SF blurb help please

Stephen Palmer

author of books
Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
6,371
Location
Shropshire
Hi Chronners, what do you think of this?

.

His Name Means Abjure

Abiuravi has one goal in life - to cross the River Stygos and reach Divinita in the sky without first dying.

Half a million years from now there is almost no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, green plants have vanished, and oxygen is depleting fast. Into this ghastly land Abiuravi is born, determined to break the great cycle of death and reincarnation which anchors his people, the Humani, but which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.

Abiuravi, driven and brilliant, assembles a team with whom he attempts the impossible. Yet he knows nothing of the new fracture within Divinita, let alone how that rupture is an integral part of his life. For Divinita has owners, and they are machines.
 
"Into this ghastly land Abiuravi is born, determined to break the great cycle of death..."

Sounds a wee bit odd to me, unless the Humani are born with adult intellect (as they may well be).
 
For me, this is a bit of a run-on sentence.
Into this ghastly land Abiuravi is born, determined to break the great cycle of death and reincarnation which anchors his people, the Humani, but which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.

Also, I'm more drawn to the last paragraph. Who are the Divinita's grabs me more than the above sentence.
I'm not very good at doing critiques, but I hope this helps some!
 
For me, I like a blurb to give me an idea of genre, who the main character is, and the main area of conflict the character needs to over come. I would have liked the reference to "Half a million years from now" occur much earlier. This was a little jarring, because the reference to "the River Stygos" had me picturing a time period like the early Grecian empire. I never did pick up the major challenge Abiuraviis facing. Is it crossing the river? .Is it something to do with oxygen depletion? The great cycle of death and reincarnation? The Simi who die once? Resolving the new fracture within Divinita? Something to do with Divinita's owners who are machines? I also could not see the correlation between the blurb and the title.

I hope this doesn't sound too negative. I've deleted and rewritten this comment three times. This sounds like an epic tale of the kind that I like to read. The blurb, however, would turn me off from reading it, as it doesn't have a smooth flow and connectiveness, and I don't think it fairly represents your actual writing style.
 
Half a million years from now there is almost no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, green plants have vanished, and oxygen is depleting fast
So the setting is Earth, but magical Earth? I don't quibble with this, but the starting of this made it seem like a science fiction story, but the word "reincarnation" later makes it sound like fantasy. I'm totally fine with what it is, it's just that I'm an ardent fan of SF but not so much of fantasy (especially modern fantasy) and I would read it if I thought it was SF but not if I thought it was Fantasy. The mention of "machines" at the end makes it sound like SF, but I'm sufficiently confused at this point.

Into this ghastly land Abiuravi is born, determined to break the great cycle of death and reincarnation
Is he born determined, or was he born, and then as he grew and learned of the land, he became determined? This jarred a tad. Also, why is it ghastly? Not clear from the blurb.

which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.
What role to the Simi play? Is he trying to be their savior? Not clear to me.

Yet he knows nothing of the new fracture within Divinita, let alone how that rupture is an integral part of his life.
This sentence could be improved. I feel it is giving me a key conflict - the key thing that is going to block the quest, but I just get confused reading this.

For Divinita has owners, and they are machines.
How bad a spoiler is this? I'm guessing not much. This signals SF to me.

In short, it sounds like a pretty cool story, but the blurb needs a full rework. Looking forward to seeing the next version!
 
There is something weird about the voice of the blurb. It's as if our present is telling a future story. The conceit of SFF is that it is real and we're looking at it as contemporaneous or past - not future.
 
Last edited:
For me, I like a blurb to give me an idea of genre, who the main character is, and the main area of conflict the character needs to over come. I would have liked the reference to "Half a million years from now" occur much earlier. This was a little jarring, because the reference to "the River Stygos" had me picturing a time period like the early Grecian empire. I never did pick up the major challenge Abiuraviis facing. Is it crossing the river? .Is it something to do with oxygen depletion? The great cycle of death and reincarnation? The Simi who die once? Resolving the new fracture within Divinita? Something to do with Divinita's owners who are machines? I also could not see the correlation between the blurb and the title.

I hope this doesn't sound too negative. I've deleted and rewritten this comment three times. This sounds like an epic tale of the kind that I like to read. The blurb, however, would turn me off from reading it, as it doesn't have a smooth flow and connectiveness, and I don't think it fairly represents your actual writing style.
Thanks for your input! I knew this would be another tricky one owing to the blended perspectives of the novel. Negative is fine. Even after 27 years, I find writing blurbs really difficult. I think the way forward is to emphasise the SF aspect.
 
Abiuravi has one goal in life - to cross the River Stygos and reach Divinita in the sky without first dying.

Half a million years from now there is almost no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, green plants have vanished, and oxygen is depleting fast. Into this ghastly land Abiuravi is born, determined to break the great cycle of death and reincarnation which anchors his people, the Humani, but which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.

It feels to me like the bit in bold belongs with the first paragraph. Splitting it up makes it feel a bit fractured. (I'm not sure how you would best do this, though, since it also belongs with the Humani/Simi stuff, and all that together might overload the beginning.)

Tweaks aside, it sounds really interesting and the names have the kind of resonance that would pull me in.
 
I think it could be neater and tweaked a bit below to join things up and to add punchier keywords. Take what helps, ignore what doesn't.
Sounds fascinating.


In half a million years there will be almost no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, green plants will have vanished, and oxygen will be depleted. (I think this is better separated, it's not the narrative but the world building, but it's very of the moment and a hook)

******

Born into this devastated life, Abiuravi is determined to cross the River Stygos and reach Divinita in the sky alive. There, he'll break the great cycle of death and reincarnation which anchors his people, the Humani, but which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.

(I changed this because there are two goals described, not one, and I think you need a link between the main narrative and the opening)

Driven and brilliant, Abiuravi assembles a team to attempt the impossible. But, he doesn't know there's a new fracture within Divinita, one that threatens his life and plans -- Divinita has owners, and they are machines. (love this last line)
 
Last edited:
I think it could be neater and tweaked a bit below to join things up and to add punchier keywords. Take what helps, ignore what doesn't.
Sounds fascinating.


In half a million years there will be almost no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, green plants will have vanished, and oxygen will be depleted. (I think this is better separated, it's not the narrative but the world building, but it's very of the moment and a hook)

******

Born into this devastated life, Abiuravi is determined to cross the River Stygos and reach Divinita in the sky alive. There, he'll break the great cycle of death and reincarnation which anchors his people, the Humani, but which his cousins, the Simi who die once, do not follow.

(I changed this because there are two goals described, not one, and I think you need a link between the main narrative and the opening)

Driven and brilliant, Abiuravi assembles a team to attempt the impossible. But, he doesn't know there's a new fracture within Divinita, one that threatens his life and plans -- Divinita has owners, and they are machines. (love this last line)
This is great!

For some strange reason this description of a bleak Earth does not, immediately, connect it to a "devastated life." I blame modern media, which has made me think I'm already living on such a planet.

I'm still looking for why Abiuravi is going on the quest, what he's trying to achieve and what do his motivations have to do with the Simi.
 
I agree with much of the above but would just like to add that despite their being a bit of vagueness about it, this blurb did very much draw me in. Perhaps it jives a bit with what I am in to (and writing) right now, but yeah...cool names, cool sounding world.
 
I have to say that my first thought was "What does 'abjure' mean?" I agree that the "Into this ghastly land" sentence is a bit long and unclear. I don't know if the last part is vital, but I'd be inclined to leave the Simi bit out of it.

Otherwise, it reads very well.
 
I think it could be neater and tweaked a bit below to join things up and to add punchier keywords. Take what helps, ignore what doesn't.
Sounds fascinating.
Thank you for your help Jo. Much appreciated. This is a novel that, on-and-off, I've been working on for twelve years. It's been through four distinct versions. I'm hoping to self-publish during the summer. I've honed it to hell and back in recent months! Or should I say... to Inferia and back ;)
 
I have to say that my first thought was "What does 'abjure' mean?"
I considered Renounce, but Abjure works since both it and Abiuravi both begin with Ab-. Still... maybe Renounce would be better. The novel (uniquely for one of my works) has had three titles : Humani, Atmosphere, and His Name Means Abjure. What do you think of, His Name Means Renounce?
 
I considered Renounce, but Abjure works since both it and Abiuravi both begin with Ab-. Still... maybe Renounce would be better. The novel (uniquely for one of my works) has had three titles : Humani, Atmosphere, and His Name Means Abjure. What do you think of, His Name Means Renounce?
I also found the term Abjure as obscure. I'm not sure renounce helps much more. Maybe something like "Divinita In The Sky." This seems to give off a bit of an SF vibe. If you really want to use the term, try to link it a little more into the blurb. Need to highlight what is being rejected: Death? Reincarnation? Ecological destruction? Robots?
 
I also found the term Abjure as obscure. I'm not sure renounce helps much more. Maybe something like "Divinita In The Sky." This seems to give off a bit of an SF vibe. If you really want to use the term, try to link it a little more into the blurb. Need to highlight what is being rejected: Death? Reincarnation? Ecological destruction? Robots?
Maybe I should go back to the original title, Humani.
An alternative could be The Humani.
I also considered Humani & Simi.
Thoughts, Chronners...?
 
I dunno. I like the original title, even though I wasn't entirely sure what "abjure" means. Titles that are statements, or even full sentences, are unusual and (for me) attract the attention -- and what a title needs to do most is attract the attention.

(And I don't think "His Name Means Renounce" would work as well, BTW. "Abjure" just sounds good.)
 

Similar threads


Back
Top