Monday, May 6, 2013

Vacation!

I am off to France! Woo Hoo!

It has been years since I took a real, far away, vacation. The last big trip was to Hungary in 2005. But that was before I moved to the house in Asheville. Now a trip is trickier, we have pets and a garden and way too much stuff to worry about!

Now is a bad time to be away. I have a book in final edits, almost ready to publish. The audiobook is in the works. It's time to be sowing my warm crop veggies and the cool crop veggies are almost ready to harvest. The strawberries are just coming on. I need to keep spraying the fruit trees with organic pest and fungal preventatives...Yeesh. And with all the rain, the lawn needs mowing again!

Eh. It'll all have to wait.

I'm off to France with my sisters and cousin to visit family in the Loire Valley. So cool. When I get back I will be refreshed, revitalized and ready to go back to my old routines. It's important to jump out of the rut from time to time. I will have new adventures and new information to add to my stories.

Unintended Consequences will rest till I came back. Then I can do a final read through to see how all the tweaks I made, from beta readers suggestions, work in the story. Sometimes a tweak feels right in a chapter, but when you come upon it, with the whole story freshly read, it clanks horribly.

White Lies audiobook should be ready for review in early June.

Once those two are taken care of, I can get back to the first draft of my post-apocalyptical, near-future story - End of the Lines.

So - no blogs for a bit. Oh, did I mention...I'm off to France!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blurbs

I just read a whole lot of bad blurbs.

My favorite was something like: "The introduction starts with..." Wow. That'll sell a lot of books.

When I was learning about queries, the rule of thumb was a formula like this:
To achieve his goal of _____, Hero must do _____ to stop Villain from doing_____. That's the story in a nutshell.

For my novel White Lies that would be - To prove his innocence, Asher must find the killer before he kills again. There's a lot more to it - his addiction problems and destroyed career, the relationships that he has to repair, the deaths of loved ones. But that is all window dressing for the direct action of the book. Once I have that single line finished, I can add the most important breadcrumbs and a splash of setting.

Writing the blurb can help you see any inconsistencies in your story. I wrote a blurb once that I thought was just right. Then I took a good look at it and realized that wasn't the story I had written. You have to cut through all of the backstory and setting and emotion down to the kernel of the story. That blurb clarified the direction of the story that I wanted. I needed to get back there from where I had wandered.

When I'm looking for a story to read, I don't want to hear about set up. "This is the story about a girl whose parents don't understand her." OK. Then what? Who's the hero and what does she need to overcome to achieve her goal. Better yet, what is her goal?

Or - "This story is set in several European capitals with fast paced chase scenes." Ouch. If I wanted a story about chase scenes, I'd be sure to snap that up. Who is running? Who is chasing? Why?

Readers want to meet the characters and ride along. I look through blurbs every day. I love books. I read a couple a week, when I can. The blurbs that get right to the meat of things draw me in - John loves Mary, but..., Sue's husband tried to kill her and she must escape..., David woke in a strange place....

Get to the point. Don't tell me that the story is set in post-Katrina New Orleans where a neighborhood is being revitalized. Tell me that Jane and Bob struggle to rebuild in a neighborhood destroyed by the hurricane.

Boiling a story down to it's simplest definition is hard. It's torturous. But it is the most important thing you can do.