The Attack of the Blurb!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter! 🙂

Thank you for sharing your links and recommendations in my last post, definitely a great list of new books and authors to take a look at!

So, over the Easter break I thought a lot about writing (which I wasn’t supposed to be doing 😀 ), and thinking about what I need to do in order to prepare for self-publishing my books. One of the things I realised I could go on and get ready were the blurbs for my books.

Easier said than done! 😀

Looking around and doing some research on what others have written for their books I realised there are lots of different approaches, as there are with all things writing related. Some people recommend not using questions in the blurb as it can make it sound as though the writer might not know the answer themselves, for example:

Kate and Jack have a difficult journey ahead. What will they face? Will they take on these dangers together- or fall apart?

Not great, but you get the idea 😀

Others say you should use questions, as it gets the reader intrigued.

In general though, a blurb has to be a short, snappy introduction to your book that hooks the reader’s interest. I think of it as the cover should entice the reader to look at the book (I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but everyone does!), and the blurb should be the thing that makes them want to read it.

Some of the best advice I found was to write a summary of your story, including everything: characters, plot and even the ending. Then pick out all the most interesting and important bits, condense it and fit it into a blurb, like they do for movie trailers.

Again, easier said than done.

Another tip I found was to think about the layout of the blurb, a chunk of text might not be as appealing as lines that are split and easy to read (much like the advice given for writing a blog post).

But as I’ve been trying to come up with a great blurb, I realised I need to think of it not as a writer but as a reader. What would get me interested in a book?

I need to know certain things if I am going to consider buying a book:

– Genre and tone
– An idea of the plot- What is going to be going on throughout the story?
– Main characters

If I pick up a book and the tone of the blurb makes it sound like a fantasy, but it turns out to be contemporary I’m going to be disappointed, even if it’s a great book. That’s not a good way to build up a good relationship with a reader.

Now I’m trying to go back over all the books I have bought and see what it was about those blurbs that got me interested in them.

I recommend checking out this article-How to Write an Effective Blurb. I found it had some great advice, and I will definitely be following some of the points she has talked about.

So, in summary, a blurb needs to be short, set the tone of the book, give an idea of the plot and characters, all whilst engaging the reader’s interest enough to purchase and read the book. Wow, not too much to ask then!

What is it in a blurb that makes you buy a book? How do you go about writing a blurb for your own work? Do you have any advice or tips?

Progress Report

Status of Third Manuscript: 2 out of 3 copies back from readers.

April E-Book Review: Book read. Review ready.

Advertisements

Quiet, please…

'Quiet' by elycefeliz on Flickr

‘Quiet’ by elycefeliz on Flickr

On Tuesday when I posted my Romance Weekly post, I had to ask my readers not to read that post at all.

Why? I hear you ask. Well, I shall tell you 😀

I hold back any details I possibly can about my stories and books from my readers and people in general whilst writing. I do this because I find it helps motivate me to keep going, because I have that constant excitement about what they will think of the book, and can’t wait to talk to them about it when it’s done.

It keeps me writing.

By the time they have read the book, I’m about ready to burst with the need to discuss it! But, for me, it’s the best decision. I think if I talked about the book whilst writing, I might lose interest in actually getting it down onto paper because I’d already talked it into the ground (which I can do, trust me, I can chat for hours!).

Also, I find that if I give my readers no knowledge at all about the book, then the editing and comments are better for it. If I told them what the book was about, or details on it, then they might understand things in the book due to prior knowledge, where as those scenes might appear complicated to another reader who doesn’t have that prior knowledge.

Though I do have to admit, I talk to my dog about the story and use her as a platform for talking problems out. She’s a good listener, sometimes, when she’s in the mood!

So, if you ever wondered why I am so tight-lipped on the subject of my books whilst writing them, that’s why 😀

What keeps you motivated to write your story until the very end? Do you like to discuss your books whilst writing them?

Progress Report

Status of Third Manuscript: With my readers. 1 out of 3 copies back.

April E-Book Review: Book read. Review ready.

Once More with Feeling

When I read books, in any genre, I do like it when the writing feels in tune with the story.

I’ve read quite a few Regency romances and I like when they feel almost like they could have been written in Regency times. Not just the dialogue, but the whole feel of the writing in general.

Or fantasy books, the writing flows as though the story could have been written in a different world.

Am I making any sense? 🙂

I like this ‘feel of the story’ when I read, so I try to do it when I write. My first story, Stolen, is set in a modern time so I write pretty much without any difference. My second novella, The Queen’s Jester, is a whole different story. It is set in a fantasy, medieval-based kingdom, so I tried to tailor my writing to suit that. I wanted the writing to feel rich and sumptuous to suit the setting of castles, gowns and crowns.

To achieve that feel I used more descriptions, and I used words that had deep, more elegant flow. I didn’t overpower the book with fancy stuff, but I wanted that feel in there. Along with the fact I used things like, ‘cannot’ instead of ‘can’t’ and ‘will not’ instead of ‘won’t’ etc. I didn’t do this to inflate word count, I did it on purpose, so as the story felt it could have been written in times where they just didn’t use language in that way.

Now, compare that to my the book I am currently working on, and it’s a big shift again. It’s set in a time period where the rich lived well, and the poor did not and unlike my main character in The Queen’s Jester, my lead in this book isn’t one of the privileged. So, the tone of this book is harsher to give the feel of the character’s struggles and what they are going through. I used less rich description, harder words, and also my sentence structure changed to give the feel of an old-timey kind of reading.

I don’t want to overpower the story and distract from the writing, but it’s definitely there in my books.

I probably overthink these things too much 😀 It most likely has no affect on the reader at all, as long as the story is good and the characters are compelling. But to me it matters, so I put it in my writing so at least I know it’s there, and that’s what I wanted as a writer.

Is there anything you do as a writer like this? Do you notice when books are written in different styles for different genres? Am I just overthinking it all? 😀

Progress Report

Status of Third Manuscript: Sent to my readers!

April E-Book Review: Book chosen.

March Round up and Plan for April 2014

Wow, March is over? Where did that go?

Let’s have a look and see how March went:

– I posted every scheduled day (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).
– I joined the Romance Weekly blog hop.
– I started my third novella! Albeit a week late…
– Finished editing my second novella, The Queen’s Jester, and posted the first snippet of my writing on the blog.
– I had a reading frenzy (for me, anyways) and finished 4 books
.

It was a busy month, felt a bit frantic at times! Hopefully April will bring with it the real start of Spring 🙂

And speaking of April, I better try and set some goals for the month:

3rd April-
Finish first draft of third novella.

4th-6th- Edit manuscript and send to proof-readers.

7th-19th-
Research publishing on Amazon and other e-retailers/Produce covers for all 3 books/Write blurbs/Get an author page set up on Amazon, Goodreads, etc/Get advice on publishing.

18th-21st- Enjoy Easter 😀

22nd- 24th- Finish edits and format books.

30th April– April E-Book Review

End of April- PUBLISH MY BOOKS!

An exciting month, yes, this is the month I am actually going to publish my novellas… hopefully. If everything goes smoothly. Exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time!

I’m not sure on the exact date yet of release, but I will set one and let everyone know just in case anyone is interested!

Have you got any goals for April? Did you meet your goals for March? Do you think we will eventually get Spring?

Progress Report:

Word Count: 3416 (44,481 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

How you doin’? *eyebrow wiggle*

Attraction. We all feel it towards another. Mine is usually most keenly felt towards most of the cast of The Hobbit, and Bryan Greenberg because, well, they’re hot 😀

But more to the point, I’m thinking of that first moment of attraction, when characters meet and there is that first flush of liking the other due to physical looks.

I’m not a fan of instant-love, but I do like to be realistic, and let’s be honest, when someone is sexy, they’re sexy. You’re gonna notice!

But writing romance has made me realise the different levels and types of attraction that we can feel. I mean on the one hand there is the slight attraction, where you like the other person but not hugely but it’s nice to look at them or be around them. Then, there is the other end of the scale, where your body reacts without permission and you find yourself giggling manically at every word and blushing profusely if they even glance in your direction!

Having characters attracted to each other is great, but I do like the relationships in my books to feel real to the character. One female lead might react one way to finding a man (or woman) attractive, where as another one of my leads might act in a completely different way.

For example, my character in my current novella is in a bit of an awkward situation; her position means she can’t outwardly show that she likes the love interest, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel it. On first meeting, she can’t help but be drawn to this guy who is attractive and unlike any other man she’s met. In a real life situation, I’m figuring that her strong attraction and her want to show it is exactly what would happen, especially if she’s looking for a distraction from events that have already occurred.

It is a historical piece I am writing, and that also makes a difference due to social rules, etc. I mean a woman in Regency times would show her attraction in different ways to someone in, say, Medieval times.

So, it’s a careful balancing act of moving the romance forwards whilst also staying true to character, the events and the time it’s set, but showing the attraction between characters can create some great scenes and that just keep me writing until I’m completely drained with the amount of thudding hearts, butterfly-filled stomachs and fluttering of eyelashes 😀

Do you enjoy writing about the first attraction between characters? Do you like the first meeting? How do you get around showing attraction whilst also keeping to character?

Also, thanks to Catherine, Caffeinated and her incredible post and blog, I have managed to add a contact page under my header, should you ever need it. I figured it’s easier than the sidebar.

Progress Report

Word Count: 7228 (33,345 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

Match E-Book Review: 100% read. Review written.

Is that tip-tip-tapping of a keyboard I hear?

Even after my proud post where I proclaimed how happy I was to fill an entire notebook, I have succumbed to typing.

Instead of handwriting my next novella, I will be using the modern way and typing it out directly, at least for now. This is due to the fact I was a week late into my schedule when I managed to start it, but also I have written over 20,000 words and am barely a third of the way through.

Yeah, this one is a bit bigger than my others.

And although I am mostly meeting my daily word count goal of 2500, it’s not enough. I need to get out more in order to meet my deadline, and typing allows me to do this.

Yet, even though I am typing and talking about the speed of my work, I don’t want this book to be of lower quality just because I am getting it out quicker.

I may type quick, but what use is that to me if people don’t enjoy my stories for the quality of what is written?

When I handwrite, I usually type up what I wrote the next day to help refresh me on what I wrote but also I edit as I go; I add more detail, find better ways of explaining things, fix sentence structure, check facts, etc, as I type it up. So when I complete my first draft, it has actually undergone one edit already.

So, in order to keep this up, I am planning on typing out my scenes and then the next day, reading over them and editing them, to mimic the process of what I’d normally do to my handwritten stuff. That way, I know that I am still going to be putting down a better first draft then what I normally can when typing.

I mean, obviously, the draft goes through a zillion edits before it’s finished anyway, so I shouldn‘t really worry. But, doing it this way with editing my typed stuff the next day, I can still keep that process whilst also getting out a bigger word count (hopefully) and still meeting my deadline!

Have you ever realised your book is going to be longer than planned? Do you manage to keep to your deadlines?

Progress Report

Word Count: 3098 (26,117 total word count).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-Book Review: 100% read.

One down…

I filled an entire notebook. It was a pretty chunky one too.

notebook

Now I know many of you are probably glancing to your piles of filled notebooks from over the years and thinking, ‘um, ok?’, but to me this is kind of a big deal.

I love stationary, new notebooks, pens etc. So I tend to start new notebooks a lot, never actually finishing them. To fill one completely was rather a nice accomplishment for me. Not just the fact I stuck with one notebook all the way to the end, but also flicking back through it and seeing how much I wrote (it contains practically all of my hand-written first drafts of my first and second novellas) and all the ideas, research and dialogue that I’ve gathered in it. It’s all a bit of a crazy mess, but I can understand it at least… most of the time!

I have to keep the notebook near me, as it does contain lots of reference and things I need for my current novella, and once I finish that it has lots about self-publishing I’ve gathered over a few months, and even starts to the plan for my fourth novella. So, even though I’ve finished it, it’s still going to be carried around everywhere I go 😀

Even though it’s a good thing and I feel really happy about it, it’s kind of a bad thing too.

This notebook had the perfect paper for me to write on.

I just haven’t found another notebook with paper so nice. My pen and that notebook paper just flowed so nicely. And I can’t exactly wander into my local stationary shop, opening notebooks and trying out my pen on their stock (as much as I wish I could 😀 ).

For now I am using a notebook I had to hand, with not so nice paper, but it means I can still write! I wasn’t actually prepared for finishing my notebook, apparently I just thought it would go on forever, so hadn’t planned and bought a new notebook ready.

Even with the loss of my nice paper, I still feel a real sense of accomplishment at filling my notebook and seeing how much I’ve written. It reminded me that I should take pride in the small things like this, it’s not just the big things I should feel great about, why shouldn’t I be happy at the littler things I do?

So, don’t forget to take a step back sometimes, and be proud of even the small things you accomplish 🙂

What small (or big) things have you accomplished lately? Do you have a favourite notebook? Do you keep a notebook at all?

Progress Report

Word Count: 2905 (20,749 total).

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-Book: 100% read. Writing review.