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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, since it's getting closer to the release date of my debut novel, (still 22 days away though) I was hoping that I could get some input/suggestions in regards to my blurb.

Here's what I have right now:

Caleb knew that his life would change with his best friend's departure, but he never could have imagined how greatly it would change.

With everyone that he has ever cared about destroyed, he finds himself on an adventure that will completely redefine his life and set him upon a path to become the greatest hero in the history of Arcadia.

Through the flames, Caleb will go, for the strongest metals can only be forged with the hottest flames and the greatest pressures.
 

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Sounds really exciting! Here are my suggestions:

Trim--cut out all the unnecessary adverbs, phrases. For example--he never could have imagined how much (instead of how greatly it would change, since it repeats the word change and doesn't add much); 'completely' could be taken out of the second sentence; remove 'greatest pressures' since the last sentence is mostly about flames.

Other suggestions: Don't invert the last sentence--'Caleb will pass through fire' (instead of flames, to avoid repeating the word) 'for the strongest metals must (stronger than can only) be forged with the hottest flames.'

Also, it might be more helpful to lead with the conflict that destroyed everyone he loves, instead of with his best friend's departure--the destroying seems much more important. And what is the threat to Arcadia? Why does it need a hero?

Just a few thoughts--hope they help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gregory Ashe said:
Sounds really exciting! Here are my suggestions:

Trim--cut out all the unnecessary adverbs, phrases. For example--he never could have imagined how much (instead of how greatly it would change, since it repeats the word change and doesn't add much); 'completely' could be taken out of the second sentence; remove 'greatest pressures' since the last sentence is mostly about flames.

Other suggestions: Don't invert the last sentence--'Caleb will pass through fire' (instead of flames, to avoid repeating the word) 'for the strongest metals must (stronger than can only) be forged with the hottest flames.'

Also, it might be more helpful to lead with the conflict that destroyed everyone he loves, instead of with his best friend's departure--the destroying seems much more important. And what is the threat to Arcadia? Why does it need a hero?

Just a few thoughts--hope they help!
I don't want to reveal what the conflict is in the blurb, if possible, because it happens a few chapters in. Keep in mind that it's also the first book in an epic fantasy series, where the actual threat stays in the shadows for a few books.

The reason I used "through the flames" in the blurb, by the way, is because that is the name of the book. It's that line that is the origin of the title.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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First of all, your description almost seems like three non-sequitors.

His friend departs.

Everyone is destroyed.

He's going through fire.

???  I still have no real idea of what your book is about.

Also, Gregory is correct about the "flames" repetition. If you don't want to change that one, then change the other.

I would love to offer more suggestions, but I can't work with the little bit you have provided.

I do agree with Gregory that you need a better lead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
foreverjuly said:
I would get more specific too. A few chapters in is definitely fair game for a blurb.
It was the first blurb I ever wrote, so I didn't realize that. Okay, I'll try again:

Caleb knew that his life would change with his best friend's departure, but he never could have imagined how much it would change.

With his home village massacred, he embarks upon a quest for revenge, and in turn finds himself on an adventure that will redefine his life and set him upon a path to become the greatest hero in the history of Arcadia.

Caleb must go through the flames, for the strongest metals can only be forged with the hottest fires and the greatest pressures.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

To clarify, in case it's needed, Caleb's home village is razed and massacred four chapters in. Well, five if you count the prologue.

I'd be more than happy to answer any further questions.
 

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What does his friend departing have to do with his village being massacred?

Tighten the sentences:

Caleb knew that his life would change with his best friend's departure, but he never imagined how much.

Add a transition from the friend to the village.

When his village is razed, his quest for revenge sends him through the flames, for the strongest metals must be forged with the hottest fires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RedAdept said:
What does his friend departing have to do with his village being massacred?

Tighten the sentences:

Caleb knew that his life would change with his best friend's departure, but he never imagined how much.

Add a transition from the friend to the village.

When his village is razed, his quest for revenge sends him through the flames, for the strongest metals must be forged with the hottest fires.
I suppose I should take out the part of his best friend's departure then. It's not directly connected with the massacre. I was trying to say that his friend's departure began the changes in his life.
 

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I'm not sure how his best friend's departure plays into the story. Is he in some way responsible for the massacre? Did he have prior knowledge of it, or is his departure the result of it? The rest of the blurb is kind of ok, but the reference to his best friend seems a bit out of place without further development. I understand that you don't want to give things away, but some more clues to the back story might help. Not having read your work, I'm at a bit of a loss. This is just my off-the-cuff 2-cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
proofnow said:
I'm not sure how his best friend's departure plays into the story. Is he in some way responsible for the massacre? Did he have prior knowledge of it, or is his departure the result of it? The rest of the blurb is kind of ok, but the reference to his best friend seems a bit out of place without further development. I understand that you don't want to give things away, but some more clues to the back story might help. Not having read your work, I'm at a bit of a loss. This is just my off-the-cuff 2-cents.
I already addressed that in my posts. Thanks though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
proofnow said:
Sorry - even when you preview, it doesn't catch everything. Time lags :-[
It's fine. It happens to me quite frequently.

I'm taking everything into consideration that I've been told in this thread, am looking into Karen McQuestion's blog post, and am studying the blurbs that successful authors use. I should be able to figure it out soon enough.

@Everyone: Thanks for all the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm leaning towards this for now:

Caleb was just a simple hunter's apprentice that expected nothing more than a simple life. But everything changes for him when his home village of Kirakath is massacred in his absence. Hearing his father's final words, Caleb embarks upon a quest for revenge, as well as a great destiny that will forever change the face of Arcadia. Caleb must go through the flames, for the greatest of heroes, like the strongest metals, can only be forged with the hottest fires and the greatest pressures.
What do you think?
 

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Ryne Billings said:
I'm leaning towards this for now:

What do you think?
Training to be a simple village hunter, Caleb seems destined for an ordinary life, but his destiny changes the day he returns home to find his village of Kirakath in ruins. His father's final words light a fire under him that is sure to forge him into stronger stuff, and Caleb leaves his smoldering village to embark on an epic journey that will change the face of all of Arcadia.

No idea if this is actually your goal for the series / book as you've been really vague, but it is what it is.
 

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Ryne Billings said:
Caleb knew that his life would change with his best friend's departure, but he never could have imagined how greatly it would change.

With everyone that he has ever cared about destroyed, he finds himself on an adventure that will completely redefine his life and set him upon a path to become the greatest hero in the history of Arcadia.

Through the flames, Caleb will go, for the strongest metals can only be forged with the hottest flames and the greatest pressures.
(1) My first impression is that this is too vague. Right now, the blurb sounds like it's describing Fantasy Novel: Book 1 of the Generic Fantasy Trilogy.

(2) Everything needs to be tighter and more exciting. It's not quite passive voice, but it's residing in that sort of "pseudo-passive" voice where it feels like the character is a quiet spectator.

Caleb was just a simple hunter's apprentice that expected nothing more than a simple life. But everything changes for him when his home village of Kirakath is massacred in his absence. Hearing his father's final words, Caleb embarks upon a quest for revenge, as well as a great destiny that will forever change the face of Arcadia. Caleb must go through the flames, for the greatest of heroes, like the strongest metals, can only be forged with the hottest fires and the greatest pressures.
This is getting stronger, but could still use more specifics.

I'd also second the comment by an earlier poster that you can cut excess verbiage. And this includes stuff that the reader can be trusted to figure out on his own.

For example, "But everything changes for him when his home village of Kirakath is massacred in his absence." Can it be safely assumed that the reader can figure out that having your village massacred will change your life without having their hands held?

I'd also look to conjure up some strong, potent images in the reader's imagination. Give them some specific stuff to chew on and begin drawing them into your world and into your narrative. Without knowing specifics, something like this:

Caleb was just a simple hunter's apprentice. He wanted nothing more than a simple life and a loving wife and was content to live out the days of his life beneath the green bowers of the sun-dappled forest. But when he returns home to find his village massacred and his family dead, the whispered words of his dying father hurl him onto a path of blood and vengeance.

In his epic quest for revenge, Caleb will discover that the mightiest of heroes, like the strongest of metals, can only be forged within the hottest fires and under the greatest pressures. His is a destiny which will forever change the face of Arcadia. It is a destiny which can only be reached in one way:

Through the Flames.

And it could do with even more detail (in addition to correcting what I'm sure is the erroneous detail I've interpolated). I'd say take a look at how you conjure up the image of the massacred village in the novel itself, channel that into the blurb, and then distill it down until you've made it as a strong and as heart-wrenching as possible.

Basically, you've got 2-3 paragraphs and you've got to make the reader care so passionately for Caleb and sympathize so fully with his need for vengeance that they'll plop down some cash to find out what happens next.
 

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I'm also finding your descriptions a tad vague. I know you don't want to reveal the Big Bad yet (you say it is revealed in later books) but your story (ie, book 1) must have an evil to fight that has a face or name. You don't necessarily have to name names but maybe something hinting at the perceived enemy (those who massacred his village) only being the tip of the iceburg? For example, perhaps the grand vizier who called for the village massacre is part of an ancient and secret organization whose goal is to bring about the apocalypse.

Without any descriptors in your blurb however (names, places, conflicts etc) it only reads "O hai, I'm a hero going on a journey, watch me use swords and stuff." Unfortunately this doesn't pull a reader in enough to buy a book.
 
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