This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!
November 3 question – What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
On Titles and Blurbs
First On Titles
I start my novels with a specific idea which includes at least two main characters and some supporting ones, a place, a time, and a conflict. Once that’s a vivid picture in my mind, I start writing freestyle or if you like pantsing, until I get the feel of the characters and the story, which at the beginning is a jumbled mess in my mind.
I don’t think of scenes or chapters or plot points, or even the ending, I just write. Usually when I’m at 10,000 words, which may take about a week, I know if it’s a story I want to write, or I put it away just in case! (I have a hard time killing my babies!) and work on another one.
Once I’ve reached the point I’m sure I have the potential for a novel, I write an outline for the whole story, divided into scenes. I take a simple approach which works for me for overall initial plotting.
Basic elements of each scene: Who wants what, why, and what is the obstacle? How does it move the plot forward and/or what does this scene lead on to (i.e. what happens next).
At this point, if not before, I’m ready to select my title and start looking for a cover. Both things are intimately tied up for me. I print the cover with the title and put it up on my wall in my study, where I usually write. It gives me focus, motivation and joy to see my cover and title every day.
This is one of my favourite covers. It’s just perfect for my Novella, Resurgam. It was a ready-made cover (almost; I asked for Eyre Hall to be added in the background) by BetiBup, one of my favourite designers.
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Now for the blurb
I write the blurb at the end and it’s much more difficult and stressful than deciding on the title and cover.
I have a structure for writing my blurbs, which I have developed over the years, and I usually stick to it.
When I write a blurb I follow this basic structure:
- Initial hook. A question to draw the reader in.
- Introduce the main character and make the setting/situation clear to the reader.
- One or two sentences about the conflict.
- Final hook. A hint at the solution with a question to entice the reader.
Here’s my blurb for Resurgam
Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre (Initial Hook)
Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves, they have a son, and they live in a grand house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall. (MC and Genre/setting)
When Mary Anne Wilson, one of her best friends from Lowood Institution for Orphans, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news about their deceased friend, Helen Burns, Jane realises she must return to the orphanage where she has crucial unfinished matters to attend. (Conflict/Problem)
Will Jane find a way to keep the promise she made to Helen over fifteen years ago when she was a penniless orphan? (Final Hook: a question about the solution)
I suggest you read as many blurbs as possible for your genre and others, to give you more ideas about how to approach writing your own. Here are two videos for more ideas: a great 8-minute video by Alessandra Torre which gives some good ideas, so does Joanna Penn here at The Creative Penn.
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Happy Reading and Writing!