Hi. Today I'm looking at those blurbs on the backs (or inside flaps) of books. Trying to write a pitch thing for my novel, but first I have to figure out how to go about this business of writing what. Like, what are they supposed to sound like? What are they supposed to tell about the story? This type of studying is so much more interesting than the studying I should be doing right now. (i.e. studying for finals) So I have a pile of books on my bed, going over the blurbs in the back/inside flap.
Book #1 - ZIGZAG by Ellen Wittlinger
Robin can't believe it when her boyfriend, Chris, tells her that his parents have enrolled him in a summer program in Rome. It's their last summer together before he goes away to college, and now they won't even have that time together. It feels like the worst thing that's ever happened to her.
Since Chris is leaving, Robin agrees to join her aunt and cousins on a cross-country road trip, in spite of her reservations. She and her younger cousins have never really gotten along, and since their father's death they've become even more problematic than before.
Soon the four of them are zigzagging through the West on an eye-opening journey. They explore parts of the country Robin never dreamed existed - and she discovers inner resources she never imagined she had.
When you describe your novel in a query letter, isn't it supposed to be one paragraph? Or am I wrong on that? In any case, this blurb is (obviously) longer than that. The first paragraph sets up the background of the story (Chris going to Rome for the summer), the second paragraph sets up the cause, or the main event that sends the rest of the story forwards (Robin agreeing to go on a road trip with her aunt and cousins), and the third paragraph kind of discusses the effect - what happens because of her going on the road trip (she "discovers inner resources she never knew she had"). I like it. (On a total sidenote, I love the song California by Rogue Wave. The first line is disarming.)
Book #2 - DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen
Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else - her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
One paragraph. That's good news for me. The first sentence basically sets up what the whole book is about - Caitlin's relationship with Rogerson. (By the way, this is a really amazing book. Very real. So real I had to stop reading it at times because it got a little to close for comfort.) The majority of this blurb focuses on Rogerson and what he is, but it also talks about the rest of Caitlin's life, the stuff she wants to escape from. And the last sentence is the clincher that made me want to know: what does happen in that sort of relationship?
Book #3 - AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.
Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to suprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.
Ah! Love this blurb! Too long for me (three paragraphs), but it's good. Sets up what has happened (Colin's history with Katherines), what does happen (the road trip) and what might happen (proving that love is mathematical and getting the girl).
So I guess this is what my pitch (or is it called a summery? Not sure...) needs to cover: the background (what has happened) the cause (what happens) and the effect (what will happen). Basically the beginning, middle, and end of my story. Only very quickly and succinctly. Ha. Wish me luck. Maybe I'll post some possible pitches (summeries?) here to get feedback from you guys.
In other news, I did start another novel. Although who knows if I'll keep at it or not.