Author Topic: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)  (Read 338 times)  

Offline MH Johnson

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Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« on: February 09, 2018, 09:09:22 AM »
The trees cried for blood.

Jess could taste it in the wind, the sharp tang of sap, tears, and rot perfuming the air. She could feel it in the frantic rustle of the branches overhead limbs twisting and breaking like the neck of the desperate young lord she had snapped just hours before.

She shook away memory's hold, forcing herself to look beyond the violent gash in the ancient forest canopy. A massive fortress of hacked apart trees, bleeding sap still, could be seen in the distance. Home to the panicked cries of scores of kidnapped girls.

Jess caught the gazes of her fellow squires, all of them nodding as one. It didn't matter that they were students still, none more than eighteen years old. They had tracked these slavers across the face of Erovering, and now they were going to kill them.
Each and every one.


Jessica's homeland has been invaded by slavers. It was a rot General Eloquin and his students were determined to purge. They would strike with ruthless savagery, showing the monsters who preyed upon innocent flesh no mercy.

But serpents close to home lie in wait. Eloquin's enemies will do all they can to destroy Jess and her friends for daring to raise their lances against them.

That is, unless Jess and her fellow Squires of War can find their enemies first.

Commoner or noble-born, it does not matter. No foe will be allowed to survive Eloquin's bloody purge, and the innocence of newly blooded Squires is just the first casualty of war.




Thank you for all the great feedback so far, I'm hoping to invoke mood as well as cover the background and stakes. I hope you like!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 03:08:10 AM by MH Johnson »

Online Becca Mills

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most.
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 10:26:11 AM »
It does establish mood, but by breaking the formula, you give up the chance to let the reader know what the larger story's about. I'm not sure that's a good trade-off. I don't get much sense of who Jess is or what might be at stake in the story beyond the fate of the enslaved girls and perhaps a first taste of real violence for some young squires. That leaves me unsure whether this is the kind of story I'd want to read.

My guess for genre would be gritty low-magic coming-of-age epic fantasy with a single female protagonist.

Going through it as it stands ...

Not sure what "it" represents in the first sentence of the second paragraph. Impending violence? The evil of the slavers? The crying of the trees? If it's that last one, considering bringing the first sentence down into the same paragraph so that you're not asking a pronoun to link across a paragraph break. I know that's a breakable rule, but it's hard to break it in this way, where the pronoun is a vague one and it's pointing back to something non-literal. The reader might well might not make the connection.

The young lord's neck "crackling furiously" after he "confessed his love" ... so, he confessed his love ... for Jess? ... and she broke his neck? Or is this just something she witnessed happening between the lord and someone else? I'm not sure how to interpret that material. I wouldn't think necks would crackle like branches in the wind when being broken. It'd be more like one crack, then it's over. The parallel ends up feeling forced for me.

I'm not jazzed about the furious/furiously echo in that line. A little too far apart to feel intentional.

Make sure to use a dash, not a hyphen; a dash can't follow a period; no capital "c" after the dash. No comma before "only."

Technically, comma after "abrupt" in the next line.

I'd revise "Jess caught the gazes of fellow squires, all of them nodding as one." to "Jess caught the gazes of fellow squires. They nodded as one." so that she makes eye contact, and then they all nod after the shared look. No need for both "all of them" and "as one."

I'd replace "did not" with "didn't."

"Down" not needed in the next line.

Offline Ryan W. Mueller

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most.
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 10:49:20 AM »
You did a good job with the mood, but I'm not sure how well it works as a blurb. In a blurb, I like to get an overall sense of what the story's about, and I'm not getting that here.

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most.
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 10:59:21 AM »
The concept is fine, but...

I'd lose the tree/forest metaphor and rework your transitions to improve flow and pacing.

Who, then what, then why....but we need stakes too.

1. Jess is a squire: they're united in purpose, students, young (hopeful and innocent)
2. Tracked down the slavers (bad guy/motivator/inciting incident)
3. To murder them (loss of innocence, regret, mark of Cain)

What are the stakes here, what does Jess have to lose if she participates, what about the others? Where are the knights? Have the squires gone rogue? Also, it should be noted that all of this can be implied rather than directly stated.

And you don't have to tell us the why of it all, but a little bit of foreshadowing goes a long way. Also also, try to help us connect with Jess, lay the groundwork for empathy. However, the death of the love interest may not work here. It sounds like Jess is looking for revenge for him, which muddies the message of revenge for the girls.

As it stands, you've built the mood around "a people wronged", which, since it hints at motivation, is necessarily of the past and therefore a passive mood without any stakes in the present conflict - more like sorrow. I'd identify the core emotion you want to project forward. And if it is revenge, then build the mood/metaphor/consequences around that emotion/motivation - and be painfully singular and even more present about it. In this case, or so it appears, the darkness of the blurb isn't in the abduction of the girls or their horrible fate, or even the young Lord's death, but in the hearts of the squires who are undeterred in their desire to commit cold-blooded murder - rage. I'd run with that - fallen trees, loam and rotting vegetation, heavy skies, the color drained from the day, bleakness, a claustrophobic dread - impending regret? Murder leaves a mark.

Lastly, blurbs work best in the here and now - mid-slip on the banana peel, if you will.

Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most.
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 02:19:54 PM »
Personally, I prefer proper blurbs to mood. If I want mood, I can read the Look Inside.
     

Offline Norman Steele Taylor

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most.
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 04:00:48 PM »
I love it but, as much as possible, try to use each adjective once. Repetition tends to sap (pun intended) their power especially if you're trying to immerse the reader in an alternate reality.

Another point: appeal to as many senses as possible. You did a great job with vision and hearing, also weave in taste, touch,and smell.


Offline MH Johnson

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 03:09:50 AM »
Thanks for all the fantastic feedback so far! I tweaked the main blurb above, and, because it is a requirement for many newsletters, I put together a very concise 350 character version as well. - To everyone who took a look, thank you so much for your time!

Jessica's homeland has been invaded by slavers. It was a rot General Eloquin and his students were determined to purge. They would strike with ruthless savagery, showing the monsters who preyed upon innocent flesh no mercy. But serpents close to home lie in wait. If Jess is not very careful, she will perish before her first mission has even begun.



Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 03:29:28 AM »
I think this mood style is best suited for the book itself and not the blurb.

As a reader it's throwing me off. I expect the blurb to help me identify certain things so I can find out if the story suits me. I'm not getting enough info about genre yet.

Good luck.
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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 07:37:36 AM »
Hi,

I looked over the various bits and snippets to create a base blurb structure.  Take a look at it and use what you like/ build on it etc...I am confused- in the opening, eloquin is noted as their teacher. In the last paragraph, re Eloquins bloody purge-- I am not clear if Eloquin is secretly working with the slavers, or if he is just hell-bent on destroying the slavers and ill-using his squires to that purpose.  ALSO- I am not clear on what the stakes are if Jess and her group fail... what are they afraid of? Becoming slaves (what does that entail? Hard word? Sex-traffic? Life in a luxurious harem?...?)

Barely eighteen, Jess and her fellow squires are excited about the lives they imagine for themselves- of heroic deeds and acts of bravery. Then her homeland is invaded by  ruthless slavers.

Led by general Eloquin, they track the invaders to a fortress of hacked trees, still bleeding sap.  From inside they can hear the panicked cries of kidnapped girls. They plan to strik with ruthless savagery-- showing no mercy for the monster who trades innocent flesh.

But there are serpents closer to home than Jess  and her group realize.  And Eloquin's enemies plan to destroy anyone who dares to raise their lances against them- no one will survive the bloody purge if the general has his way.  Will the newly blooded squires be his first casualty in a much larger war?

Offline MH Johnson

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 09:25:51 PM »
Thank you, horsewisevt, I appreciate you taking the time to share your blurb insights with me! You're a 100% awesome for giving it another go.   (And yes, Eloquin is hyper-intense and fanatical, but is one of the good guys, relatively speaking.

Herefortheride  - thanks for the feedback. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Offline Emma Kathryn

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 11:48:30 PM »
Yes, great mood in the section with italics! But once you get beyond that, I feel it's got to sound a bit more businesslike and not so much in the mood of the opening piece.  For example, I wouldn't say "a rot." I'd say "a disaster" or suchlike... something less metaphorical.

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Re: Fantasy blurb. A darker hero's journey than most. (edited)
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 03:32:13 AM »
if you want, message me and i'll help you hammer something out.  i've done a number of blurbs for people, as well as my own (penname:)