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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hiya! Yeah, it's me again, sorry. I have been given a rare opportunity to pitch a high/epic fantasy novel to a small press publisher. I need to get it to them in three days, so I would LOVE it if you guys would beat up this blurb until it sounds like something a fantasy/sci-fi publisher might want to buy.

Mind you, this manuscript is about 70% finished and due to life and my writing career, it got shelved back in 2015, so I know there are things that need to be updated, changed, removed, etc. For now, this is the blurb I wrote back in January 2015 for it, so please have at it.

In the land of Aria, King Maradar has declared genocide on all elementals--those born with the ability to control the Sky, Land, Air, Water, Fire, and commune with Animals or Dragons. He commands an army of magical golden soldiers that cannot be killed. A Water elemental named Lorelei is the sole survivor of her family's murder thanks to Captain Larq--a Sky elemental who has a squad that rescues the cities that the King's Army attacks. Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei join's Larq's ranks to become a soldier and master her element. As the squad travels, they find out that there is a lost city that may be the salvation of all elementals. Not long after they arrive, someone betrays the elementals and alerts the King to the city's location. The brigade has two days to get to the King's palace and overthrow him or the lost city will be destroyed.

Edits and suggestions VERY welcome. Once again, I am on a three-day deadline, so don't be shy. Beat up my blurb. I welcome your feedback.
 

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First, I would research what the small press publisher requires. It used to be, and I haven't written a description (which is different from a blurb) for a publisher in ages, but I seem to remember that they want a few short paragraphs that move the story along complete with the way it ends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, I would research what the small press publisher requires. It used to be, and I haven't written a description (which is different from a blurb) for a publisher in ages, but I seem to remember that they want a few short paragraphs that move the story along complete with the way it ends.
So I spoke with the publisher's founder and he specifically said "your three best pitches," so I'm under the impression that I will send him the three, he picks the one(s) he likes, and then I would send him an actual synopsis. That's what's happened a time or two in the past, so yes, I will prepare one of those, but for now, I just need someone to eyeball the elevator pitch/blurb. I can expand into the synopsis once I have the groundwork, assuming anyone here provides feedback.
 

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What you have there is great. I searched for something to correct to help you. If you want to edit for clarity, remove the types of elements and just write "elements" from the first sentence. And remove the second sentence entirely. I don't see how the second sentence and the King's army is that pertinent.

But a pitch is a two sentence enticement, right? More like an ad. Yours reads a bit more like a query letter (but I haven't written a query letter in four years. I don't remember proper etiquette anymore).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What you have there is great. I searched for something to correct to help you. If you want to edit for clarity, remove the types of elements and just write "elements" from the first sentence. And remove the second sentence entirely. I don't see how the second sentence and the King's army is that pertinent.

But a pitch is a two sentence enticement, right? More like an ad. Yours reads a bit more like a query letter (but I haven't written a query letter in four years. I don't remember proper etiquette anymore).
This doesn't seem to be quite as formal as a query letter, but I spent 2-3 years doing queries before I went and self published, so you have a point there. He didn't specify if he wanted a literal elevator pitch, so that's why I tried to go with just a small paragraph. I think maybe he'd have told me if he literally wanted like the tagline pitch, which is often just 1-2 sentences? I'm gonna have to feel it out when I send it to him, probably.

Excellent! Thank you for the feedback. I agree, yeah, I can trim those two sentences off no problem and that also helps keeping it brief in case that's what he wants. Again, this was an informal offer given to me verbally, so I'm going based on what I believe he wants from me.
 

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I'll try to make a few "take 'em or leave 'em suggestions. First, I'm wondering if you need a stronger first line to get the publisher's attentions.

In the land of Aria, King Maradar sought to destroy all those born to control the elements.


Lorelei, a Water elemental is the sole survivor of her murdered family, thanks to Captain Larq--a Sky elemental who has a squad that rescues the cities that the King's Army attacks. (It is not clear if the captain murdered her family or rescued her.)

Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei join's Larq's ranks to become a soldier and master her element.

As the squad travels, they discover a lost city that might be the salvation of all elementals.

Not long after they arrive, someone betrays the elementals and alerts the King to the city's location. The brigade has two days to get to the King's palace and overthrow him or the lost city will be destroyed.

So, I think you could make it a little more dramatic. For example, you could start by saying the elements have only two days to overthrow the king and save their city ... then you can explain why their is a conflict. I think it's cool you call them elements, Just my thoughts. Hope it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll try to make a few "take 'em or leave 'em suggestions. First, I'm wondering if you need a stronger first line to get the publisher's attentions.

In the land of Aria, King Maradar sought to destroy all those born to control the elements.


Lorelei, a Water elemental is the sole survivor of her murdered family, thanks to Captain Larq--a Sky elemental who has a squad that rescues the cities that the King's Army attacks. (It is not clear if the captain murdered her family or rescued her.)

Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei join's Larq's ranks to become a soldier and master her element.

As the squad travels, they discover a lost city that might be the salvation of all elementals.

Not long after they arrive, someone betrays the elementals and alerts the King to the city's location. The brigade has two days to get to the King's palace and overthrow him or the lost city will be destroyed.

So, I think you could make it a little more dramatic. For example, you could start by saying the elements have only two days to overthrow the king and save their city ... then you can explain why their is a conflict. I think it's cool you call them elements, Just my thoughts. Hope it helps.
Revision below:

In the land of Aria, King Maradar has declared genocide on all elementals. A Water elemental named Lorelei is the sole survivor of her family's murder, rescued by Captain Larq--a Sky elemental who has a squad that saves the cities the King's Army attacks. Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei joins Larq's ranks to become a soldier and master her element. As the squad travels, they discover a lost city that may be the salvation of all elementals, but a traitor alerts the King to the city's location. The elementals have only two days to reach the King's palace and overthrow him or the lost city will be destroyed.
 

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The concept sounds intriguing, but I suspect the publisher might be expecting something shorter, especially since I was having trouble going through the entire blurb. It feels a bit like it's all over the place. I don't have a lot of time right now to give more feedback, but I'll try to dive more into it later today.

Love the elemental angle, though, that definitely caught my attention ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The concept sounds intriguing, but I suspect the publisher might be expecting something shorter, especially since I was having trouble going through the entire blurb. It feels a bit like it's all over the place. I don't have a lot of time right now to give more feedback, but I'll try to dive more into it later today.

Love the elemental angle, though, that definitely caught my attention ;)
I think the difference is tagline vs. pitch. He didn't say tagline, so I'm assuming a blurb, which is 5 sentences or less. The tagline is "Avatar: The Last Airbender meets the X-Men." If you're talking about an elevator pitch, or one liner, then it would be something along the lines of: "A cruel king sends a magical army to wipe out the lost city of elementals and it's up to the resistance movement to stop him." I'm experienced with each type, but I was under the impression he just wants a blurb and then if he likes the idea, I can send on a full synopsis. Again, this is based on my query letter experience: send the query, then they decide if they want more, and the query is always 4-5 sentences only.
 

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I think the difference is tagline vs. pitch. He didn't say tagline, so I'm assuming a blurb, which is 5 sentences or less. The tagline is "Avatar: The Last Airbender meets the X-Men." If you're talking about an elevator pitch, or one liner, then it would be something along the lines of: "A cruel king sends a magical army to wipe out the lost city of elementals and it's up to the resistance movement to stop him." I'm experienced with each type, but I was under the impression he just wants a blurb and then if he likes the idea, I can send on a full synopsis. Again, this is based on my query letter experience: send the query, then they decide if they want more, and the query is always 4-5 sentences only.
OK, so assuming it's really a blurb he wants, here are my thoughts--broken down by sentence. I'll use the revised version.

In the land of Aria, King Maradar has declared genocide on all elementals.
This is a good beginning, it caught my attention. Admittedly, I'm biased, because I have a thing for anything that has to do with the elements ;)

I do wonder though if "has declared genocide" is a proper way of phrasing that. I might be wrong, but it feels weird to me. I'd go more with something like 'wants to commit genocide' or 'is intent/set on committing genocide'. Or something like that.

A Water elemental named Lorelei is the sole survivor of her family's murder, rescued by Captain Larq--a Sky elemental who has a squad that saves the cities the King's Army attacks.
You lost me with this one. It's too long and the reader loses track of what's going on. It takes rereading the sentence 2-3 times to finally get it. I'd suggest simplifying. I get that you want to keep the blurb to 5 sentences, but lengthy ones like this won't really help your case, I don't think.

What you could do, is work some of this into the next sentence, and shorten this one to focus just on Lorelei. Something like "After surviving her family's murder, a water elemental named Lorelei is rescued by Captain Larq, a sky elemental."

Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei joins Larq's ranks to become a soldier and master her element.
So here, you could incorporate the cropped out part from the previous sentence, in a condensed form. Like this, for instance: "Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei joins Larq's resistance squad, where she will become a soldier and learn to master her element."

Here's my logic: your opening sentence states that the king wants to commit genocide against the elementals. And since we know that Larq is an elemental, saying 'resistance squad' is enough to understand that he fights the king, which means we can easily take out the whole bit about him having "a squad that saves the cities the King's Army attacks". I left the word 'squad' in there, but you could probably take that one out too, 'resistance' would likely suffice.

As the squad travels, they discover a lost city that may be the salvation of all elementals, but a traitor alerts the King to the city's location.
Oooohh... elementals and a lost city, cool! :D

This sentence looks good, not much to say. Except maybe use 'mole' instead of 'traitor'? But it's a minor point.

The elementals have only two days to reach the King's palace and overthrow him or the lost city will be destroyed.
Perfect ending ;)

So you mainly have two sentences that need work.

I'm not saying my suggestions above are perfect, BTW (and they probably aren't LOL) but hopefully they'll give you some ideas how to tweak your blurb to make it work better.

Also, I'd suggest breaking up your blurb into paragraphs to make it easier to read. Seeing a big chunk of text like that always makes me cringe ;)

Hope this helps.

And good luck with that publisher!
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, so assuming it's really a blurb he wants, here are my thoughts--broken down by sentence. I'll use the revised version.


This is a good beginning, it caught my attention. Admittedly, I'm biased, because I have a thing for anything that has to do with the elements ;)

I do wonder though if "has declared genocide" is a proper way of phrasing that. I might be wrong, but it feels weird to me. I'd go more with something like 'wants to commit genocide' or 'is intent/set on committing genocide'. Or something like that.


You lost me with this one. It's too long and the reader loses track of what's going on. It takes rereading the sentence 2-3 times to finally get it. I'd suggest simplifying. I get that you want to keep the blurb to 5 sentences, but lengthy ones like this won't really help your case, I don't think.

What you could do, is work some of this into the next sentence, and shorten this one to focus just on Lorelei. Something like "After surviving her family's murder, a water elemental named Lorelei is rescued by Captain Larq, a sky elemental."


So here, you could incorporate the cropped out part from the previous sentence, in a condensed form. Like this, for instance: "Determined to avenge her family, Lorelei joins Larq's resistance squad, where she will become a soldier and learn to master her element."

Here's my logic: your opening sentence states that the king wants to commit genocide against the elementals. And since we know that Larq is an elemental, saying 'resistance squad' is enough to understand that he fights the king, which means we can easily take out the whole bit about him having "a squad that saves the cities the King's Army attacks". I left the word 'squad' in there, but you could probably take that one out too, 'resistance' would likely suffice.


Oooohh... elementals and a lost city, cool! :D

This sentence looks good, not much to say. Except maybe use 'mole' instead of 'traitor'? But it's a minor point.


Perfect ending ;)

So you mainly have two sentences that need work.

I'm not saying my suggestions above are perfect, BTW (and they probably aren't LOL) but hopefully they'll give you some ideas how to tweak your blurb to make it work better.

Also, I'd suggest breaking up your blurb into paragraphs to make it easier to read. Seeing a big chunk of text like that always makes me cringe ;)

Hope this helps.

And good luck with that publisher!
How about: " A Water elemental named Lorelei is the sole survivor of her family's murder, rescued by Captain Larq--a Sky elemental leading the resistance movement." ?

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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A Water elemental named Lorelei is the sole survivor of her family's murder, rescued by Captain Larq--a Sky elemental leading the resistance movement.
It's slightly better, though it doesn't solve all the issues ;)
 
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