Let’s Talk Summaries/Blurbs

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  • #104508
    Sink
    @sarah-inkdragon

    I’ve finally gotten around to making a short blurb for my Science Fiction novel tentatively named Kairos, and I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions on it.

    1.) What type of story does it initially strike you as?

    2.) What are your first impressions of the plot that you see in the blurb?

    3.) Does it sound interesting?

    4.) How’s the prose?

    And now, le blurb:

    Life on Earth has never been better for a Truthseeker. Sickness and sin have been conquered, world-wide aid stations started and a new surge of revival has awakened. All chaos and war has come to an end, truth – real truth – has been accepted in all four corners of the globe.

    For Reuel and his small group of friends, everything their parents fought for has finally come true and they can live in peace. Suddenly, their lives are thrown back into chaos when the leader of a powerful government – and their close ally – is assassinated, and a tremendous fear creeps up upon the people of a regression back into darkness and war. Reuel, in an attempt to save everything his parents fought and died for, makes one final vow – to put an end to this evil, before it ends them all. 

    And if anyone can tell me who Reuel’s named after(you should have two answers) you get extra points. 😉

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Sink.

    *vader vibes*

    #104524
    valtmy
    @valtmy

      @sarah-inkdragon

      I think it’s not bad. You’ve got the situation and problem of the main plot there but I would recommend providing more details and context to give more clarity as to the type of story this is and catch the reader’s interest.

      From the blurb, it seems to be an adventure story. I would not have known that it is a sci-fi because to me it could have easily been a fantasy etc. As a casual reader I would not understand from the context what a “Truthseeker” is at all (someone with special powers?). You may want to consider using your blurb to bring your readers into the time and place of your setting. Including some science fiction terms to set the mood and evoke an advanced, futuristic atmosphere will excite sci-fi fans and help them find your story.

      The story sounds like it has a standard save-the-world plot. I think you can make it more engaging by making your plot and characters sound more interesting. Regarding the plot, instead of just introducing the grand-scale conflict, perhaps hinting at a possible twist (Maybe Reuel will learn that the peace is a false peace? Maybe Reuel is at risk of going too far?), a powerful antagonistic force (so far the problem seems to only be one assassin and a fragile global power structure) and/or a more personal conflict may also make things more compelling.

      “Reuel and his small group of friends” is also not a very exciting way to introduce your main characters. What kind of people are they? Aid workers? Reformed teen gang members? Orphans that grew up together?

      #104578
      Chelsea R.H.
      @seekjustice

      @sarah-inkdragon

      It strikes me as sci-fi with heavy dystopian themes. I haven’t read Scythe by Neal Shusterman, but the blurbs sound similar.

      It does sound interesting, though I think the prose could be tightened in a few areas, as it reads a bit ramblingly. Some bits “truth – real truth – has been accepted in all four corners of the globe.” I think “real truth” could be removed since it’s unnecessary and very vague.

      “Suddenly, their lives are thrown back into chaos when the leader of a powerful government – and their close ally – is assassinated, and a tremendous fear creeps up upon the people of a regression back into darkness and war.” This is also long and mostly unnecessary. Maybe you could try something like “But the assassination of a powerful politician throws Reuel into chaos…and threatens to flood the world with darkness and war”.

      Other than that, I think it’s pretty good. @valtmy also made some good points 🙂

      (Just guessing…John Ronald Reuel??)

      Mahalo keia huiʻana

      #104590
      Sink
      @sarah-inkdragon

      @valtmy @seekjustice

      Your feedback is actually pretty good, for the purpose of this book. I won’t give many hints… but it’s essentially supposed to seem like a more generic Sci-Fi novel when it’s really not. I do want it to still sound more unique and interesting to draw people in – but then the reason for it being unique or interesting should change to be other things.

      It’s pretty much a mystery/thriller in a Science Fiction setting. I do want the first impressions to make it seem a little generic – because that’s kind of the point of the novel. But at the same time, it needs to sound interesting enough to get people to pick it up and read, if you get my meaning.

      Any tips on how to keep in generic-enough sounding, but still interesting enough to read? And thank you for the tips on the prose.

      (Also, I’ll give you a hind – Reuel is the “alternate” name of a Biblical figure and also John Ronald Reuel, yes. 😉 )

      • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Sink.

      *vader vibes*

      #104593
      Chelsea R.H.
      @seekjustice

      @sarah-inkdragon

      Jethro, Moses’s father in law, according to Google 😉

      and also John Ronald Reuel, yes.   )

      I just guessed because I once named a character Reuel after Tolkien.

      As for how to make it sound generic but also interesting… I’m not really sure without employing satire 😀

      Mahalo keia huiʻana

      #104595
      Sink
      @sarah-inkdragon

      @seekjustice

      I’m going for a sort of…. 1984/Fahrenheit 451/Inception tone. It’s hard to explain. I want the audience to have clues of what’s going on, but think the exact opposite of what’s really going on until I finally reveal what’s really going on. That’s why “real truth”(or, the genuine belief by the characters that it is real truth) is so important(and why I added it). The characters are part of the key of misleading the audience – they themselves genuinely believe in The Lie and will do anything to save The Lie, no matter what it takes. It’s sort of like taking a standard Dystopian/Sci-Fi in which the good guys win and save the world and everything is “made right” and flipping it on it’s head by having the characters not be the good guys – but the children of the “bad guys”. The genuine belief of the characters(and hopefully the audience) that what they’re doing is right is a driving part of the story, and the blurb has to show that belief – but also add small loopholes in it so that once the story is over, you can look back and see the clues. They can’t be obvious though.

      Satire will be used somewhat, but not except in a broad term of irony in regards to themes and certain paradoxes.

      So yeah… it’s hard to explain. I want it to be interesting, but vague. It has to sound peaceful, but not too peaceful. It has to sound like this is the right way for the world to go – even the “God-ordained” way, when it’s truly never been farther. But the audience can’t realize that till later in, so I need to make sure not to give it away(or it’ll ruin the novel).

      Blurbs are difficult. XD

      *vader vibes*

      #104596
      Chelsea R.H.
      @seekjustice

      @sarah-inkdragon

      Hmmmm… it’s difficult. I just had a look at the Fahrenheit 451 blurb and it seems to rely on the fact that the audience already somewhat knows what’s going.

      Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

      Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

      When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known

      I’m not entirely sure how to make the words for your blurb work the way they need to. I think if they’re too vague, then the audience that just enjoys fun action stories are going to read it and maybe not enjoy it and the the people that want deep sci-fi are probably going to avoid it…

      Of course you know your book better than I do, so I’m not sure how useful I’m being here 😛

      Mahalo keia huiʻana

      #104610
      valtmy
      @valtmy

        @sarah-inkdragon

        Ooh your story reminds me of one of my favourite shows, Psycho-Pass, which is a little similar in premise (a science-fiction psychological thriller featuring a seemingly perfect society with the main characters being the defenders of the status quo). I’ll just put the synopsis here for reference in case it is useful. From what I see it doesn’t really try to hide that there is a lurking darkness beneath the facade of a perfect world.

        Justice, and the enforcement of it, has changed. In the 22nd century, Japan enforces the Sibyl System, an objective means of determining the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent, known as their Psycho-Pass. Inspectors uphold the law by subjugating, often with lethal force, anyone harboring the slightest ill-will; alongside them are Enforcers, jaded Inspectors that have become latent criminals, granted relative freedom in exchange for carrying out the Inspectors’ dirty work.

        Into this world steps Akane Tsunemori, a young woman with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works alongside veteran Enforcer Shinya Kougami, she soon learns that the Sibyl System’s judgments are not as perfect as her fellow Inspectors assume. With everything she has known turned on its head, Akane wrestles with the question of what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt.

        I agree with what @seekjustice said. You’re going to have to walk a fine line to lure in your readers without giving too much away or misleading them.

        However I am not sure whether the “twist” can really be something your readers won’t see coming in the first 25% of the novel (which I think is the amount that is safe to spoil in the blurb). This is because if there is anything that I learnt from reading the genre it is (1) any world/society said to be perfect isn’t and; (2) anyone against the rebellion’s side (which your main characters seem to be) is bad. Maybe it might work if you’re trying to market it as a cliche YA dystopian novel, but I am not too sure about traditional dystopia (the main characters actually being on the “bad” side sounds vaguely traditionally dystopian to me).

        Nevertheless, I think the Psycho-Pass synopsis can give a few more takeaways which you may want to consider for your blurb:

        #1: Introduce your main characters. Maybe you can inject a bit more of your main character’s personality and showcase their motivations since that’s the driving force. I’m sure you can write better than this but just to give an example:

        Reuel is the son of heroes – martyrs that died to bring Earth into this era of peace. So when a powerful politician is assassinated, threatening to take the world back to the brink of darkness and war, only one response is fitting: put an end to this evil, before it ends them all.

        #2: Touch a bit more on the thematic conflict. One of the key themes in Psycho-Pass is justice, so that is mentioned a lot in the synopsis. I understand that “truth” and “real truth” are important concepts in your story but they sound very vague.

        #3: Since it is a sci-fi, explain a little what makes your story world more futuristic and different from ours. For Psycho-Pass, there is the Sibyl System mentioned in the synopsis which is an important part of the story as it is basically a supercomputer that micromanages almost every aspect of the characters’ lives so as to achieve maximal happiness. For your story, I cannot really tell from the blurb what is different, except for the “real truth” bit (which again is vague). Is there some sort of brainwashing going on to force people to accept “real truth”?

        Hope this helps.

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