I’ve been sharing the blurb coaching series from A Writer’s Path Writers Club, and this is the next in the series. To learn more about how your blurb can be coached, click here. Enjoy!
Name: Clayton Barnett
Title: Cursed Hearts
Original Blurb: Even with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day. But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise: Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them. While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way.
Original Blurb with Coaching Comments in Bold and Brackets:
Even with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, [This is a lot of information to take in, as it’s establishing that we’re dealing with an alternate or futuristic version of our world. However, it might be nice to smuggle in what Katarina studies, as it’d only add a word or two but would indicate her passion and why an occupied San Diego doesn’t bother her.] and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, [His name seemed very unique for a Japanese character and makes me wonder if his being Japanese is just a way to add diversity rather than truly part of him. It also could make readers wonder why you, as an author, didn’t go for a first name that reflects his diversity stronger.] for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day. But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise: [Given this is set in California, I first thought you meant a real earthquake, so you might want to reword this. And does this happen on the night before enrollment, and if so, how does Chris and Cat learn of it? The connection isn’t clear here.] Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother [I think this would flow smoother as “his mother.” It’s Maya’s mother too, of course, but in this blurb, “her” is primarily Katarina.] and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them. [This is easily the most interesting sentence in your blurb.] While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way. [This is another, marvelous line indicating the primary plot and the obstacles to the romance without telling us everything. Very nice.]
As this is Science Fiction, you might want to spend a little more time explaining how Chris and Maya were created and why one of them is in an institute while the other is free. Not too much, as I’m sure that’s something covered in the novel itself, but just enough to pique the readers’ interest as right now, only the way they were “created” keeps this from being a thriller-romance rather than a sci-fi-romance. And I’m not sure where the horror element is, unless it’s the way Maya stalks them and kills people?
Also, on the romance side of things, having cousins in a romance is generally frowned upon in the United States (even illegal in some states), and I know you mentioned him as a step-cousin, but you might just call him something else to avoid readers skimming the blurb, missing the word “step” and hitting cousin and deciding they aren’t interested. Again, since step-cousin isn’t a common term, readers might be left wondering if you’re talking about the cousin of her step-sister or brother or a relative through an aunt and uncle. Either way, I’m assuming they aren’t even related by blood at all…so you might want to make that clearer to those who might be muddled by the term.
Comments Copyright 2017 Andrea Lundgren
Image by lauramusilin, Creative Commons