Blurb critique for me too, please

Toby Frost

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#1
I wonder if anyone, anywhere, enjoys this bit of writing. Anyhow, here is a potential blurb for the new book. It's rather short.


Giulia Degarno returns to her homeland with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. But Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal, and has risen to become a powerful politician - and the only man who can save Pagalia from anarchy. Now, as Severra stands poised to seize the throne, Giulia must choose between taking her revenge, and saving her home.



Things I want to say:
1) Giulia Degarno goes home to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead [motivation]
2) However, he [Publius Severra] is no longer a criminal but a powerful politician [problem]
3) If Giulia kills him, that could throw the city into chaos [more problem]
4) She must choose between taking revenge and saving the city [dilemma]

Things I could say:
1) The setting is a fantasy Renaissance with flying machines, gunpowder etc.
2) Giulia has become a deadly assassin
3) Different factions are fighting to control the city
4) Giulia's friends are in danger
5) In the course of the story, Giulia learns to be less selfish and look out for her friends

Thanks!
 

Ihe

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#2
I liked it, except for the last line, which is too cliche of a closing line. I'd try looking at more tangential/poetical ways of displaying the primary internal conflict.

I don't think it's needed to mention what kind of world they live in, and I wouldn't know how to include that in a tight blurb like this anyway. There's no fat there, which I like.
 

TheDustyZebra

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#3
I think the last bit of that second line is a bit misleading -- it makes him sound like a potential hero, which is really only in his own mind.
 

HareBrain

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#4
it makes him sound like a potential hero, which is really only in his own mind.
I know TDZ has inside knowledge here, so I'll add that it does indeed read that he might genuinely be the only one who can save Pagalia from anarchy, which makes for an interesting dilemma for the MC. If this isn't the case, then I think you're setting up false expectations about that dilemma.

What I'm guessing is the case is that he can save it from anarchy, but at a cost to people's freedom etc. If so, then isn't this part of the MC's dilemma too, rather than just between revenge and saving her home? Is Severra's rule really the only way it can be saved? You don't need the blurb to go into all this, but I think you might want it to hint more at complexity, without losing the value of the basic dilemma.
 

thaddeus6th

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#5
There'll be some masochistic or lunatic who enjoys writing blurbs. Not great at them myself, so do take any suggestions with a boulder of salt:

Giulia Degarno returns to her homeland with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. But Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal, and has risen to become a powerful politician - and the only man who can save Pagalia from anarchy. Now, as Severra stands poised to seize the throne and restore order, Giulia must choose between taking her revenge, and saving her home friends?.

Bold are suggested additions, strikes cutting (obviously).

Edited extra bit: one day I'll remember it's square rather than pointy brackets.
 

Brian G Turner

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#6
My initial thought is that it reads fine. It's punchy, sets out the protagonist, antagonist, and stakes.

However, you could definitely spice this up with a couple of little details that make the setting more clear and intriguing - some way to insert details such as flying machines and gunpowder could especially work for you.

For example (just to illustrate)

Giulia Degarno returns to set foot in Pagalia, leaving the airship with her trusty rapier, ready to hunt down the man who once left her for dead.

It's not a great example, but do you see what I mean about trying to find ways to insert some kind of detail into it?
 

The Big Peat

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#7
Well its got my interest. When do we get to read this book?

However, I think that the blurb could be longer, which allows you to give more flavour and ramp up the drama - and include some of the other points you mention. I dunno how many words you get on Amazon that people see, but I think its more. And some of it seems a bit redundant -

Giulia Degarno returns to her homeland with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. - I think you could give more detail here - certainly mention that she's a deadly assassin now.

But Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal, and has risen to become a powerful politician - and the only man who can save Pagalia from anarchy. - I'm not sure we need to know the full details about who Publius Severra is/was. You could go "no longer a mere criminal - he's the only man who can save Pagalia from anarchy" fairly safely imo. And if you wanted, you could replace "anarchy" with something to represent the period such as "the scourge of sword and musket". Although you might be well advised to let us know what sort of anarchy it is - its a bit flavourless as stands, although...

Now, as Severra stands poised to seize the throne, Giulia must choose between taking her revenge, and saving her home. - You could give the details here. I also think Thad might be right that saving her friends might have a bigger emotional resonance than saving her home (particularly since she's been exiled)... although you might want to introduce the effects of the anarchy on her friends earlier.
 

tinkerdan

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#9
I like what you have::
However I can't help but think about how I'd word it.

Getting revenge or saving friends; an easy choice for some. Not for Giulia Degarno. Scarred for life, she's long suffered the right to revenge. Publius Severra is her malevolent justification for choosing an assassin's path. His imminent death at her hand drives her full circle to her Pagalia home where she discovers friends in danger from a city near anarchy and Severra's incredulous claim as their only savior. The assassin's life taught her that she who hesitates is lost and Severra must die; however, what looms in a near and dark future, determined by her actions, is a total loss of the remainder of all she holds dear.

I tried not to go too far over the top.
 

Lafayette

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#10
I decided to take your request on for a blurb. Granted it may not be exactly what you asked for, but may give you something else to think about.

After years of painful cosmetic surgery and practicing her trade of poisoner, Giulia has returned to Paglia. This time her poisoning is personal in the person of Piblius Severra a man that scarred and left her for dead. Unmindful of her friends that Piblius is deemed a savior, a powerful politician and not a mere criminal and destined for the throne saving Paglia from anarchy, Giulia is bent on vengeance.

Or if you prefer this take.

After years of painful cosmetic surgery and practicing her trade of poisoner, Giulia has returned to renaissance Paglia where Da Vinchi’s flying machines soars the skies and men are marveling at the advent of gun powder. This time her poisoning is personal in the person of Piblius Severra a man that scarred and left her for dead. Unmindful of her friends that Piblius is deemed a savior, a powerful politician and not a mere criminal and destined for the throne saving Paglia from anarchy, Giulia is bent on vengeance.
 
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TheEndIsNigh

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#11
OK - Here we go :)

Oh, it's even shorter now :-


Giulia Degarno returns to her homeland with one intention: to kill the man who left her for dead. However, Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal. He is now a powerful politician. Only he stands against the forces of anarchy that threaten to engulf Pagalia and hand the throne to neighbouring Severra. Giulia must now delay her plans for revenge and work with him to save Pagalia and the people she loves.

I've left it in italics but I don't know why it needs to be.

There's confusion with cityes and homelands. Which is it?

I assumed Pagalia and Severra were countries/states.

I don't think the scarring is relevant for a blurb. The guy didn't scar her so she wouldn't look nice after she was dead. He thought he'd killed her. Unless there's some weird perverse subplot going on he wouldn't kill her and then scar her so the coroner would think she was ugly. Obviously in the story there can be years of painful surgery resulting in the radiant beauty and unrecognisable features, but that's for the story.

It's pretty obvious that she decides not to kill him or else the main part of the outline is irrelevant.

I.E. if she kills him in the first chapter he wasn't worth the big build up.

By saying she's delayed her plans it allows the reader to assume she will get back to it after the crisis is over. Whereas we know, she's going to find it was all a big mistake and she really loves him. :)

Of course she can love him but still knife him in the back in the final bedroom scene, just to shock the reader.

I've left out mention of the technology mainly because that would come over in the book cover art. People will see the flying machine with it's blazing cannons and instantly know what their getting into.

Hope I helped

Tein
 
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Lafayette

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#12
Here I go again. I'm assuming this is not what you are seeking, however I like playing with ideas and thought I'd share them with everyone here.

Giulia once a raving beauty was left scarred and for dead by Publius Severra has now returned to Paglia. By night, Giulia lurks in the shadows seeking an opportunity for vengeance. By day she walks in a glamour of beauty seeking a cure.

Publius now strolls and strides by day in adoration by many who believe he is their savior from the warring factions of Paglia. By night, Publius is haunted by his deeds of violence and cruelty and fears justice.
 

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