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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m trying to tweak my blurb and get people out of the assumption that Ain’t No Sunshine is a romance. It’s a dark and disturbing book with a few romantic elements.

Current Blurb:
WHITES ONLY
Those words adorned every building in Livingston, Virginia during the summer of 1963 confusing and angering a five-year-old Stephen Phillips. Those words told Stephen that what he felt for his colored neighbor Ruthie was wrong. As he grows older, Ruthie becomes the only ray of sunshine in his abusive life and he is not willing to let her go without a fight, a fight that could lead to murder.


Revision:
Racism and revenge are business as usual in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South. Though it is against the law, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie is the only ray of sunshine in his abusive life and he’s not willing to let her go without a fight. A fight that could lead to murder.
 

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That revised blurb is much, much better :)  I found the first one hard going to understand, and the second one flowed nicely and I get a sense of who's who and what's important.

Some niggles - I keep stumbling on "abusive life".  I think it means that Stephen has been the victim of abuse, and that this abuse is continuing in his life.  But I'm sure there must be a better way to express that.  "in a life of abuse and struggle" or something like that?  Second niggle - "ray of sunshine" is a bit of a cliche.  Even "the only light" would be better, but I think the right expression here could lift your blurb right out to make it grab attention. 
 

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Racism and revenge are business as usual in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South. Though it is against the law, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie is the only ray of sunshine in his abusive life and he's not willing to let her go without a fight. A fight that could lead to murder.
I agree. The revision is much better. I love that second sentence (and, already, I'm wondering when and where I can buy this book??) But I'm just not sure about the first sentence. Personally, I'd begin with, "Though it is against the law..." because that is a much more interesting sentence. I'd integrate the first sentence into the rest of the blurb. Something like: "Though it is against the law in segregated (Alabama, Louisiana, wherever), the love Stephen Phillips feels for..." I just don't think you need the rest of that first sentence. And I also agree that 'abusive life' isn't quite right, either.

Don't you just hate writing blurbs? I'm stuck on mine, too :mad:

Good luck, Sybil. And be sure to let us know when the book is available to buy! I so want to read it.
 

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Yes, the revision is better, but...

I agree with masha...the term "abusive" is ambiguous.

Shouldn't you be mentioning somewhere in the revision that the story begins with Stephen as a child? Is Ruthie a child, too? Or an older person he's fond of?

WPG



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The book is already available. It's called Ain't No Sunshine. I'm changing the blurb because a lot of the negative reviews I get come from people who seem to think this is a romance. It's party a romance, but it's more of a psychological dance.

Thanks for the suggestions. How about this:

Though it is against the law in 1960's Virginia, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie is the only chance at happiness he has after growing up in an abusive home. No matter the law, he’s not willing to let her go without a fight, a fight that could lead to murder. Racism and revenge are business as usual in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South.
 

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I really liked the second one and parts of the third one. Maybe you could merge the two - keep the first line of the second one and then add to that with the better explantion about abusive in the third. I just really like the first line of the second.

Blurb writing sucks.  I am trying to retool mine and this is the worst case of blank page syndrome I have ever had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Racism and revenge are business as usual in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South. Though it is against the law in 1960s Virginia, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie is his only chance at happiness after growing up in an abusive home. No matter the law, he’s not willing to let her go without a fight, a fight that could lead to murder.
 

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some notes:

Racism and revenge (not quite sure this is the right word, given the other versions of blurb, i'm assuming the 'fight' is between stephen and someone offended by his love for ruthie ... would that really be revenge?) are business as usual (cliche) in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of in the segregated South. Though it is against the law (is love really against the law? or just intermarriage? or should we call it poetic license?) in 1960s Virginia, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie (in an earlier version you made me think they were kids - i'm assuming now that this is the story of their growing up together?) is his only chance at happiness after growing up in an abusive home. No matter the law, he's not willing to let her go without a fight, (i'd like to know with whom?) a fight that could lead to murder.

my quick stab based on those notes:

Racism and violence are the culture of the segregated South. So in 1960s Virginia, Stephen Phillips is crossing society's acceptable boundaries as his love for his colored neighbor Ruthie stays with him through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. But she was worth the risk of the world's wrath: Stephen grew up in an abusive home, and he saw her as his only chance for happiness. So he's ready to fight for her--even if it's a fight to the death.
 

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Racism and revenge are business as usual in this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South. Though it is against the law in 1960s Virginia, the love Stephen Phillips feels for his colored neighbor Ruthie is his only chance at happiness after growing up in an abusive home. No matter the law, he's not willing to let her go without a fight, a fight that could lead to murder.
I think you have a winner ;) Now that you explained things, I understand why you included that first sentence. The book's blurb didn't scream 'romance' at me, but I could see where some people might misconstrue it.

btw...I looked for the book on Amazon but couldn't find it. Could you possibly send me a link?
 

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Just an idea, if you like:

After a life of abuse and neglect, Stephen Phillips may finally find happiness with his colored neighbor Ruthie. However, 1960’s Virginia has no place for their feelings. The state will imprison them; their intolerant neighbors may do worse. Stephen chooses to fight for love, a fight that may lead to murder. Racism and revenge darken this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mscott9985 said:
I think you have a winner ;) Now that you explained things, I understand why you included that first sentence. The book's blurb didn't scream 'romance' at me, but I could see where some people might misconstrue it.

btw...I looked for the book on Amazon but couldn't find it. Could you possibly send me a link?
You can click on the cover in my signature. Or:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00408AYJU
 

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John Twipnook said:
Just an idea, if you like:

After a life of abuse and neglect, Stephen Phillips may finally find happiness with his colored neighbor Ruthie. However, 1960's Virginia has no place for their feelings. The state will imprison them; their intolerant neighbors may do worse. Stephen chooses to fight for love, a fight that may lead to murder. Racism and revenge darken this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South.
I like this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another tweak:


Though it is against the law in 1960s Virginia, Stephen Phillips wants to marry his colored neighbor, Ruthie. Growing up in a physically abusive home, his love for Ruthie is the only thing that has helped him survive. Instead of giving in to societal and family prejudice, Stephen decides to fight for love. And it’s a fight that could lead to murder. Racism and revenge darken this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South.
 

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Sybil Nelson said:
Another tweak:

Though it is against the law in 1960s Virginia, Stephen Phillips wants to marry his colored neighbor, Ruthie. Growing up in a physically abusive home, his love for Ruthie is the only thing that has helped him survive. Instead of giving in to societal and family prejudice, Stephen decides to fight for love. And it's a fight that could lead to murder. Racism and revenge darken this psychological drama set against the backdrop of the segregated South.
I like it, all apart from the work 'societal'. For some reason it stands out to me, makes me stop reading and try to digest it. I don't know, but wouldn't 'social' work as well?
 

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Shaun Jeffrey said:
I like it, all apart from the work 'societal'. For some reason it stands out to me, makes me stop reading and try to digest it. I don't know, but wouldn't 'social' work as well?
ditto. i would maybe recast: "Instead of giving in to racism, Stephen decides ..." or "Instead of accepting the rules of prejudice, Stephen decides ..."
 
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