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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have decided to change out the cover and blurb for my first book. The second should be published middle of this year, and I wanted to get a theme to the covers, get the blurbs right etc.

I had someone help me with the current version of the blurb. I have a few issues with it, but I couldn't do any better at the time so I rolled with it. This is the current version:

Once a Prince, now a slave. Once a torturer, now a liberator. But still his transformation is nowhere near complete...

Saul Baz Sharmoun has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire was set ablaze within him, growing brighter with each of the twelve years since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. With his hunger for retribution fueling him, Saul begins an epic journey, searching for his brother and looking to rebuild a world that would allow the crown in his family's name to rise from the ashes.

But the road to justice is never a straight one. Saul and the uncertain allies fighting alongside him find themselves up against a much greater enemy than they could have imagined. If he is to emerge victorious, he must fan the flames in his heart, and never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done...no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.
It's not the worst thing in the world, but it could be better and has some elements that, while applicable to the trilogy, is not at all relevant to the first book. In particular as it relates to his brother. That is very much a background thing. The first books is more of a heist novel, and revolves around his attempts to steal his kingdom's crown from the emperor.

So, here is my current stab at it. It still needs work, though, but I am somewhat at a loss. Help?

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire was set ablaze within him, growing brighter with each of the twelve years since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. Saul begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the crown in his family's name to rise from the ashes. The only problem is that the crown is locked away in the emperor's vault. Saul intends to steal it from under his nose.

But the road to justice is never a straight one. Saul and the allies fighting alongside him find themselves up against a much greater enemy than they could have imagined. If he is to emerge victorious, he must fan the flames in his heart, and never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.
 

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Good start. I'm about to take my cat to the vet, so here are a few quick thoughts. I'm looking at the second version.

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. I would tell in this first sentence that he is royalty. A fire was set ablaze within him passive sentence , growing brighter with each of the twelve years since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. Long sentence, could break in 2 Saul begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the crown in his family's name to rise from the ashes. Crown here means rulership The only problem is that the crown is locked away in the emperor's vault. Saul intends to steal it from under his nose. This is a physical crown, not the same as crown just mentioned, plus this is not the only problem -- the bigger problem is taking the kingdom back.


But the road to justice is never a straight one. Saul and the allies fighting alongside him find themselves up against a much greater enemy than they could have imagined. Too vague, can you give details? If he is to emerge victorious, he must fan the flames in his heart, but it sounds like he has plenty of passion from the first paragraph and never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. This paragraph would be stronger if you made it less vague, added some details, spelled out a crisis

One last thought. You might add a name for the world or something else so people can tell at a glance that this is fantasy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
HAGrant said:
Good start. I'm about to take my cat to the vet, so here are a few quick thoughts. I'm looking at the second version.

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. I would tell in this first sentence that he is royalty. A fire was set ablaze within him passive sentence , growing brighter with each of the twelve years since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. Long sentence, could break in 2 Saul begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the crown in his family's name to rise from the ashes. Crown here means rulership The only problem is that the crown is locked away in the emperor's vault. Saul intends to steal it from under his nose. This is a physical crown, not the same as crown just mentioned, plus this is not the only problem -- the bigger problem is taking the kingdom back.


But the road to justice is never a straight one. Saul and the allies fighting alongside him find themselves up against a much greater enemy than they could have imagined. Too vague, can you give details? If he is to emerge victorious, he must fan the flames in his heart, but it sounds like he has plenty of passion from the first paragraph and never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. This paragraph would be stronger if you made it less vague, added some details, spelled out a crisis

One last thought. You might add a name for the world or something else so people can tell at a glance that this is fantasy.
Ok lets see...

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the crown of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and the allies fighting alongside him plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves up against the inquisition, their mad sorcerers, and an older power that works to twist the world to its own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.

Thoughts?

I realize I mentioned the crown in two sentences, each with their own meaning, but I can't think of how to solve this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another attempt:

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice.  A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and the allies fighting alongside him plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves up against the inquisition, and find themselves caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.
 

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Paul K said:
Another attempt:

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and the allies fighting alongside him plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves up against the inquisition, and find themselves caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.
I like the idea, but the blurb seems a bit wordy and makes it a little hard to understand. Here's a quick trimming...

"Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: a desire for justice. A fire has burned within him ever since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must stop at nothing to see this done . . . no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way."

Just my idea. Good luck! :)
 

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Your synopsis hints at a very strong story, so pls don't be offended by my heavy nit-picking below. Essentially, I miss a lot of "logic steps" to understand what's going on in your story -- based on the "usual suspects" of story (the before-the-story, the inciting incident, the need to act NOW, the hero's character arc, the imperative/impossible goal, etc.).

Once upon a time (before the story begins) the hero usually has had - or has had the dream-of/hope-for - a good life. In your case, Saul's "good life" or hope of it, was presumably to become king one day and ensure (or preserve) peace and prosperity for his family and his people.

Then something very bad happened that shut down the good life and "damaged" the hero. In your case, the Empire killed his family, took away their crown, and enslaved Saul and his people.

As the story opens, the hero has been living a "limited" life for a long while - because no other options seem to exist, given his circumstances and himself. In your case, Saul has been a slave for twelve years and has a hard time keeping alive his hope for freedom and justice (otherwise, why hasn't he already tried a prison break or a slave uprising?).

But now something has happened that makes right-now the time for trying to get rid of his shackles, see justice done, and free his people. But I don't quite see what that 'something' is ... and why it makes NOW the precise time where the fight for freedom might begin.

Whatever it is, it makes it essential to steal back the crown - but how would that ensure justice and a return to freedom, peace and prosperity for his people? And what is it about getting back the crown that makes allies indispensable (otherwise, why would he need them)?

And why is overcoming the inquisition essential to getting-back-the-crown and winning-back-freedom? And how is all that complicated further by "unseen war as older powers work to twist the world"?

Finally, to achieve the must-be-done-despite-being-(almost)-impossible, Saul has to make sure NOT to "forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way."

That sounds as if the "hero's problem", or the character-growth that Saul has to go through in order to do what must be done, has something to do with Saul actually at risk of "forgetting that he will stop at nothing" ... but I can't tell from the synopsis that this has been his problem? Is an aversion to spilling blood what has kept him (reluctantly) accepting his shackles until now? Is something worse than learning to spilling blood about to happen now - making NOW the time where Saul has to make his bid for freedom and justice?

And what is Saul's "personal drive" in all this? The wish for justice / vengeance is a strong one, but a bit abstract if he lost his entire family twelve years ago. And the wish to free his people, however noble, is also a bit abstract. One of the reasons that so many of Mel Gibson's movies (speaking as a non-fan!) have such a strong, clear emotional impact is that his kith & kin are at invariably at immediate, mortal risk - same basic story in "Apocalypto", "Braveheart", "The Patriot", "Signs", "Edge of Darkness" and probably more of'em.

A lot of 2-cents, sorry - take what's useful - if anything is - and move on ;o)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, I'll think on it some more.
 

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I think once the blurb is trimmed/reworded, it's intriguing and easy to understand :) Saul's a slave whose family was killed by the Emperor, and he whips together a band of rebels to take down the Emperor to get revenge and take back his kingdom. That's really the only information I think you would need to convey in the blurb. I think it sounds like an awesome story. Best of luck!
 

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kjbryen said:
"Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: a desire for justice. A fire has burned within him ever since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must stop at nothing to see this done . . . no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way."
I like this reworking, especially the shorter sentences. I agree that you don't have to explain everything in the blurb. Just tell enough to interest the reader for a look inside on the book page.
 

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Paul K said:
Another attempt:

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and the allies fighting alongside him plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from under the emperor's nose. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves up against the inquisition, and find themselves caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. If he is to emerge victorious, he must never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.
I think it's a pretty good blurb. It's far better than the original - but that's the way with blurbs: they get better after each bit of polishing. Here are my comments:

Great tagline.

I agree with the general trend that the blurb needs just a touch more tightening up.

Saul and the allies fighting alongside him... If they're allies it's (more or less) a given that they're fighting beside him. Maybe just Saul and his allies?

...under the emperor's nose. This phrase breaks the pretty heavy tone that you've got going. Books need variation, but I think it's jarring in a blurb.

...find themselves. This is a repetition.

...up against the inquisition. I think you can find a stronger phrasing than "up against."

...older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Another great line. It lets the reader know this is epic fantasy.

If he is to emerge victorious, he must never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done, no matter... This is a very long winded way of saying what you mean. I would consider making the line far more punchy, especially as it's the last line of the blurb, which is valuable real estate.

Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok... how about this one?

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice.  A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor’s vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the chains of his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
 

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Looks good to me. A few minor points:

It's a great tagline, but is it grammatically correct? Shouldn't "they" being the empire, be "it?" Of course, in context, it's clear that "they" refers to the people running the empire, rather than the empire itself. And is it correct to capitalize "empire?"

break the chains of his people... It struck me that this was a bit repetitious after the earlier "...escape his shackles..."

The new ending is stronger. Of course, it sends out a pretty clear message of dark fantasy and that your MC might be quite ruthless. I assume you're OK with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jack Krenneck said:
Looks good to me. A few minor points:

It's a great tagline, but is it grammatically correct? Shouldn't "they" being the empire, be "it?" Of course, in context, it's clear that "they" refers to the people running the empire, rather than the empire itself. And is it correct to capitalize "empire?"

break the chains of his people... It struck me that this was a bit repetitious after the earlier "...escape his shackles..."

The new ending is stronger. Of course, it sends out a pretty clear message of dark fantasy and that your MC might be quite ruthless. I assume you're OK with that.
Empire should not be capitalized, you are correct. I think "they" works better, and yes, does refer to those running it.

Will think on an alternative way to structure the breaking chains bit.

Dark fantasy is a pretty good description. Certainly leans in the grimdark directions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This?

The empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice.  A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor's vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the empire’s grip on his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
 

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A lot more forceful now! You get the backstory, the hero "presentation" and his challenge succinctly and elegantly weaved into the blurb.

I just miss one thing. You write "he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now."

I know it's nit-picking, but I can't tell from the blurb why "the time - is now". So something happened that provided an opening for action NOW, and that seems to be an important dramatic point (since it is the thing that pushes our hero and his allies into the action that IS the story) -- I just don't see what the "something" is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Unfortunately there is no easy way of putting the "what happened" into a sentence, even two. I had a hard enough time keeping it short in the book. It bogged the opening chapter so much in the first few drafts that I had go with "in media res" and then catch the reader up after in a more measured pace.

I know what you are saying, and agree with you, but yeah... I'll have to think on it to see if I can squash it into a nutshell.
 

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Paul K said:
This?

The empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. He begins his quest to rebuild a world that would allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor's vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the empire's grip on his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
MarkdownFanatic said:
A lot more forceful now! You get the backstory, the hero "presentation" and his challenge succinctly and elegantly weaved into the blurb.

I just miss one thing. You write "he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now."

I know it's nit-picking, but I can't tell from the blurb why "the time - is now". So something happened that provided an opening for action NOW, and that seems to be an important dramatic point (since it is the thing that pushes our hero and his allies into the action that IS the story) -- I just don't see what the "something" is.
One option would be to take out "the time is now," let the book explain why, and just say he escapes. See the first paragraph below. You could reword it a better way.

The empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family. Seizing his chances one dark night, he escapes his shackles with the aid of friends. He begins his quest to free his people and rebuild a world that will allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor's vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the empire's grip on his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How about:

The empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice.  A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family. Seizing a chance, he escapes his shackles and begins his quest to free his people and to rebuild a world that will allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor's vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the empire's grip on his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
 

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Paul K said:
How about:

The empire made him a slave. They should have killed him.

Saul, a former prince, has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire burns within him, growing brighter each day since the Emperor slaughtered his family. Seizing a chance, he escapes his shackles and begins his quest to free his people and to rebuild a world that will allow the Kingdom of Ubrain to rise from the ashes.

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the emperor's vault. But their road is not a straight one, and they soon find themselves facing the inquisition, and are caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the empire's grip on his people no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way. They should have killed him when they had the chance, for he will not be so lenient.
I think that's better because you're dropping the time is now so you don't have to explain it. I would try to make that sentence shorter or break it into 2 sentences. Short keeps the tension.
 
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