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Would love some help with my back cover blurb
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:54 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55


I have two options for the back cover blurb of my novel, and am struggling to figure out which is strongest. So I thought I'd throw them both out there and let you pick your favorite.

Please let me know which, if any, grabs your attention.

Thanks so much

Annabelle


BLURB 1

Maxine has led a sheltered life in the shadow of her charismatic brother, Claude. Now, Claude is marrying Miss Perfect, and Maxine realizes that it’s time to shape up or get left behind. So, gathering the sort of courage normally reserved for jumping out of airplanes, Maxine packs her worldly belongings and moves…ten minutes down the road. Determined to conceal a lifelong struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, Maxine, embarrassingly and often hilariously, tries to turn her apartment into a home she will love. But her tenuous grip on reality sees her plunge into a crazy world of delusion and strange behavior.

 

Enter Sam, a smooth-talking charmer, with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and enough terminal diseases to wipe out a small village. Though she has more chance of leaving the house without double checking locks, than of ever seeing him naked, Maxine is smitten. As Sam’s life takes on the proportions of a Greek tragedy, others suspect foul play. But Maxine takes advice from no one, least of all her domineering parents who seem to torment her for sport. Evidence mounts until Maxine can no longer deny Sam’s sordid secrets and decides, in a reckless moment that will change her life, to take the law into her own hands.

BLURB 2

When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she fights for her sanity and her life.

 

Maxine’s brain is stuck. Everything around her feels wrong and the only way to fix it is to check, double-check, rearrange and count everything. What Maxine can’t fix though is her parents’ constant nagging over the absence of a husband. A humiliation that is further compounded when her younger brother runs off with Miss Perfect. Then she meets Sam, a smooth-talking charmer with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and enough terminal diseases to wipe out a small village. Maxine decides that Sam is her salvation, never mind that his life is more complex than a Greek tragedy, and others are urging her to get away from him. The problem is that Sam has Maxine under his spell. Will Maxine escape from Sam before it’s too late to save herself?



Michelle Mills
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 4:18 AM
Joined: 7/21/2011
Posts: 41


Hi Annabelle,

"Blurb 2" captures my interest the most, particularly the first line -- it's much more intense and succinct.

And just a couple of unsolicited comments

I found the second paragraph to be a little wordy, particularly when referencing Sam. Could this be condensed a little?

When you say "Maxine decides that Sam is her salvation" I wasn't clear when reading this if he was her salvation with respect to her parents nagging her to marry, or if it was strictly about her and some void she might be trying to fill.

Sounds like an interesting story -- I hope this helps! Good luck!

Michelle


Jay Greenstein
Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:25 PM
#1
• Now, Claude is marrying Miss Perfect, and Maxine realizes that it’s time to shape up or get left behind.

I’m lost here because you’ve not defined in what way she’s in his shadow, or why his getting married leaves her behind. You need to look at this from the seat of a reader who knows nothing but what the words mean to that reader, at any given point.

• So, gathering the sort of courage normally reserved for jumping out of airplanes, Maxine packs her worldly belongings and moves…ten minutes down the road

I wish I had better news, but the problem here cascades from the previous one because we don’t have context for her objective, or if she was living in the same house with her brother, or what her moving means to either of them. You’re dealing in facts, but without context facts are just words. Deal in objectives, and emotional issues, instead.

In general, this first version is more a mini-synopsis than a blurb, and as such is too tightly compressed to do its job.

#2

• When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she fights for her sanity and her life.

Good. But I’d change it to “she must fight for…” In general, synopsis and blurbs are in present tense.

• Maxine’s brain is stuck. Everything around her feels wrong and the only way to fix it is to check, double-check, rearrange and count everything.

Because you dwell on this, to this extent, it feels as if curing this is the primary problem and must be resolved, but the rest of this doesn’t follow.

• What Maxine can’t fix though is her parents’ constant nagging over the absence of a husband.

This is presented as an important plot point, rating its own line, but seems a weak point, since it’s an annoyance not a problem, unless it, in and of itself, causes her actions, and we don’t know if that’s true.

• Then she meets Sam, a smooth-talking charmer with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and enough terminal diseases to wipe out a small village.

Since this happens at the beginning of chapter one, this would seem to want to be the first thing mentioned here. As is is, though, it's too general a statement to have meaning. What does “weight of the world mean? To you, who knows the story it has meaning, but to a reader? And: in reality, only the disease that kills him is terminal. And, you give no hint of what will kill her. It could be his diseases, or a result of her OCD.

You opened with the story presented as a comedy—her moving out and having funny problems of her own making—but then change to what appears to be drama, with her life in danger from unknown sources. Remember, sociopath doesn’t imply murderer, only someone who lacks responsibility and a moral compass.

If you can focus on the important issues, like her and him, and the problems there, with everything else secondary, this would have a lot more impact.

Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Sunday, October 16, 2011 3:26 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55


Hi Jay
Thank you for your detailed response to my blurb. Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you, I have only just logged on here after some weeks away.
Anyway I just want to say that your viewpoint has been very helpful, especially when you said that I need to look at this from the seat of a reader. Well you are the reader and I will certainly make amendments taking all of this into account.
I'll report back when it's word perfect.
Again thanks
Annabelle
 

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