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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, guys!

I'm so close to releasing LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS, I can taste it, and now I'm getting my blurb ready to go...

May I get some opinions and advice?  :)  I haven't tweaked this since it was a query letter, so any critiques would be *greatly* appreciated!

The book is a 95k fantasy novel.  Here's what I have so far:


Astrid’s been a prisoner in her own castle since she was a child. Her mother, the queen, locked her away after being corrupted by dark magic—the same evil that is spreading throughout the kingdoms of Taleria and feeding off the people.

Now eighteen, Astrid escapes using a book of magic she found hidden under the floor.  Power is growing within her--she hopes it will be enough to stop her mother and save the lands from the shadow creeping over them. To scourge the dark magic, she must find and free an imprisoned Empress who banished the same evil centuries before.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of her concerns.  As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.


Help?  Thanks in advance!  :D
 

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I'm not good at blurbs, but I think this is good:

Astrid's been a prisoner in her own castle since she was a child. Her mother, the queen, locked her away after being corrupted by dark magic-the same evil that is spreading throughout the kingdoms of Taleria and feeding off the people. Using a book of magic that she found hidden under the floor, Astrid escapes from her prison. To scourge the dark magic, she must find and free an imprisoned Empress who banished the same evil centuries before.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of her concerns. As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.


I didn't do much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the help, Ryne! ;)

Do you think it's... I have no idea how to say this... snappy enough? Does it draw you in, or is it lackluster? Do you want more detail?

Thanks again, everyone!
 

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I like the edited version.

I would cut the word scourge, it's not flowing/working although that kind of feedback is nit picky.

You are right that it's not snappy enough. You need a really strong first sentence with a good hook--I'm drawing a blank, but that's what I would focus on, punching up that first sentence. The rest of it is fine, I think with the suggested edits.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, you guys!  :)

I'm trying to come up with a zazzy intro line.... and currently coming up with cheesy badness.

I'll keep working on it, but any suggestions are very welcome  :p.

I do love that we can adjust these blurbs as we go.  It's VERY comforting!
 

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I usually get my snazziest lines when talking outloud to myself or someone else. For some reason that gets my brain working in high gear.

M
 

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How about something like this?

A dark magic spreads through the kingdon of Taleria.  The queen is corrupted.  Princess Astrid, held prisoner in the castle by her mother for years, discovers a book of magic beneath the floorboards and uses its power to escape.  She must find an imprisoned Empress who banished the evil that roams the land centuries before.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses, threaten Astrid's survival as she faces the darkness before her.  But something far worse faces the princess; to save the land, she may ultimately have to watch it burn.



Angelina
 

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I'm not very confident writing blurbs either. But I am a totally qualified expert on my opinion.

I think overall it is a bit lackluster. I have a feeling Angelina's suggestion is moving closer to snazzy. I think the issue may be that the blurb needs to start more with story present, rather than backstory, and to be told more from the pov of the princess. For instance, "All these obstacles are the least of her concern" sounds like the author telling about the book. But something like "Astrid discovers the many obstacles she faces to be the least of her concern" makes it more active, about what is happening to the character. (Obviously, though, please write it much better than my example!)--Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, we're going for more ZAZZ ;).

Is this getting better?

A dark magic spreads through the kingdon of Taleria, feeding off its people. The queen is corrupted, seduced by its evil promise. Astrid, held prisoner in the castle by her mother for years, discovers a book of magic beneath the floorboards, and uses its power to escape.

The only way to save Taleria is to free the Empress who banished the same darkness centuries before. Astrid doesn't know the first thing about being a hero, much less journeying to the Crystal Fortress where the old woman is imprisoned. She's never been outside her mother's grasp, and now the queen's spies are hot on her heels.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of her concerns. As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.
 

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RebeccaKnight said:
A dark magic spreads through the kingdon of Taleria, feeding off its people. The queen is corrupted, seduced by its evil promise. Astrid, held prisoner in the castle by her mother for years, discovers a book of magic beneath the floorboards, and uses its power to escape.

The only way to save Taleria is to free the Empress who banished the same darkness centuries before. Astrid doesn't know the first thing about being a hero, much less journeying to the Crystal Fortress where the old woman is imprisoned. She's never been outside her mother's grasp, and now the queen's spies are hot on her heels.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of her concerns. As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.
I think overall this is more zazzier.

I still don't feel any better about the second last sentence. And I don't really know what "the Empress who banished the same darkness centuries before" means. It just reads kind of murky. Also there might arise confusion in the first graph, associating "Astrid" with the "queen".

The opening is much more immediate. The second and third sentences of the second graph are the most gripping of all.
 
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This sentence:

Her mother, the queen, locked her away after being corrupted by dark magic-the same evil that is spreading throughout the kingdoms of Taleria and feeding off the people.
Taken literally the mother is the one corrupted by dark magic. But it FEELS as if you mean that the daughter is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I totally see what you mean about the Astrid/queen mix up at the beginning.... why must these blurbs be so hard to write? :p LOL. At least I'm not alone.

Okay, another shot:

A dark magic spreads through the kingdon of Taleria, feeding off its people. The queen is corrupted, seduced by its evil promise. Princess Astrid, held prisoner in the castle by her mother for years, discovers a book of magic, and uses its power to escape.

The only way to save Taleria is to free the Empress of legend who banished the same dark magic centuries before. Astrid doesn't know the first thing about being a hero, much less journeying to the Crystal Fortress where the old woman is imprisoned. She's never been outside her mother's grasp, and now the queen's spies are hot on her heels.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of Astrid's concerns. As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.


Also, please let me know if I'm now making it worse... heheh. Thanks, everyone!
 

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It is improving. Let me offer this first sentence:

Dark magic grips the kingdom of Taleria, feeding off its people and corrupting its queen, seduced by its evil promise. Princess Astrid, held prisoner in the castle by her mother since childhood, escapes a slow death by using a book of magic discovered beneath the floorboards of her tower cell.

Bob Cherny
Author of Swamp Witch
http://clublighthousepublishing.com/productpage.asp?bNumb=221
 

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First, let me say that it looks pretty solid from the get-go. Good work.

RebeccaKnight said:
Astrid's been a prisoner in her own castle since she was a child. Her mother, the queen, locked her away after being corrupted by dark magic-the same evil that is spreading throughout the kingdoms of Taleria and feeding off the people.
Couple things:

(1) My eye kept glitching the second sentence and making me think that Astrid was the one who had been corrupted by dark magic.

(2) I think the first sentence could be snappier if you make it more immediate.

A possible solution for both problems: Astrid is a prisoner in her own castle. Her mother, the queen, was corrupted by dark magic when Astrid was only a child. She locked Astrid away, and allowed the magic's evil to feast upon her subjects, spreading its blight through the kingdom of Taleria.

Now eighteen, Astrid escapes using a book of magic she found hidden under the floor. Power is growing within her--she hopes it will be enough to stop her mother and save the lands from the shadow creeping over them. To scourge the dark magic, she must find and free an imprisoned Empress who banished the same evil centuries before.
As a blurb-reader, do I need to know where she found the book? Might be snappier to cut the superfluity.

How many other imprisoned empresses also banished the same evil centuries ago? Specificity is probably strong there. Also, "before" what?

Less essentially, I find it can add punch if you set a specific point in time and describe the plot around that point. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule by any stretch of the imagination, but it can help to prevent a blurb from sounding like a plot summary.

Something like, Now Astrid is eighteen, and she has unlocked the secrets of a book of magic. Power is growing within her--perhaps power enough to escape if she can be clever enough. But Astrid is certain it won't be enough to save the lands from the shadow creeping over them. To stop her mother and scourge the dark magic, she will need to find and free the imprisoned Empress who banished the same evil centuries ago.

This has the effect of keeping us focused on the concept of "Astrid is a prisoner in her own castle". I find that to be an interesting and compelling image (and I'm assuming you do, too, since you led off with it). It immediately establishes the type of character Astrid is (as opposed to the poor farmboys who are often haring off on this sort of epic fantasy quest). And it keeps the stakes for that predicament high and immediate. Thus we pile additional complications on top of those stakes (she'll have to escape and then find the Empress and then and then and then) instead of deflating those stakes by resolving them in the next sentence.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, and the deadly mystery of the book she possesses are the least of her concerns. As she faces the darkness before her, she discovers that saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.
"She possesses" seems like another superfluity to me. And "concerns" seems to carry with it fairly low stakes. Cut the first and crank up the second for something like:

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, her mother's pursuit, and the deadly mystery of the book will threaten her very life, but they will be the least of her perils. In the darkness before her, saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.

Or, to put that all together and polishing it a bit:

ASTRID IS A PRISONER IN HER OWN CASTLE.

Her mother, the queen, was once beautiful and fair. But when Astrid was only a child, she was corrupted by dark magic and locked her daughter away, allowing the the magic's evil to feast upon her subjects, spreading its blight through the kingdom of Taleria.

Now Astrid is eighteen, and she has unlocked the secrets of a hidden book of magic. Power is growing within her--power enough to escape if she can find the cleverness to use it. But even with the book at her side, Astrid won't be able to save her lands from the shadow creeping over them. To stop her mother and scourge the dark magic, she will need to find and free the imprisoned Empress who banished the same evil centuries ago.

Beautiful creatures twisted into monsters, uncertain allies, her mother's pursuit, and the deadly mystery of the book itself will threaten her very life, but they will be the least of her perils. In the darkness before her, saving the land she loves may ultimately mean watching it burn.
 
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