Red Silence Green Song blurb (again)

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
13,513
Location
West Sussex, UK
I need back-cover/website text for a book I'm SPing soon. Some of you might recall I had a go at this a year ago, but didn't come away with anything I liked. Anyway, this is a fresh approach, based purely on what works for me. Let's see if it does for anyone else.

***

Long ago, the Archangel Michael defeated Snake-Woman and her dragons in the Primal War, and taught humankind to grow lotus-grass, the only analgesic for the psychic horror called the Bane. Now Michael watches over the calmed world from Angelstar, the only heavenly body that never moves.

Or so speaks the History-Man. Yuri has never questioned the tale -- he has enough to do helping to run the tea-house, and dealing with the pettiness of the townspeople. Then he meets Clara, and his slumbering curiosity is awakened by hers. He and Clara set out across the forbidding desert to discover the truth: about Yuri’s murdered father, about the Bane, about the origin of history itself.

But digging up ancient secrets can be a dangerous business, especially when a thousand-year plan depends on them staying buried.
 

Dan Jones

Der Vater absurder Geschichten
Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
3,382
Location
I am here to do the thing!
I think it sounds great, personally. And I think as you're SPing it the criteria for it are drastically different from those to which you'd have to adhere if you were subbing it, and you should bear that in mind. For example, if it were for a sub, I would probably say that there are too many proper nouns, and it's extremely info-heavy for such a short piece, but it's an SP; anyone with an attention span longer than that of a goldfi--- Oh look, a squirrel!

Where was I? Ah yes. It makes sense, is well-written, hints at a big old fantasy world, and makes me want to read it many lots.
 

Mouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
10,730
Location
Devon
As someone with the attention span of a goldfish, I was frowning by the time I reached the end of the first para thinking it was too much info, sounded too religious and possibly anti-female (which I know wouldn't be anything you'd write!). Had to force myself to read the second, which is better.
 

Wayne Mack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
1,749
Location
Chantilly, Virginia, US
I would lead with the final line, "digging up ancient secrets can be a dangerous business, especially when a thousand-year plan depends on them staying buried." As a reader, this gives me a context about why I am reading the following two paragraphs. I am guessing that line also gives a short one sentence summary of the plot.
 

Kerrybuchanan

Delusions of Grammar
Supporter
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
2,713
Location
Ballynahinch, County Down
Suggested changes, using mostly your own words:

Digging up ancient secrets can be a dangerous business, especially when a thousand-year plan depends on them staying buried.

Yuri has never questioned the tales told by the History-Man: tales of how the Archangel Michael defeated Snake-Woman and her dragons in the Primal War, then taught humankind to grow lotus-grass, that blessed analgesic to counteract the horror called Bane. But then he meets Clara, and his slumbering curiosity is awakened by hers. Together, they set out across the forbidding desert to discover the truth: about Yuri’s murdered father, about the Bane, about the origin of history itself.


Edit: and then I read the comments above! :LOL:
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
14,784
Location
nearly the New Forest
I need back-cover/website text for a book I'm SPing soon.
Hoorah!! (Though I still think Earthwyrms is the better bet!)

I agree with everyone so far -- it's great, but that first para is a bit overloaded and would be better as direct speech from the History Man, and half of the final line would work brilliantly as a kind of title for the rest of the blurb.

So, my suggestion, longer-winded than Kerry's:

DIGGING UP ANCIENT SECRETS IS A DANGEROUS BUSINESS

Long ago, says the History Man, Archangel Michael defeated Snake-Woman.
Michael also taught humankind to grow lotus-grass,
the only calming help for the psychic horror of the Bane.
Now he watches over the world from Angelstar, the heavenly body that never moves.

Yuri has never questioned the History Man's tale.
He has enough to do helping run his mother's tea-house
and avoiding the cruelty and bigotry of the townsfolk.
Then he meets Clara and his curiosity is awakened by hers.
Together, they set out across the forbidding desert.
Their aim to discover the truth:
about Yuri’s murdered father, about the Bane,
and about the origins of history itself.

But digging up ancient secrets can be a dangerous business.
Especially when a thousand-year plan depends on them staying buried.​


That help?
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
13,513
Location
West Sussex, UK
Thanks all for the feedback so far. It seems to be a much bigger success than my previous effort.

I would prefer the first bit to be in the History-Man’s words

I can't really do that because in the book he speaks only in rhyme. But I could do what TJ has done and insert "says the History-Man", which could still be reported rather than a direct quote. Would that be better? (I'm not sure if you just wanted the speaker identified, or if you want more colour.)

too much info

Is that partly what Dan said about too many proper nouns? I can get rid of Primal War, and I don't have to name Angelstar.

I would lead with the final line

I'll think about this. I think it works in Kerry's suggestion, where she compresses the rest into one paragraph, though I'd prefer to keep the detail of the tea-house etc. With both other paras the same, I think I would then want a different one-line closer or it would seem to end too abruptly. And I had enough trouble thinking of that one.

I think this one is great for the market.

Really? I've no idea who it might appeal to (apart from Dan, it seems).

I still think Earthwyrms is the better bet!

We'll see when I finish the series, if any of us are still alive then.
 

CTRandall

I have my very own plant pot!
Supporter
Joined
Jan 4, 2018
Messages
1,031
Location
North-east England
One small point that no one else mentioned: 'analgesic' sounds a very modern, technical, scientific and, to my ears, doesn't blend well with the rest of the blurb. It might fit fine in the book itself but it doesn't chime with the mythic, fantasy tone.
 

Danny McG

"Kree kruh vergo gebba kalto kree!"
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
7,476
Location
Cumbria UK
Is the desert forbidding or forbidden?

If 'forbidding' can someone please explain to a low education reader what is meant by that?

(I know it's a bit irrelevant but things like that prey on my mind)
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
22,587
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
If 'forbidding' can someone please explain to a low education reader what is meant by that?
I've heard that used before. "Such as to make approach or passage difficult or impossible" says the dictionary, but it is usually applied to things constructed by man i.e. Forbidding Walls, rather than nature. However, nature appears to have a will of it's own in Harebrain's books and maybe that is precisely the point he is trying to make here?
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
13,513
Location
West Sussex, UK
it is usually applied to things constructed by man

I've seen it applied to e.g. mountains.

Is the desert forbidding or forbidden?

I used the word partly because it did sound like "forbidden", which is also sort of true. But I wouldn't want it to be potentially confusing, so I'll see if another word occurs to me.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
13,513
Location
West Sussex, UK
This alternative came to me in a dream. I mean, in an email. It does contain what I would previously have called a spoiler, but I now think it might be good to reveal it up-front. Anyway, I like it. Anyone else?


In the far future, humankind is laid low by the psychic disease known as the Bane, which can only be kept at bay by the mind-numbing drug derived from lotus grass. Only young Yuri seems immune, but he has problems of his own: ostracised by the townsfolk, threatened by local gangsters, his life is going nowhere.

But when Clara, a mysterious traveller, proposes to find a cure for the Bane, Yuri joins her on a trip across the desert, with dangerous enemies in pursuit. What Yuri finds will not just throw his own life into turmoil, but will reveal secrets that will shake the world to its core.
 

Wayne Mack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
1,749
Location
Chantilly, Virginia, US
With both other paras the same, I think I would then want a different one-line closer or it would seem to end too abruptly. And I had enough trouble thinking of that one.
It is probably a personal style issue, but I don't feel the need to have a big final sentence. I tend to prefer the Inverted Pyramid approach, especially for short communications. In the end, though, it has got to be something that you feel comfortable putting out.
 

Similar threads


Top