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erinranning
March 12th, 2014, 06:00 PM
Hi everyone! :)
We all like a nice short post, so here's one. Any thoughts welcome on this first blurb attempt! Good or bad, intriguing or boring? Clichéd or acceptably tropey? ;) Thanks for taking the time to read, I really appreciate it!

The goal is entertainment, of course, not the pulitzer :D

(it comes in at 193 words, which is apparently just under the accepted goal for a blurb.)

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The Witch Queen of Willow Falls (old version)



Lizzie Benedict has lived her entire life in Willow Falls, an isolated town in rural England where stepping outside the gates is forbidden.

Children’s stories tell of a world of wicked creatures that inhabit the forest beyond, where the ruler is a beautiful witch with skin of onyx crystal. However, at seventeen years old and suffering from a worsening illness, Lizzie no longer believes in fairy tales. Her only dream is to experience the world outside while she can.

One night, she finds the gate to the town unlocked with no clue as to why and takes what could be her only chance to venture outside.
When supernatural mirages from the forest close in on her, and her family tries to save her, she finds herself waking up at the centre of a devastating enigma. Even more bizarre is that the only key to Willow Falls has appeared inexplicably in her own pocket.

Now, against all better judgement, she decides to pursue the wealthy family who built this fortress of a town around themselves, in order to find out if the legends are true.

Lizzie Benedict is going to hunt the Witch Queen.



The Witch Queen of Willow Falls (old version 2)


Lizzie Benedict has lived her entire life in Willow Falls, an isolated town in rural England where stepping outside the gates is forbidden.

Children’s stories tell of a world of wicked creatures that inhabit the forest beyond, where the ruler is a terrifying witch with skin of onyx crystal. However, at seventeen years old and suffering from a worsening illness, Lizzie's only dream is to know what lies beyond the limits of her world.

Against all better judgement, she decides to pursue the wealthy family who built this fortress of a town around themselves, in order to find out if the legends are true.

Could the Witch Queen really exist?



The Witch Queen of Willow Falls (new version)

Lizzie Benedict has lived her entire life in Willow Falls, an isolated town in rural England where stepping outside the gates is forbidden. Her only dream is to know what lies beyond the limits.

Legends tell of a world of wicked creatures that inhabit the forest outside, where war reigns supreme between a dark witch and the demon souls of once-humans.

At seventeen and suffering from a worsening illness, Lizzie no longer believes in fantasy - She has decided to pass through the gates of Willow Falls while she still can. Real or not, fairy tales have kept her trapped for too long.

Lizzie Benedict is going to hunt the Witch Queen.

Apple Ice
March 12th, 2014, 07:34 PM
Hello again Erin. Thought I should comment seeing as I know something about the story. I think with a blurb you need to evoke a lot of intrigue and mystery. I believe you've done that in the first two paragraphs. The next bit is almost an info dump of what's coming up and I feel it doesn't need to be there and nor should it be there. Let the reader find all that out when reading, otherwise you have just wasted the first five chapters because they know what's coming.

Combine the first part with the very last line and I think you have a blurb my friend. Maybe tweak it a bit and add the part about how she wants to find out if the legends are true along with the last sentence. All in all a good blurb, perhaps overdone a tad.

Obviously this is just an opinion and you can tell me to mind my own apples and ice.

thepancreas11
March 13th, 2014, 02:38 AM
There's a general structure to blurbs if you look them up online. Generally you want to end with a type of question, something to raise the stakes, not a statement like you have here. You want to make the person read the first page, right? Well, to do that, you have to give them reason. Make them curious. A blurb is a tease. Don't give it all away.

erinranning
March 13th, 2014, 03:09 AM
Thank you both so much! I've added a new, shorter version if you (or anyone else) have a moment. It may not yet be short enough though. I studied summaries of various different kinds at film school a while ago, but was never really that good at being concise. I do know that it's typical to use a question to finish, normally the main dramatic question of the story's main throughline, but I was trying to play with the idea that the final statement was loaded with many questions, which I still believe is true.

thepancreas11
March 13th, 2014, 04:47 AM
Well, I think it's much better. I might actually have her escape the gates feeling curious about the outside world. Also, the line about crystal onyx is something you save for the story. Adjectives should be used with extreme prejudice in these kinds of situations.

Apple Ice
March 13th, 2014, 11:02 AM
I personally don't like the new version as much. I think the last line of the older version was a lot more exciting than the new one. We know she exists, otherwise there wouldn't be a story. Ending it with a question is not a necessity in any way. I think you just need to grab the readers attention you already have done that. The new one seems forced and contrived to me. I agree with maybe losing the adjective.

I personally would keep a tweaked older version if I were you, but hey, it's your blurb.

Charlaux
March 13th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Children’s stories tell of a world of wicked creatures that inhabit the forest beyond, where the ruler is a terrifying witch with skin of onyx crystal

I liked the blurb, except for this bit. A beautiful witch is a bit of a cliche in teen fiction, and that would put me off if I'm honest. If you changed this to give us a clue of what the witch's powers are, what she uses them for, some sort of legend - something about her and what she does, basically, rather than just a description of her appearance. You hinted something about it in the last sentence of the first version, but at the moment that revelation just comes out of nowhere, and doesn't link up to the rest of the clues.

erinranning
March 13th, 2014, 08:41 PM
Thank you all for your continued help with this. Sadly I don't find it that easy.

I've thrown a new version out there, just to see, trying to incorporate as many suggestions as possible.

It's not easy to avoid specifics and adjectives about the baddie, because I really want it to be clear that she isn't pretty-girl-dream-witch, but rather beautiful in the sense of a statuesque, enchanting demon, not merely wicked but also vibrant and seductive as she is in the story. There I go over-doing the adjectives again ;)

Apple Ice
March 13th, 2014, 08:58 PM
Please keep the last one you wrote. As more people comment your blurb will become less and less authentic and more contrived as you try to incorporate everyone's ideas. I advise you tp just sit on that last blurb and don't even bother to worry about it anymore. If I'm correct, you haven't finished the novel as of yet. Best to do your blurb when it's finished and you have a full grasp on the story and what would be best to include. One thing at a time.

erinranning
March 13th, 2014, 09:07 PM
Yes, the novel's finished, I'm trying to draft for clarity and to add senses to ground the reader at the moment, before I send it to an editor next week.

You say keep the last one and yet also that it's more contrived than the first. Is that just to stop me working on it?

Apple Ice
March 13th, 2014, 09:12 PM
Sorry, I didn't realise you had finished. I just don't want you to over think it too much and throw all of our ideas together. I've evidently ceased to be helpful. I will leave it with you. Good luck.

A_Jones
March 14th, 2014, 04:36 PM
These only make me want to read your work even more. It sounds SO interesting! I love dark fantasy!!!

dmr400
May 24th, 2014, 07:40 AM
I also agree, they are becoming more watered down as you go, and I think the last one is just right. The only thing I would change is to end with a question, as has already been suggested.

AMiller
July 20th, 2014, 08:55 PM
I like this post because it shows personal growth as a writer. The story is good and the final revision is even better! Love the classic monsters and witches aspect, it sounds very entertaining and maybe a little campy.

qwertyman
July 21st, 2014, 08:26 AM
I presume your query letter is to an American Agent. If it were to a UK agent they require a synopsis complete with ending.

IMO a blurb describes the conflict and ends with a question.

Most importantly both the threat to the protagonist, and what the protagonist wants to achieve - must be clear. I don't get either of these from your blurb.

The Witch is wicked and Lizzie is inquisitive... it's not an intriguing plot line. How is Lizzie threatened? What is she trying to achieve and why is it so important she does so?

Sam
July 21st, 2014, 09:09 AM
Not all blurbs end with questions. I'm not sure where that little canard came from.

But, that said, they do end with something more exciting than "Lizzie Benedict is going to hunt the Witch Queen".

Lizzie will have to rely on all her strength, courage, and ability if she is to defeat the Witch Queen . . . and even that may not be enough.

qwertyman
July 21st, 2014, 09:27 AM
Not all blurbs end with questions. I'm not sure where that little canard came from.

But, that said, they do end with something more exciting than "Lizzie Benedict is going to hunt the Witch Queen".

Lizzie will have to rely on all her strength, courage, and ability if she is to defeat the Witch Queen . . . and even that may not be enough.



I agree Blurbs don't have to end with a grammatical question, but they should install the strongest desire in the reader to know the answer to 'what happens next?'.

Why does Lizzie have to defeat the Witch Queen? The Witch Queen is doing a very good job fighting the half-deads. What is the nature of the conflict between Lizzie and the Witch queen? Is she trying to release the city? Find somebody? Regain a lost power? Get a cure for her illness? Revive the half-deads?

We don't know what the story's about? What drives Lizzie?

Elsey2
July 29th, 2014, 09:41 PM
The blurb definitely got my attention right away. I really enjoy mysteries and classic horror figures like witches, vampires and werewolves... a ghost story too if it's told well enough but I'm not always sold on them. Your blurb about this story does make me what to get to know Lizzie and the world she exists in. Have you written any of it yet?