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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Blurb for The Shaman's Curse

   
Author Topic: Blurb for The Shaman's Curse
Meredith
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I'm really no good at blurbs, so I need all the help I can get. [Frown]

Third Try:
quote:
Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream. She’d better be.

Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t allow him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know--or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.

Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.

Second Attempt:
quote:
Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. As the shaman’s attempts to crush Vatar grow more dangerous, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream.

But, if she’s real, then things could get even worse for Vatar. This isn’t the accepted magic acquired during the initiation into one of the clans of Vatar’s semi-nomadic plains tribe. It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities is something else entirely. Unlike their own, Vatar’s people consider the city magic evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar.

The two kinds of magic have always been completely separate. Until now.

First Version:
quote:
The two different kinds of magic have always been completely separate. Until now.

Magical Talent is passed down in certain closely guarded bloodlines among the ruling class in the coastal cities. They know nothing of the other form of magic acquired by initiation into one of the clans of the semi-nomadic people of the plains. The city magic is no secret to the plains tribe, who fear it.

At every turn, Vatar is threatened by the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the accidental death of the shaman’s only son. In the midst of this, Vatar must cope with unexpected magic that could turn most of the tribe against him, if they knew. Oh, and the chance that the girl of his daydreams isn’t just a dream after all.

Ready; set; rip, tear, shred. [Smile]

[ June 05, 2014, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: Meredith ]

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jerich100
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Why is "Talent" in the second paragraph capitalized? Should "plains tribe" be changed to "plains tribes" because "clans" is plural? Hmm, it doesn’t sound right either way. Someone smarter than I should handle this.

"At every turn" seems "tellish", or even perhaps clichéd or corny. A blurb is short, but "at every turn" is really short. Is “vengeful” redundant since his/her vengefulness is explained. I recommend deleting “In the midst of this” and “unexpected” since both are understood.

Does the last sentence have the intended addition, “Oh, [He must also copy with] the chance that...” If so, then could that be made clearer? The “Oh” part kinda sticks out in an awkward way.

Overall, can something more meaty be put in? Anything. Something more dangerous or story-specific so that it isn’t all entirely a “come-on”, but provide a little? It’s like there’s an “almost hook” there but not quite.

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jerich100
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I meant, "cope" not "copy". In addition, is it possible for everyone in the city to know “nothing” about the magic in the plains? Aren't people in a city supposed to be informed and educated? Without a good reason such as complete inaccessibility, force fields, or some other fantastical reason, there should be at least some knowledge. Are there other cities? Do people go from one city to another? If so, there ought to be some interaction between city folks and the people in between.

I don't mean to comment on the storyline. I shouldn't be doing that. I'm only imagining what the potential reader might be thinking.

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shimiqua
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I think it reads fine. I see the world of the story, and the stakes. I'm not getting a reason to care about Vatar, I see he's in trouble, but it seems like the reason to care is tacked on at the end. In fact it seems to me that this blurb is backwards.

Start with the daydream, and then realize that the girl is real. Then step back to show that Vatar is in trouble because his magic is weird, and then back into the world building, and then end with, Magic has always been separate. Until now.

Hooked. Start with the reason to care. Start with what makes Vatar likable.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by jerich100:
I meant, "cope" not "copy". In addition, is it possible for everyone in the city to know “nothing” about the magic in the plains? Aren't people in a city supposed to be informed and educated? Without a good reason such as complete inaccessibility, force fields, or some other fantastical reason, there should be at least some knowledge. Are there other cities? Do people go from one city to another? If so, there ought to be some interaction between city folks and the people in between.

I don't mean to comment on the storyline. I shouldn't be doing that. I'm only imagining what the potential reader might be thinking.

The plains people don't talk about it outside their clans. (BTW, a tribe in the anthropological sense is often a collection of clans. Look up the tribes of the Iroquois--Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca.)

The city dwellers mostly go from one city to another by sea (coastal cities). They only have limited interaction with the plains tribe for trading. And, frankly, they consider them barbarians and aren't very interested in their culture. (In some ways, the plains tribes are more advanced, but that won't come into play until book 3. [Smile] )

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Meredith
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Shimiqua, as usual, I think you've nailed it. [Smile]

I'll rework it and post the revision. Maybe not until tomorrow.

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Meredith
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Newer version above.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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"It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities is something else entirely."

Do you need an "and" (or a "which") between "cities" and "is" or something else to make this sentence read more clearly?

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
"It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities is something else entirely."

Do you need an "and" (or a "which") between "cities" and "is" or something else to make this sentence read more clearly?

Thanks. Probably should be broken into two sentences.

"It's more like . . . " and "That's something else . . . "

Probably shouldn't try to do this in a rush. [Wink]

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jerich100
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Wow. The second attempt is like a billion times better. Are we allowed to hyperbolize on this site? I thought you said you weren't good at blurbs.

In the last sentence, I'd delete "completely", because I believe "separate" already implies "completely." The word "separate" is a tough word and doesn't need any help. Plus you also have the word "always", so you don't want to steal too much attention from the word that counts, which is "separate".

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extrinsic
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Other than a few unnecessary words--"then" and "suddenly"--in the pitch blurb for The Bard's GIft at Smashwords, the pitch works for me because it centers on a central and antagonizing event; that is, Astrid's emergent story-telling gift, blessing and curse, part prescient and part persuasive for her people's common good.

I don't see that appeal from this blurb pitch. This one to me summarizes and explains the action directly and in such a way that most of the novel is covered and outcomes otherwise telegraphed, though I don't know what actually the novel is about from the blurb enough to have my interest piqued by the blurb. Vatar's action to me presents as external and superficial depth, where I project his real action is negotiating a nemesis's complications and his crisis of meeting magics as related social crises: he will or won't use both magics for his crises satisfaction. He either self-sacrificingly works for or selfishly against his community's common good in satisfying the crises the Shaman presents.

The events of circumstance appear to be foremost and foreground the Shaman's curse upon Vatar and a background meeting of city and rural magics, and a love interest wedged in. I feel the event to emphasize for the blurb is the Shaman's curse's complications for Vatar as though immediate and now, scene-like reality imitation, in other words, an event portrayal in the moment, place, and situation of a curse's complicating problem rather than in summary fashion. As the The Bard's Gift blurb does so much more appealingly and, therefore, piques my interest.

[ June 04, 2014, 10:53 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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shimiqua
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I definitely like 2 better, but this is too clunky.

This isn’t the accepted magic acquired during the initiation into one of the clans of Vatar’s semi-nomadic plains tribe. It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities is something else entirely.

I'd suggest

This isn’t the accepted magic of Vatar’s tribe. It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities.

Okay, I'm playing with the whole thing. I think structurally this is definitely the right track.

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. gorgeous. Reason to care. High stakes. Just perfection As the shaman’s attempts to crush Vatar grow more dangerous, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. this sentence though seems weird. Maybe show specifics. After survivng x,y, and z, Vatar's only comfort are his daydreams. He knows the adjective girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream.

But, if she’s real, then things could get even worse for Vatar. why? is it a prophecy, or a vision? Say so.This isn’t the accepted magic acquired during the initiation into one of the clans of Vatar’s semi-nomadic plains tribe. It’s more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities is something else entirely. at the very least ditch the last four words Unlike their own, Vatar’s people consider the city magic evil. What does Vatar think? Can you show Vatar's opinion of magic? That speaks of inner turmoil. But this sentence could be reworded to show voice. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar.

The two kinds of magic have always been completely separate. perhaps carefully separated? Until now.

[ June 05, 2014, 09:51 AM: Message edited by: shimiqua ]

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Meredith
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Third attempt at the top. Thanks everyone.
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shimiqua
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I really like version 3.
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