Erebus - The Blurb

ralphkern

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It's time for me to start nailing down the blurb for Erebus. As there is a substantial mystery component to it, it's quite tricky to give too much away without giving spoilers so a lot of what has to go into it is more thematic than actual facts, but give enough for a potential reader to ascertain whether the story is for them.

Hopefully I can line up some recognizable names for some quotes which will help support a blurb.

Here are three ideas that I've drafted up:


“You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know. Get us back and don’t mess around. The clock is ticking.”


It’s the year 2183.


The worlds of the solar system have been tamed and humanity is taking its first tentative steps to the stars.


It’s an era of peace, prosperity and wonder – For most.


Yet there are places, long left abandoned to their own devices where atrocities still occur.


Inspector Layton Trent of The Hague is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs that shatters the peace and security of Sol.


Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed in a seeming terrorist attack.


A team is hastily assembled with one goal – Pursue those responsible and bring them to justice.


And so begins a hunt across space and time that will take Trent from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of the Jupiter Alliance. From the heart of civilization to the frontiers of human space and far beyond.


And what they discover out there, amidst the ancient relics of the ancient alien races known as the Sleeping Gods, will change humanities place in the universe forever.


This one gives quite a lot away, but I think also tantalizes the most with what a reader is going to get. The final passage is a hell of a giveaway, but then the clue is in the subtitle - Erebus: A Sleeping Gods Novel.

“Trent,” Tasker gave a bitter laugh. “You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know. Get us back and don’t mess around. The clock is ticking.”


It’s the year 2183.


The worlds of the Solar System have been tamed and humanity has taken the first steps to the stars.


Yet in places long since left to their own devices – atrocities still occur.


Inspector Layton Trent of the Hague War Crimes division is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs that rocks the people of Sol. Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed, hundreds are dead and the only thing that is known for sure is it was no accident.


A task force is assembled and sent to Jupiter with one mission – find who is responsible and bring them to justice.


And so begins a hunt that will cross space and time. From the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of Jupiter and far beyond.


And what they find, out past the frontiers of explored space will change humanities place in the universe forever.


A bit shorter version of the above

"They sent us to find out what happened. We’ve seen things; the beauty of space, how cold it can be and how near death we all are. Where we’ve found ourselves, so far from home and knowing what we know, well, it makes us question everything."

It is a golden age. The far flung worlds of the Solar System have been tamed and the nearest stars are being explored, For most, life is perfect. Humanity is close to realizing its true potential.

Yet one event shatters this idyllic future Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed and hundreds of people are dead. Whether an act of war, terror or simple madness, those responsible must be called to account. A team is hastily assembled with one goal - Find who did it and bring them to justice.

The hunt will take them on a journey from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space stations of Jupiter and far beyond.

And what they discover out there, will change everything.

Erebus. The sequel to Endeavour and the continuation of the Sleeping Gods story.


And this an old version.

Thoughts?
 

Michael M

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It is certainly an interesting premise. My preference is the second version.

A few points. I do not believe that you need to begin the last few sentences with "And." They are not necessary. "So begins a hunt ..." "What they find, out past ..." Also, you need a comma after space in the final sentence and it should be "humanity's place ..." Sorry, I do not want to appear awkward, but I just cannot help myself tidying other people's text.

This is a good concise introduction to the novel.

Good luck
 

tinkerdan

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I like the brevity of the last version; but would like to see it start with the first sentences from the first.

Then turn the dialogue like paragraph starting with They sent into something more narrative-if that makes sense; but overall I like all three of these so that dampens my opinions.
 

Loren

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Missing comma:

Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed...

Should be: Io, a moon of Jupiter, is destroyed...

 

thaddeus6th

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humanity's place, not humanities place.

Full stop after 'explored'. [I'd also axe the quote paragraph ahead of that, personally].

After 'future', full stop. 'Hundreds' seems a low number of an exploding moon. It may fit the world [well, solar system] as it's developing, but that makes it seem comparable in death toll to the Paris attacks or the Madrid train bombing.

Whether an act of war, terror or simple madness - maybe change to 'Whoever is responsible must be brought to justice'? Style point rather than an error.

'on a journey' - axe

'discover out there' - could axe 'out there'

'Sleeping Gods story' - may prefer a different word to 'story', which can mean anything from one book, to part of one book, to a series. I'd just call it a series. If you're writing more loosely connected books that occur in the same universe that's a bit trickier (tales or chronicles work, but they might seem a bit more fantasy than sci-fi).

As with others, I prefer the second version.
 

Brian G Turner

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If we use the forumla of trying to focus on a protagonist, their goal, and antagonist, then removing the sections in red from the first might bring it closer to that:


“You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know. Get us back and don’t mess around. The clock is ticking.”

It’s the year 2183.


The worlds of the solar system have been tamed and humanity is taking its first tentative steps to the stars.


It’s an era of peace, prosperity and wonder – For most.


Yet there are places, long left abandoned to their own devices where atrocities still occur.



Inspector Layton Trent of The Hague is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs that shatters the peace and security of Sol.


Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed in a seeming terrorist attack.


A team is hastily assembled with one goal – Pursue those responsible and bring them to justice.


And so begins a hunt across space and time that will take Trent from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of the Jupiter Alliance. From the heart of civilization to the frontiers of human space and far beyond.


And what they discover out there, amidst the ancient relics of the ancient alien races known as the Sleeping Gods, will change humanities place in the universe forever.

EDIT: However, I'm struggling to see an antagonist in this. Perhaps the mystery needs pushing forward as that.
 
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Jo Zebedee

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Version 2 for me, too, but this

“Trent,” Tasker gave a bitter laugh.
needs to be "Trent." Tasker gave a bitter laugh.

I'm easy going about dialogue tags, by and large, but I can't see how a bitter laugh can be one. The other nits people got above.

On another note, I'm not sure any of them fully engaged me - although I liked the end it brought me too. I think I needed more immediacy in the situation.
 

ratsy

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I liked the second one best but I think starting with Trent's part makes the most sense maybe. Brings the immediacy Jo's talking about to it. You would have to add a bit more maybe but this is it without the first two lines and I also removed the two 'And' s from the start of the last two sentences.

Inspector Layton Trent of the Hague War Crimes division is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs that rocks the people of Sol. Io, a moon of Jupiter is destroyed, hundreds are dead and the only thing that is known for sure is it was no accident.


A task force is assembled and sent to Jupiter with one mission – find who is responsible and bring them to justice.


So begins a hunt that will cross space and time. From the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of Jupiter and far beyond.


What they find, out past the frontiers of explored space, will change humanity's place in the universe forever.
 

ralphkern

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Thanks chaps. Should have said, I'm still looking for style crits at this stage rather than technical ones as this is still very fluid, but cheers for what you've picked up. Once the general gist is nailed down, that can be addressed.

Thematically it is tricky, I want to cater to the hard SF fans but also this is actually far more character driven than Endeavour. While I'm no Star Trek fan, if Endeavour was the slower, more considered Motion Picture, this one is the Wrath of Khan. More action, more getting to know the prots and ants but still very much the same universe.

I've decided against adding the quote from version three at the start because it's not in the book anymore. It'd just be there for the blurb.

Brian: Adding the antagonist is tricky as there are red herrings in the book - even having it as him or her would not help. (although in the super concise version I have shown sex) I've kept it to enemy in main idea but given a bit more info.

Thad: Good point on the last line, altered it. Hundreds rather than thousands is accounted for in the book but added a bit to that.

Here's an adaption. I've rephrased some of it to emphasize the MC's involvement. I'm not a huge fan of calling it 'his team' as he's a member rather than the leader but it does feel clunky to jam that into the blurb and forgivable as he takes increasing responsibility throughout the book.


“You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.”

Humanity has tamed the worlds of Sol and taken the first, tentative steps to the stars. It’s an age of peace and prosperity.
For most.


In a country long since abandoned to its own devices, Inspector Layton Trent is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs in Jupiter space.

Io is destroyed in a terrorist attack. Hundreds are dead. Thousands are refugees. Billions are wondering, Where next?


Those responsible must be brought to justice.


The explorer ship, Erebus, is reassigned from its mission and sent to Jupiter to investigate this atrocity with Trent’s international team onboard.


Their enemy is lethal, elusive, with access to huge resources and advanced technology.


So begins a hunt across space and time that will take Trent from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of the Jupiter Alliance. From the heart of civilization to the very frontier of human space and far beyond.


And what Trent discovers out there, among the ancient relics of the ancient alien races known as the Sleeping Gods, will change humanities place in the universe forever.


Erebus: a Sleeping Gods novel from the author of Endeavour.


I must admit to being somewhat concerned the above might lose some of the folk who bought Endeavour. It has just as hard SF elements as book 1, although often they're 'running in the background' as the protagonist doesn't have the same deep situational understanding the original characters had, nor is he a scientist/engineer who can figure it out. To him, he exists in an advanced world and things happen in accordance with physics/technology/astronomy which are more heavily defined in Endeavour.

I've also noticed that TPs are using VERY short blurbs. I suspect that's because they perceive the author's names sell themselves. This is an experiment.


Io has been destroyed.


The explorer ship, Erebus is dispatched to investigate.


Their foe is deadly, cunning and resourceful.


No matter the cost, they will hunt him across time and space to bring him to justice.


Erebus: a Sleeping Gods novel from the author of Endeavour.
 

hopewrites

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Humanity has tamed the worlds of Sol and taken the first, tentative steps to the stars. It’s an age of peace and prosperity.
For most.

In a country long since abandoned to its own devices, Inspector Layton Trent is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs in Jupiter space.

Io is destroyed in a terrorist attack. Hundreds are dead. Thousands are refugees. Billions are wondering, Where next?


Those responsible must be brought to justice
Just this much.

You want to let the reader know what kind of questions they will be asking and you will be answering. As a mystery you want to leave those answers as vauge as possible.

This sets the stage of your story, and give drive to its existence, and leaves the reader wanting more.

You want us wanting more because it's the more we buy your book to read and get.
 

Tywin

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I really liked some of the themes that you are playing with. Specifically that humanity is reaching out to the stars when they might not have matters completely sorted in their own back yard. Kind of a hubris, no?

Couple specific things that struck me:
- A moon getting destroyed doesn't equate to people perishing in my mind. Is there a colony there, or a city or something that goes with it? A trade station? An orphanage full of the cutest babies known to mankind?

- "Hundreds" dead? Harrumph. Hundreds die choking on Buffalo wings every Superbowl Sunday. I'd expect thousands, or millions, if we are talking about a whole moon getting blown up. Why go through the effort of destroying such a huge mass when you could kill hundreds with a well-placed suitcase bomb in a crowded theater?

- I'm confused as to the future government already. There is quite a bit of pan-solar system speak in here, and then we are back to talking about "international" and "the Hague".

- If you blow up a moon, how do you end up with refugees? On ships nearby or something? If I physically remove Syria from the map (I guess that's in somebody's playbook right now), I don't get refugees.

- I really liked where your first lead in was going: “You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know. Get us back and don’t mess around. The clock is ticking.” It sounds kind of clever, like it should have a punchline. Space-time should affect ticking clocks.
 

ralphkern

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Cheers chaps again.

Tinker: Its at 210 words which apparently puts it near the middle of the 150 to 250 recommended by several sites (and I've looked at some contemporaries who fall into similar counts). Brevity is best, so opportunities to cut are appreciated without losing any info which is about where I want it in the current version.

Tywin: :) They are exactly the questions (some of them at least) that I want the reader to ask because the protagonists sure as hell do too. Why Io? There's not much there, surely? There's better targets for terrorists.

The political side is considered in some depth in the book, but is not the main theme. I'm more inclined to cut the confusing parts completely than expand on them in the blurb. Also the refugees side is tricky, I've added why.

The clock ticking thing is important... but it doesn't mean anything in the blurb sadly. I think if someone read the book then went back to the blurb they'd think 'oh I see why he included that in the blurb'... but then it's done its job by then anyway. So go it should, however I like the idea of starting with the piece of dialogue I have.

Hope: Agreed the shorter the better, but a reader needs to know what they're getting too. Also (trying not to sound big headed so bear with me) I've got a readership to consider, so need to reassure somewhat I've not simply written 24 in space and show it takes them where they want to go. I'd certainly say the last two paras are crucial for that.

I'm starting to run a little long now at 231 words but this captures the what (the attack which starts the journey off), where (Sol and beyond), when (the year 2183), who (the MC and team plus a hint of the antagonist), why (bring them to justice) and how (on Erebus).

Spaces removed to show what it will look like:

“You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.”

It's the year 2183.
Humanity has tamed the worlds of Sol and taken the first, tentative steps to the stars. It’s an age of peace and prosperity.
For most.
In a country long since abandoned to its own devices, Inspector Layton Trent is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs in Jupiter space.
The sparsely populated moon, Io, is destroyed in a terrorist attack. Hundreds are dead in the cataclysmic explosion. Thousands are refugees as the shattered remnants of the moon threaten the Jupiter Alliance. Billions throughout the Solar System are wondering, Where next?
Those responsible must be found and brought to justice.
The explorer ship, Erebus, is reassigned from its mission and sent to Jupiter to investigate the atrocity with Trent’s international team onboard.
Their enemy is lethal, elusive, with access to huge resources and advanced technology.
So begins a hunt across space and time that will take Trent from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of the Jupiter Alliance. From the heart of civilization to the very frontier of human space and far beyond.
And what Trent discovers, among the relics of the alien Sleeping Gods, will change humanity’s place in the universe forever.

Erebus: a Sleeping Gods novel from the author of Endeavour.
 
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ralphkern

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Cool, think we're getting there... I'm going to sleep on it. Can already spot a couple of changes (huge resources to vast reads smoother for example).

I'll have a think about any shaving that needs doing. It would be nice to slip it under 200 words but not critical.

A very slight adjustment I'm considering.

“You’re going to learn a thing or two about space-time. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.”

It's the year 2183.
Humanity has tamed the worlds of Sol and taken the first, tentative steps to the stars. It’s an age of peace and prosperity.
For most.
In a country long since abandoned to its own devices, Inspector Layton Trent is investigating the massacre of fifteen people when an event occurs in Jupiter space.
The sparsely populated moon, Io, is destroyed in a terrorist attack. Hundreds are dead in the cataclysmic explosion. Thousands are refugees as the shattered remnants of the moon threaten the Jupiter Alliance. Billions throughout the Solar System are wondering, Where next?
The one responsible must be found and brought to justice.
The explorer ship, Erebus, is reassigned from its mission and sent to Jupiter to investigate the atrocity with Trent’s international team onboard.
Their enemy is lethal, elusive, with access to vast resources and advanced technology.
So begins a hunt across space and time that will take Trent from the burning deserts of Africa to the cosmopolitan space cities of the Jupiter Alliance. From the heart of civilization to the very frontier of human space and far beyond.
And what Trent discovers among the relics of the alien Sleeping Gods will change humanity’s place in the universe forever.

Erebus: a Sleeping Gods novel from the author of Endeavour.


I think it makes it seem a little more interesting to say its one person who they're pursuing and causes all the above.
 

hopewrites

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Anonymous is more imposing because it is many faceless entities, one faceless enemy is less imposing than an unnumbered sum. Once you defeat the one you know he's defeated. With an unnumbered sum you never know if you got the last if them till nothing bad happens. And while nothing bad is happening, your never sure that it isn't being planned.

That's the crux of terrorism, that those subjected to it live in fear of the known unknown.

Just my opinion.

The new version reads really well. I'm in the "oh I'd give that a harder look at the book shop" crowd.
 

ralphkern

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Very good points which does fit with the constant widening of the story. It was an idea, I liked the idea of illustrating it was a single nemesis, but don't think there is enough word count left to adequately instill that with the necessary gravitas without making the blurb silly long.

And that's great to hear, means the blurb is completing its job. In my view the cover makes you look at the blurb, the blurb makes you look at the free sample or first couple of pages and then hopefully buy from there. I think the cover will manage the first and it seems the blurb will complete the second:




Its a few days before it has to be frozen, so I'll let it sit and see if anything new occurs but I think we're there.

A huge thank you to all those who have gave valuable crits, whether used or not all have been carefully considered.
 

zmunkz

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Cover is epic! I like the third version the most. Nobody really needs to be told that even in times of peace some people are less fortunate and atrocities still occur. As soon as you tell us Io was destroyed, we are on that same page, and with fewer words.

(I clicked this thread because I happened to use "erebus" as a location in my WIP -- erebus canyon -- so I was curious to see it here. Great word from greek mythology, works well with your premise.)
 
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