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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I'm mostly happy with this, but you know how it is when you've read the same two paragraphs a hundred times. This is a blurb for a werewolf horror novel which is a direct sequel to a vampire horror novel I did last year (you can read the blurb for that one here if you like):

France, 1916. Europe is riven by two years of machinated slaughter in the Great War. Hundreds of miles of muddy trenches and chemically-polluted wasteland run from the North Sea to Switzerland. Here at the southern border, so-called Kilometre Zero is quiet. The enlisted men are too cold and tired to pursue valour, the officers too wary of upsetting their neutral Swiss neighbours. Both French and German forces are content to huddle by their fires and let their comrades fight it out further up the line.

But something is upsetting the silent, snowy peace of Kilometre Zero. Livestock are found mutilated, a night patrol suffers a grisly encounter, and a captured German deserter carries a dire warning. As the full moon rises above the Jura Mountains, American legionnaire Sam Carter and British officer Lucas Avery once again find themselves drawn into battle with a supernatural evil...


What do you think?
 

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I think it is pretty good as it stands, but the following sentence ...

Something is upsetting the silent, snowy peace of Kilometre Zero ...

would make a much stronger opening.

I would use it a single line (including the ellipsis) above the existing 1st paragraph. It is impactful and should draw readers in. You will, of course need to write a new sentence for the second paragraph if you were to go with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good point. I think I opened with "France, 1916," as a mirror of the first novel's "Paris, 1914," because I very much wanted to ground the reader in an immediate time and destination for a novel set on a train which does a lot of destination-hopping. This one, that's not so important.

I do hope I'm successfully getting across the gist of the location: that this is where the Western Front runs into Switzerland and abruptly terminates, and (as it was in real life) is a much quieter and more peaceful place, relatively speaking, than the front was further north.
 

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I think a lot depends on the cover. If it signals horror, then maybe potential readers will read all the way through to the second paragraph where the horror story begins. They may, like me, even appreciate the time and setting for a horror story.

If the cover does not signal horror, they may be confused about the genre. As Kathy Dee suggested, also think that bringing up the 'Something...' line to the front could work well. I don't think a lot of us have heard about Kilometr茅 Zero before so it would seem natural that the next sentence explained what that is. Ont he other hand, France, 1916 is a very economical way of setting the time and location.

A detail: at first 'the southern border' confused me. I know you started with France, but as other countries were mentioned in between I wasn't sure which border the blurb referred to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, my first instinct would be to say "Swiss" border but I then say "Swiss" neighbours in the next sentence and the subeditor in me gets irked at word repetition.
 

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My only complaint is that you are showing me another book that I want to read.聽 Like, part of me wants to read what I've got, but now part of me knows that there are vampires and werewolves in WW2 Europe.聽 ;D

And, I like the opening of "France, 1916" but I agree with JohnHansen that it depends on the cover.聽 If there is a werewolf, or if the title says werewolf in big letters, then I think the opening of "France, 1916" is perfect because people already know that the supernatural element is there.聽 If they need to get it from the blurb, then it might be more important to put something about werewolves up front.

But, yeah, I dig it.

If you were worried about the "Swiss border" thing, you could simplify the second sentence and put the Swiss part in the third.聽 Something like:
Original-Hundreds of miles of muddy trenches and chemically-polluted wasteland run from the North Sea to Switzerland. Here at the southern border, so-called Kilometre Zero is quiet.
Simpilified- Rains wash polluted water from the muddy trenches and slowly, a wasteland spreads down from the North Sea.聽 Here at the southern Swiss border, the so-called Kilometer Zero is quiet.

Ha, or something.聽 I like it the way you had it.聽 Just giving a suggestion if you were worried about that sentence.聽
 

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I prefer to see it spelled "werwolf." The beastie wasn't a man who were a wolf, but a "wer" (a man, Middle High German) who is also a wolf.
 

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I like the blurb. It's really tight. But maybe the protags should be mentioned earlier and we should know what they're doing in the war zone and what they want and what the stakes are if they don't get it. Here's just a rough version rearranging the order. The details of course need to be yours.

France, 1916. Europe is riven by two years of merciless slaughter in the Great War. American legionnaire Sam Carter and British officer Lucas Avery tread carefully amongst the hundreds of miles of muddy trenches and chemically-polluted wasteland run from the North Sea to Switzerland. They've been on a peacekeeping mission, and all they want is to get home safely and not see anymore killing. Fortunately, when they reach the southern border, the so-called Kilometre Zero is quiet. The enlisted men are too cold and tired to pursue valour, the officers too wary of upsetting their neutral Swiss neighbours. Both French and German forces are content to huddle by their fires and let their comrades fight it out further up the line, which suits Carter and Avery just fine.

But the snowy peace of Kilometre Zero turns out to be an illusion as livestock are found mutilated, a night patrol suffers a grisly encounter, and a captured German deserter carries a dire warning. As the full moon rises, Carter and Avery's hopes of getting home sink, and they find themselves drawn into battle with a supernatural evil that threatens the demise of not only their bodies but their eternal souls.



And although livestock being found mutilated is close to categorically being caused by supernatural entities, I think you could come up with something that is surely caused by such entities. Especially in a war zone grisly encounters and dire warnings are commonplace. And yeah, the livestock could be mutilated as the fleeing army destroys them so the enemy won't be able to utilize them. Maybe "hideously mutilated" might do it.
 

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I'm coming to this a little late, but wanted to drop in and say, "I love it." Werewolf stories always get my attention, and I like the setting and characters in this one.

When will the book be available?

P.S. I also like Kathy's comment about the opening, but either way, it sounds great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I ended up keeping it the same (though substituted machinated for mechanised - thanks Morrow) because I felt the cover does strongly signal horror, and I'm not too concerned about the historical/horror confusion; it's a direct sequel to another book and marketed as such, so I'm not expecting to pick up too many readers who haven't read the first.

For those who expressed an interest, it's now up on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F22WZ2V

And as I said, it's a direct sequel to my earlier book Vampire on the Orient Express, which will be marked down to 99c all of next week:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TNP6YNG
 
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