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Author Topic: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.  (Read 302 times)  

Offline Mark Gardner

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Hello all! I've submitted my 7k short story to several LGBT anthologies, but none pulled the trigger. I wanted the story to be out for pride month, and so I'm doing it myself. I'm terrible at writing blurbs, but I've managed to cobble this together:

Quote
It was love at first sight. When Adelaide saved Sapphire from a cheap space suit, the two orphans from the destroyed Luna-III colony knew that they were destined to be together. A job aboard the cargo ship Sundered Rock takes Adelaide away from her soulmate, and their lives were never the same again.



If you want to read the story first, I can send you a copy - it's less than an hour read.

Offline catowned

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 05:22:11 PM »
It can take some time to rethink a story into a blurb. You've been there.
It helps me to think of a blurb as a micro-story ad with a cliffhanger ending that pulls the reader to buy. If you're into movies, might help to think of a blurb as a super-short trailer that ends at the quarter point of the story. And gets the reader to buy.

So let's play blurb! Here's some thoughts...

The blurb as is has background characterization and a relationship focus that says the story might be SF romance/tragic love story.
The cover has the ship interior without visible characters, so maybe the story is SF space cargo trip gone off course...? That blue reminds me of water.
So I'm not sure of SF subcategory.

The blurb as is makes me wonder...
How do the characters self identify? Is their relationship accepted in their world?
Where and how long ago did Adelaide save Sapphire? What were they doing?
Why does Adelaide take the job? What is it? What do they know (by the quarter point of the story) that's important about where the cargo ship going? And what it's carrying? How long would they expect to be apart? Does that change (by the quarter point of the story)?
Why doesn't Sapphire get a job on the ship too? What's Sapphire doing instead?
What are their individual goals in the story?
What or who is the antagonist standing in the way of their goals?
What must Adelaide and Sapphire each do/sacrifice to make their own goals happen?


Could read the story if you'd rather. And then could post a draft about another hour after read, (might need to think about it first). And then could rework it a bit.


eta. I'm new here, and I do blurb. In fact, blurb is all I do here, so far. It's a fun challenge.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 05:45:10 PM by catowned »

Online OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 05:33:52 PM »
It was love at first sight. When Adelaide saved Sapphire from a cheap space suit, the two orphans from the destroyed Luna-III colony knew that they were destined to be together. A job aboard the cargo ship Sundered Rock takes Adelaide away from her soulmate, and their lives were never the same again.

I always go for the gut punch. I want a reader to instantly know I'm going for their throat. I'm not trying to attract everyone just the audience that I'm targeting.

She loved her at first sight. Saving her from being spaced was never a choice. For the first time the thrown away had found a love that wouldn't walk away. Until life cuts Adelaide from Sapphire's side destroying what they had. Lost in loneliness as deep as space will they find the only light that ever mattered again?

Just my thoughts.
To be broken is to be singularly beautiful. Only the shattered are unique in a world of plastic. Scars are the tribal marks of the forgotten, they are how we know our own.

Offline D.A. Boulter

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 06:09:57 PM »
"It was love at first sight. When Adelaide saved Sapphire from a cheap space suit, the two orphans from the destroyed Luna-III colony knew that they were destined to be together. A job aboard the cargo ship Sundered Rock takes Adelaide away from her soulmate, and their lives were never the same again."

This doesn't work as a blurb because it tells a whole story.

1. The two orphans fell in love.
2. They believed they were destined to be together.
3. They parted.
4. Nothing was ever the same.

Okay. There's the story. It's finished. Why should I open the book to the first page? I already know what's going to happen; you've told me the story.  Basically, "They were together; now they're apart. Life sucks." Neither character has a goal that she strives for, something that would keep me reading to find out what happens, to discover whether she achieves it or not.

I don't find anything about either one to empathize with. With the situation, yes, with either of the characters, no. Are they nice kids? Rotten ones? Villainous? Heroic? We don't know. They are just two names. As far as the blurb goes, one deserted the other. Not a nice thing to do. Pretty callous, actually.  I don't like this Adelaide.

See what I'm getting at? You've given us nothing to hang on to, to wonder about.

The catastrophic destruction of the colony Luna-III sent the colonists fleeing for their lives, every man for himself. But Adelaide stopped long enough -- risking her own life -- to rescue another orphan, Sapphire, from certain death. [okay, she's a hero, right? That's something in her favour, something we can like about her.] The two orphans bonded, finding a love that they believed nothing could sunder. [And there's the status quo. But we know it won't remain, so what's going to happen?]

But even orphans in love have to eat, and food costs money. When a single job comes up on a departing freighter, Adelaide finds herself forced to take it to avoid starvation. [okay, we have the antagonist -- lack of money to eat -- now, what's the goal? I assume she doesn't just leave Sapphire to starve, or be sold into slavery or whatever, so there must have been something. Maybe she left Sapphire her hiring bonus? At least she must have promised to return, right? Something? Otherwise you have no story.] Leaving Sapphire her signing bonus, Adelaide boards the starship Sundered Rock, vowing to return as soon as she can. [and that's a goal] As she gazes forlornly out the porthole at the receding station/planet/whatever, she wonders if circumstances will ever allow her to fulfill that vow, to fill the emptiness she now feels, or if she'll even find Sapphire waiting for her when she returns. All she knows is she has to try, come what may.

The above may not fit the story. But that's something like what you are looking for. Reader identifies with the protagonist -- she's a hero whose misfortune we can all feel. She suffers a loss, but has a goal to make it right again, no matter the odds. Will she succeed? We have to open the book to find out.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 06:13:17 PM by D.A. Boulter »


Free: "Prey": http://bit.ly/hiFPUO

Offline catowned

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 09:38:09 PM »
Wow. This story starts so light and happy and spirals into darkness. The original ending is reminiscent of a Tennessee Williams play; the revised ending more like an Ibsen play. Intense main character with maturation/redemption.


What saff wants, adel at her side, ready to rescue her, starving even
What saff needs, rescue herself, get over her need for rescue, move on
What adel wants - be a ship's engineer, provide for her family


here's a rough...

It was her second rescue from death when Sapphire finally met the woman who fascinated her, another Moonborn refugee. When Sapphire turned 18, they married.
Sapphire didn't like time apart. But gender issues at the space port meant the only way Adelaide could keep them from starving was to keep the engines running a cargo ship flying in the black. She signed onto a ship that paid too well and too frequently - the Sundered Rock.
When Sapphire learns what this means, will she keep the door open or rescue herself.



eta. +1 what daboulter said.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 09:53:47 PM by catowned »

Offline Kaylyn

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 09:53:34 PM »
Blurbs aren't my strong suit, but I'll give it a try...

When an unexpected catastrophe strikes the Luna III Colony, citizens rush to get into their emergency space suits and prepare to evacuate.  Fear and chaos escalate at the news that the complete destruction of the colony is eminent and Sapphire is trampled by the panicked mob.  Injured and nearly unconscious from a breach in the cheap government-issued space suit, Sapphire would have died if not for the heroic actions of a beautiful cargo ship captain named Adelaide.

In the bleak aftermath of the colony's destruction the two women cling to each other bonded by their shared survival experience and the innate feeling they were destined to meet. Newly-declared soulmates, they pledge to always be together.  Two orphans, one future, united by destiny.

But when duty forces Adelaide to return to her cargo ship, the Sundered Rock, for a humanitarian mission to aid other survivors of the colony disaster, how can she break the news to Sapphire without breaking her heart? 

It all comes down to destiny vs. duty.  Either way, their lives will never be the same.





Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 10:08:57 PM »
Wow. This story starts so light and happy and spirals into darkness. The original ending is reminiscent of a Tennessee Williams play; the revised ending more like an Ibsen play. Intense main character with maturation/redemption.
-----
It was her second rescue from death when Sapphire finally met the woman who fascinated her, another Moonborn refugee. When Sapphire turned 18, they married.
Sapphire didn't like time apart. But gender issues at the space port meant the only way Adelaide could keep them from starving was to keep the engines running a cargo ship flying in the black. She signed onto a ship that paid too well and too frequently - the Sundered Rock.
When Sapphire learns what this means, will she keep the door open or rescue herself.

That's a much better blurb! Definitely the right direction for the story.

I have to ask, which ending did you like better? Does it work having both endings in the story?

Offline catowned

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 10:41:26 PM »
still thinking blurb on the walk home.
Needs to be as short as possible, with only the most important details. It's for a short story.

draft 2...

Sapphire would rather starve than be apart from her rescuer, her soulmate, Adelaide.
The only way Adelaide could keep them from starving was to do what she did best - keep a ships' engines running. She signed on to a ship that paid too well and too frequently - the Sundered Rock.
When Sapphire realizes the source of that pay, will she open her arms to Adelaide or rescue herself.



draft 3.... this one's close. cuts back on detail, ends at quarter point, teases the ending...

Sapphire would rather starve than be separated from her rescuer, her soulmate, Adelaide.
The only way Adelaide could keep them from starving was to do what she did best - keep a ships' engines running in the black of space.
Will Sapphire's tight hold drive them apart, or will she learn to rescue herself.


The story hits like a truck.
I preferred the Ibsen-style ending in which she rescued herself, even though it's so late coming.
The Tennessee Williams-style ending, in which she keeps going down that path, is sooooo dark.

eta. It was interesting-- the note and the original ending. Yes, I thought that worked.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 12:02:45 AM by catowned »

Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 04:33:47 AM »
draft 3.... this one's close. cuts back on detail, ends at quarter point, teases the ending...

Sapphire would rather starve than be separated from her rescuer, her soulmate, Adelaide.
The only way Adelaide could keep them from starving was to do what she did best - keep a ships' engines running in the black of space.
Will Sapphire's tight hold drive them apart, or will she learn to rescue herself.

I liked how draft 2 mentioned Sundered Rock. I think that it reenforces the book title.

Do you think that the ending tease is too obvious?

You're right, this blurb is almost there!

Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 05:41:58 AM »
Here's a slightly different take:
Quote
The only way Adelaide can provide for her family is by doing what she does best: keep a ship's engine running in the black of space. Sapphire would rather starve together than be separated from her soulmate.

When Adelaide takes a job on the long haul space freighter Sundered Rock against Sapphire's wishes, can their family survive the separation, or will everything that matters to Sapphire and Adelaide be torn asunder?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 06:28:27 AM by Mark Gardner »

Offline catowned

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Re: Please help me with the blurb for my short LGBT short story.
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2018, 10:52:08 AM »
Was the ending tease too obvious? Yes.
It was more a note to myself on the story's focus - Sapphire's dilemma.


Love the ship's name. So much in the story is sundered. And so much is rock and hard place, and rock-solid positions. And then there's the ship's 'work.' ...

Also loved the imagery of the infatuated, gravity-free entry into the story and the foreshadowing line-- '...squeezed her...and fought the forces...that tried to separate them.'


back to the blurb
Need to include the gender issue, the 'equality in words.'
It's a force that affects all 3 women and their choices. The story would be different if that hadn't been an issue in their world.

Focusing the blurb on Adelaide will tell the reader to expect a story about her adventure on that ship. (I want to read that story! And I like that blurbl)

Need to focus this blurb on Sapphire.
The reader sees the world and Adelaide through Sapphire. While Adelaide's forced decision drives the middle (as antagonistic-driven action should), the overall story arc is about Sapphire's emotions, decisions, actions.
The question isn't will the family be torn, (it is), but will Sapphire get past her need for constant closeness with Adelaide.

The blurb needs to draw readers who appreciate the spiral-into-darkness stories frequent to Lightspeed and Clarksworld.


draft 5, last line could be more elegant...

Moonborn refugee Sapphire would rather starve together than watch her rescuer, her soulmate Adelaide, go into the black of space again.
But women have few options, Adelaide must find work, and the long-haul freighter Sundered Rock needs crew.
Without Adelaide, will Sapphire succumb to her own darkness?


maybe this as a last line...
Can Sapphire withstand the wait?



eta. remember that the post is thoughts and suggestions.

about Sapphire...
I've been thinking about her as the one who stays home and waits while her spouse goes off on that long dangerous job. A job that's hurt people they know and care about.
She knew about the life when they married, and now she wants her spouse out of it.
She could be a mariner's wife, a military wife, ...

« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 03:37:17 PM by catowned »