Blurb Coaching – Choose: Snakes or Ladders

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: Sally Forest

Genre: Women’s fiction

Title: Choose: Snakes or Ladders – A Psychological Coming-of-Age Novel

Blurb: The first in a duet, it is… “a well-plotted tale of human growth, sexuality, and self-discovery which will be enjoyed by readers of women’s fiction and literary fiction alike.”

The fabulous 50’s – sex, drugs and rock and roll, but not in the small towns of Australia.

There were lots of jobs, clothes and wealth in the cities but this threatened the stifling values of the past – a culture where men desire and decide, while women love and serve.

Miss Mitty Bedford knew the outside world through Hollywood movies at the local Pictures, only to find, when her real life starts, that there were many nasties behind the smooth, smiling, beautiful faces on the screen.

Mitty is a young girl brought up in a punitive sect who escapes to a typist job in the city – a step to fulfilling her dreams of being a lady. She is hampered by deep fears of hell and punishment, and utter ignorance of the facts of life.

A stalker’s attack clashes with her newfound joy in sensual self-discovery inspired by a crush on her boss, and her love for decent, average Col. She writhes between shame, repentance and joy. Family secrets drive her self-doubt.

What does Mitty choose? To learn the feminine compromises and strategies that will help her to stand up for her new ambitions and values? In addition, she needs love, but does she want freedom more?

This emotional and dramatic journey to win trust, love and independence, will keep readers turning the pages, as well as provoking questions that still apply today.

Original Blurb with Coaching Comments in Bold and Brackets:

The first in a duet, it is… [You don’t need an ellipsis before a quote, though you might need one in the quote if you left out information at the beginning of the quote (as in, if “a well-plotted tale” isn’t how the sentence began in the original source).] “a well-plotted tale of human growth, sexuality, and self-discovery which will be enjoyed by readers of women’s fiction and literary fiction alike.” [Leading off with praise from another source isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it puts the actually story—the who and what of the tale—further into the blurb, and your next few sentences further postpone the main character, making this read somewhat like a nonfiction blurb rather than a novel.]

The fabulous 50’s – sex, drugs and rock and roll, but not in the small towns of Australia.

There were lots of jobs, clothes and wealth in the cities but this threatened the stifling values of the past [By the use of “stifling,” it sounds like you’re making a judgment against the “values of the past,” which could push readers away, especially if they feel they side more with the past.]— a culture where men desire and decide, while women love and serve.

Miss Mitty Bedford knew the outside world through Hollywood movies at the local Pictures, only to find, when her real life starts, that there were many nasties behind the smooth, smiling, beautiful faces on the screen. [This almost suggests that she’s going to end up discovering what Hollywood is really like, the “nasties behind the beautiful faces,” i.e., she’ll discover that actors and their real lives don’t always match their on-screen persona. If this isn’t the case, you might want to reword this to indicate that she’s discovering that the movies didn’t tell her everything about life.]

Mitty is a young girl brought up in a punitive sect who escapes to a typist job in the city – a step to fulfilling her dreams of being a lady. [This is an excellent sentence, one that really introduces us to the character, her dream, and her challenges. As such, I’d recommend moving it much higher in the blurb, as it’s the heart of the story and it’s best, in blurbs, to lead off strong.] She is hampered by deep fears of hell and punishment, and utter ignorance of the facts of life. [Another excellent sentence, giving us details about what she’s up against without belaboring the issue.]

A stalker’s attack clashes with her newfound joy in sensual self-discovery inspired by a crush on her boss, and her love for decent, average Col. [The adjectives of “decent” and “average” suggest that he’s mediocre rather than decent and kind, so you might want to find a different term, as the two very different means of “decent” can make this confusing.] She writhes between shame, repentance and joy. Family secrets drive her self-doubt. [So far, it seems as though her upbringing drives her self-doubt, so saying that family secrets are actually behind it undermines what the blurb has already said about her. If family secrets are actually behind it, does she know that? Or is this something she discovers, to where, as she begins to break away from her restrictive past, she discovers that family secrets, and not a true desire for betterment, drive her self-doubt?]

What does Mitty choose? To learn the feminine compromises and strategies that will help her to stand up for her new ambitions and values? In addition, she needs love, but does she want freedom more?

This emotional and dramatic journey to win trust, love and independence, will keep readers turning the pages, as well as provoking questions that still apply today. [This is a strong closing sentence, and I don’t know that you need all the rhetorical questions before this, though it might be nice if the blurb hinted at what sort of freedom she’s seeking—economic, sexual, religious, career—so as to fully empathize with her struggle and want to know what she chooses, but readers will be asking “what does Mitty choose?” without your having to tell them to ponder such a thing, if the rest of the blurb has drawn them in.]

Comments Copyright 2017 Andrea Lundgren

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