of the story and focuses the reader’s attention to read further.

    Take your opening sentence. Does it make you go, “Hmm, I wonder what this is about? How did this happen?” If you aren’t finding yourself wondering more about the character– you need a different first sentence. Once you open up with the appropriate attention grabber that sets up the book, usually introducing the main character or at least one of the main characters, you move to the next part. Normally my first two sentences are what constitute not just the crisis moment, but the main characters first reaction. This allows the readers to identify with the character–even though they don’t know much else.

    Then we go to what I call the interference–why can’t the character do what is necessary to fix the situation? What is stopping him/her from moving forward? Normally, I pick one certain thing faced that is a failure or I generalize a couple of incidents that show just what the character/s face and why they’re not getting anywhere fast. Normally this is a physical conflict that I showcase as it keeps the blurb moving forward and is easily relatable for the reader.

    Next, I bring in the emotions. Why? Because we are emotional creatures and we want to feel the humanity of the protagonists. We want to see them struggle, fall in love, realize that they need something more than what they are at that moment to accomplish their goals. When writing a romance, this is where I mention about the attraction factor, the intimacy, or even being overwhelmed thus causing the next set of circumstances that happen. Once I’ve done this part–which is often a few sentences, I get to the setup of the black moment/final crisis. When I prepare this part, I often take a few minutes with the story if it’s done and reread the first few pages before that moment and through that moment. If the story isn’t written, I play my movie trailer in my head, taking down the aspects that make it so intense you need to know what happens after.

    Now, I fiddle with it a bit, making sure that I don’t give away the ending but leave the reader wondering– “What happens?” Depending on the genre, I often try to form the last sentence or two as questions, bringing the whole story essence into that moment– “Can they love each other when they find out their love is based on deceit?” “Can he figure out who is behind the murders before the murderer wins the final round by destroying the one person that Jake can’t live without?”

    By using a strong hook at the end of the back cover blurb, you are leaving the reader wondering, thinking, considering. You’re forcing them to speculate without too much information and with the right closing; you’re creating a lasting impression in their mind. It’s the kind of thing that might have them debating as they wander around the store a little while longer, especially if they’re not sure they want to buy the book at first. It makes them think to the point that they have to know the answer, which gives you a sale and a new reader. Starting and ending with a hook is one sure way to have your book remembered. If the hook is also catchy–they won’t forget it and will talk about to other people. Once this is written, I often spend some time revising, tightening, and rewording the blurb until I’m happy with it. This usually involves me reading it out loud, like a movie trailer. If I hear it and I feel excited, then I know that I’ve got the pacing and flow nailed for the blurb.

    This takes us to the final blurb– the Query/Highlight blurb.

    Assignment--- Share your cover blurb with us.
  2. Red Dragon's Avatar
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    #2

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    This is quite difficult to do without a clear knowledge of the story but I am working on it using your paragraph suggestions.
    Thank you very much.
    Rusty.
  3. Cynnara's Avatar
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    #3

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    Think of your idea as a movie trailer. In it, you're going to see a beginning, a middle-- usually something action intense, and some kind of cliff-hanger that makes you want to know more. Now, here's the secret... use your GMC of your characters... to help fill in those blanks. What's needed, what's wanted, what is the goal.

    Does that help a bit?
  4. #4

    Default example

    Could you show us and example? I can visualize better with examples..
    thanks you!
    sylvie

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynnara View Post
    Think of your idea as a movie trailer. In it, you're going to see a beginning, a middle-- usually something action intense, and some kind of cliff-hanger that makes you want to know more. Now, here's the secret... use your GMC of your characters... to help fill in those blanks. What's needed, what's wanted, what is the goal.

    Does that help a bit?
  5. Cynnara's Avatar
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    #5

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    Okay, I can do that. Let's work with the Wolverine trailer... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPmbGzQaOCs

    In the opening, we see Logan preparing to be given his adamantium skeleton. He's told to think of the reason he was doing this and it would help him get through the pain. Those flashes-- are flashbacks we can use to bring out his GMC. Those are part of made him scared, made him angry, that made him who he is today.

    The next section of the trailer talks about a new team with special abilities. It deals with mutants and how they need to be controlled. We see an action sequence that speaks of what they, including Logan are and will do. It makes you wonder-- what will they ask of him, what will they demand of the team.

    Our next section talks about him being dragged in. That he tried to walk away from those who tried to control him and abuse him. They will hunt him down and not let him just walk away. Who can help him? Who would want to? Would other mutants try to hurt him and turn him in for rewards? Or is there another way for him to survive and thrive?

    And at the end-- we see the true Logan as Wolverine. Out comes the claw. In the end, he is who he is.

    So, let's take this and make a cover blurb. *grins*

    Logan wants to forget the pain of the past; comes to those who are willing to help him become something more than just his mutant talents. He felt that he couldn't help those in need when they needed him most. He needed to be more and they will give him that more-- an adamantium skeleton to augment his healing and fighting skills.

    In return, they want him to work with a new group of fellow mutants. However, their control is something that makes him feel weak and is at issue with who he truly is. Logan, who is known now as Wolverine, walks away- but not without causing a destruction in his leaving. But will this agency truly let him walk away?

    In his quest to discover himself once more, he finds others like himself. Others who might help him or might turn him into those who will retrieve what they consider their property. Yet in the end, it comes down to one man versus a group who fight-- not for what's right, but for the right of being-- on his own terms.


    *grins* Does that help at all?
  6. #6

    Default example

    Yes, that helps a lot!! excellent...thanks
    sylvie

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynnara View Post
    Okay, I can do that. Let's work with the Wolverine trailer... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPmbGzQaOCs

    In the opening, we see Logan preparing to be given his adamantium skeleton. He's told to think of the reason he was doing this and it would help him get through the pain. Those flashes-- are flashbacks we can use to bring out his GMC. Those are part of made him scared, made him angry, that made him who he is today.

    The next section of the trailer talks about a new team with special abilities. It deals with mutants and how they need to be controlled. We see an action sequence that speaks of what they, including Logan are and will do. It makes you wonder-- what will they ask of him, what will they demand of the team.

    Our next section talks about him being dragged in. That he tried to walk away from those who tried to control him and abuse him. They will hunt him down and not let him just walk away. Who can help him? Who would want to? Would other mutants try to hurt him and turn him in for rewards? Or is there another way for him to survive and thrive?

    And at the end-- we see the true Logan as Wolverine. Out comes the claw. In the end, he is who he is.

    So, let's take this and make a cover blurb. *grins*

    Logan wants to forget the pain of the past; comes to those who are willing to help him become something more than just his mutant talents. He felt that he couldn't help those in need when they needed him most. He needed to be more and they will give him that more-- an adamantium skeleton to augment his healing and fighting skills.

    In return, they want him to work with a new group of fellow mutants. However, their control is something that makes him feel weak and is at issue with who he truly is. Logan, who is known now as Wolverine, walks away- but not without causing a destruction in his leaving. But will this agency truly let him walk away?

    In his quest to discover himself once more, he finds others like himself. Others who might help him or might turn him into those who will retrieve what they consider their property. Yet in the end, it comes down to one man versus a group who fight-- not for what's right, but for the right of being-- on his own terms.


    *grins* Does that help at all?
  7. Cynnara's Avatar
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    #7

    Default

    Glad it helps, Sylvie! Don't forget to share your cover blurb if you want!
  8. #8

    Default blurb

    I'm still working on them, but so far this is what I have:

    High Concept Blurb>>
    >>
    Ever ponder the age old question of why we are here?
    For the Greater Good of Mann attempts to answer the question through a fictionalized story that is a cross between Lovely Bones and The Sacred Contract.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    Query-Highlight Blurb>>
    >>
    Giving up eternal happiness for even a short time is not an option many consider. But there are those who do.
    >>
    Can any of the five volunteers put a stop to the evil brewing in Mann before their time runs out? Will free-will interfere in their decisions? Will all of them act
    for the Greater Good of Mann?




    Quote Originally Posted by Cynnara View Post
    Glad it helps, Sylvie! Don't forget to share your cover blurb if you want!
  9. Cynnara's Avatar
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    #9

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    Nice, Sylvie. Great job so far. Can you add more of what they might face in these trials? Why is time running out? What brought them to this point of being the representatives of Mann?
  10. #10

    Default

    Okay, so for the Star Trek Movie trailer, it starts out with a car speeding along a dusty road chased by a cop. The car stops at the edge of a cliff at the very last second, and a kid named James T. Kirk jumps out. He nearly dies but is able to pull himself up off the precipice.

    Then the next scene is a voice-over with a guy saying, "you've always had a hard time finding your place in this world, haven't you? You can settle for less than an ordinary life but do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special?" Then it shows an older Kirk staring at a starship.

    (So from that I gather this is a hero's journey type set-up where Kirk is being the choice to go get the goblet of fire or whatever and he has to choose to accept the mission.)

    Then the trailer cuts to Spock. The voice over says "you will always be a child of two worlds and fully capable of deciding your own destiny. The question you face is, which path will you choose?"

    (That seems pretty straightforward, eh?)

    Then it shows Kirk and Spock together.

    (So now we know their journey takes place with each other.)

    Then that's followed by some action shoot-em-up shots and Kirk asking "are you afraid or aren't you?" - I assume he's asking Spock - and the two of them fight hand-to-hand.

    (So, that sets up a conflict between the two of them, right?)

    Then more action shots, weapons firing, gratuitous sex shots, lots of blowing stuff up and then the final shot of the comm badge.

    If we had to write this as a back cover blurb, what would it be? How would it go?

    James T. Kirk, a man seemingly bent on his own destruction is given a choice. A chance at a new life. A chance to be far more than he thought he could be.

    Across the galaxy another man, half-human, half-Vulcan, must decide which path his future will take. He can stay on Vulcan or he can join forces with the Federation and travel to the ends of the universe and back to find his destiny.

    When these two divided men first meet, fists fly and tempers flare. But they have little time to settle their personal battle, for a much more difficult battles awaits them - saving the entire universe.


    *** did that suck or what? Hee hee**** (can you tell that's my first one?)
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