How To Write A Blurb

First of all, what’s the difference between a synopsis and a blurb?

A synopsis covers the entire plot. A blurb catches the reader onto the hook and reels them in. The point is, an author writes a blurb, and the reader a synopsis (well, technically they could anyway). I write blurbs for NaNoWriMo, even though it says synopsis on the site; you can write synopses if you want to, but I don’t know where my plot is going yet, so I am not. :) (Don’t worry: I’ll do a post on synopses after NaNoWriMo).

Writing a blurb is hard, especially when, I have found, you have no idea what the plot actually is. So this is a post for all you pantsers out there (or, indeed, if you’re not). You can’t write what you don’t know – yet.

Here are some of my tips to write a blurb:

  1. Know the plot – the first few chapters at least. Pick up the closest book next to you. Does it tell you the ending? The climax? Even the first climax? No. Because you only need enough to hook the reader. If you’re NaNo-ing and barely know the idea, just make a bit up. If it changes, it’s no biggie.
  2. Either use a question or a brash statement. For example, the blurb of Slated by Teri Terry finishes with: “Who can she trust in her search for the truth?” The blurb of Harry Potter ends in a typical ‘dot dot dot’ (not ‘S’ in Morse code). You can read my July blurb to see how I did it. You just want to hook the readers on, really.
  3. Imagine you don’t know anything. What is the first turn in your story that will make you want to read your book? Use this in your blurb. For July NaNoWriMo, I had James moving down South, and him meeting the ABC group. Alrighty, this is two turns, but moving house doesn’t really explain how you’d get a love story out of it. If your first turn is huge, though, perhaps you could only use that.
  4. Don’t go too heavy on the facts. Sure, the first name of your MC is always good, and maybe the names of a side character or two can help. A key term now and again won’t hurt. But your reader will look at the blurb as an indicator for how the book sounds. If you give them an information overload, guess what? They probably won’t read it!
  5. Give them a piece of the picture. Ever heard the phrase ‘A picture paints a thousand words’? Well, you have about 5% of that amount. Imagine you’re cutting a little square from the bottom of the canvas and giving it to the reader. That little square has to be really good for them to want to see the whole thing.

You have <100 words to write your blurb (yes, that really is less than one hundred). You’ve gotta make it good. Choose your words carefully, my friend. It could be the difference to a reader and a leaver.

Good luck, you’ll do great. Remember, if you don’t think you’d read it, don’t write it!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Write your story’s blurb below! :D 

Apologies… Again

Howdy folks!

Me

Once again (this is getting a bit repetitive) I apologise for no Friday post! :/

Other than that, I haven’t been doing much writing; I really need to get onto planning my NaNo fic, though.

However, I have written a bit of fanfiction! ;) Who here likes writing about their favourite fictional characters as much as I do?!

The Blog

It is the return of the Tuesday NaNoWriMo posts! They’ll be filed under the appropriately named ‘NaNoWriMo’ underneath ‘Writing Advice’.

Also this week, there will be a Friday post.

And a book review…if you’re lucky! ;)

Have a lovely week, folks.

To say sorry <3

Howdy

Yo! Sorry for the, once again, late update…

Me

I am currently planning for NaNoWriMo 2014! Who else is with me? Tuesday NaNo posts start up again next week!

Still editing. Currently on chapter 5.5 – as in, half way through chapter 5!

And I think I might start looking for people willing to pay for articles/short stories. Ooh, excitement!

AND I’ve just discovered Marvel’s Agent’s of SHIELD! I love it I love it I love it. *Cue Le Mis solo* Anyway. Ahem. I’m going to be binge watching until season 2 starts on the 24th October!

The Blog

No WWC. The site seems to have stopped doing them, so I might drop an email.

Friday post as normal. I don’t know what it’ll be yet, though!

And on a side note, my cat has some black stuff around her mouth. It doesn’t seem to come off. One person on a thread said that it was residue (great word) from scent marking, and another said it was like the cat version of acne. Does anyone know what this could be?

Thanks all! Have a great, uh, rest of week… ;D

Beep beep boop

Articles Farticles – Dos and Don’ts of Article Writing

Like with anything in life, there is a lot you can get wrong in article writing. However, there is also a lot you can get right. Here’s a just a few ways to make that submission tippy too and (hopefully) it’ll be accepted!

Do:

- Include what the submission wants. If they’re looking for articles between 800-1000 words, don’t send them a 700 piece! Likewise, a 2000 word essay won’t go down well, either.
– Send your work to the right place. There’s no point in sending something to the national newspaper when it’s more fit for the monthly Parish newsletter. Likewise, if you’re submitting sex advice, don’t send it to The People’s Friend!
– Be patient. It can take hours, days, weeks, even months for a reply as to whether you’ve been successful or not. If it’s a letter you’re sending in, you may not even get notification about it! Don’t harass the editor – it might just make them annoyed. I know I would be.

Don’t:

- Make it inappropriate. It’ll just be binned.
– Send something into two places at once, unless you have confirmation it hasn’t been accepted at the first place. It could affect your rights.
– Break the rules. This is much like the first point. If 800-900 words is asked for, don’t give them less or more. Don’t think you’re being quirky or individual, because they will just see it as someone who can’t be bothered to adhere to the rules other people would have worked hard to reach. It’ll just be binned and you might not be thought of again for that corporation.

Good luck when sending in your articles. If you don’t get accepted, don’t fret. Remember when I wasn’t? See it as a learning curve. A chance to try something else out, or even send the same article to a different place.

And that brings us to the end of our article escapade. I hope you enjoyed it. Now go out and write an article! *yay!*

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D

Onto The Next Success… ;)

Hello everyone!

Me

Last week on Thursday (2nd) I finished my first ever novella! Yay!

Now, the editing starts…

The Blog

I don’t know if there’ll be a WWC, because the site I get the prompts from hasn’t put one up… So yeah.

I’ll try and get a Friday post up, but I am going away at the weekend so I don’t know if it’ll be up. :)

Have a nice week guys! <3 

Articles Farticles – Where To Send It (Pitching)

So, you’ve written yourself an article. Great! But…now what do you do with it?

Well, there are options. Eat it. Give it to your dog/cat/goldfish. Ask the nice old lady down the road if she’ll read it (alternatively, you could go for the grumpy old man next door). Or…maybe you could get it out there, into the big, wide and scary world.

Sending your writing in for consideration to print is scary. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and got the terrified diary entries to prove it. But how else is someone going to read it if you don’t try?

When you send something in to be published, you have to choose your audience carefully. There’s no point in sending your adult novel to a children’s publishing press – likewise, there is no point in sending a picture book to a newspaper. Because they just won’t print it. So it’ll be wasted. Right?

Top Tip! Get a few of the most recent copies of the magazine/newspaper you want to send your stuff in. That way, you know exactly what they’re looking for. Also, you know if something has already been published, so you don’t pitch something that they’ve already had.

If you’ve written something, you should know who your audience is, and that means you know who wants your book/article/letter. If you don’t, a quick Google search (for example, if you simply search ‘Romance publishers’, a whole torrent of them come up).

When you send in your article, make sure you add in your name, email and any other information the magazine/paper/whatever has asked for. Include something like your Twitter username, if you want.

You have to wait for a few weeks for an answer most of the time. Be patient, keep writing. If it is rejected, then just think of it as a learning experience. Hopefully, they’ll tell you why they rejected your article, and may even offer tips in case you want to send something else in.

Pitching is important in articles. There’s no point in sending someone in a 2000 word article if they then reject it. All your hard work, for nothing.

I’m going to be honest: I’ve never properly pitched something. I’ve only ever had one workshop in it, and that was film pitching. But, I’m going to guess it’s basically the same thing.

How many words do you think you have to pitch an idea? 200? 100? 50? Wrong! 25. 25 measly words. For the film script I did in July, the pitch could be: “A gay guy who leaves his female fiancée at the alter, and runs away to become a temporary art teacher.” Thing about your main idea/theme you want to convey and try and put it into the smallest amount of words possible.

Once I actually start pitching I’ll probably do another post about it. But I’ve done a quick Google search, and found that you basically do what I said above, then add in about 100 extra words of context beneath it. Put in relevant writing credentials, add in extra information about the tag line.

Alternatively, you could send in the entire article, but this could be a few hours of your time, so perhaps it’d be better if you got the all-go sign. Or, you could write something that could be sent into lots of different magazines, so if one fails, you have back ups.

Good luck!

Questions, thoughts, comments? Shoot! :D 

Articles Farticles – Relevant Information and How to Get It

When writing an article, you need to have the relevant information in order to, well, write it. But where can you get this information from?

You can get interviews: ask the person or persons a list of questions, note the answers, or things they say; if you’re lucky, you can use a dictaphone, but remember that transcribing can be a lot of work. Alternatively in an interview, you can set the person off talking and just record what they say. This can provide lots of material, but you might not get the exact answers you want.

Other articles! It’s not technically cheating: just remember to reference the original article somewhere in it.

Listen to the news, be it on the radio, or the TV. There’s a whole torrent of information on there.

There’s interviews, online, books, in passing (eg talking to people), speeches, newspapers… Literally, everywhere. But with so much information it’s hard to condense it down into stuff that’s useful, and stuff that can be chucked away.

Imagine you’re reading the finished article. What do you want to know? Great! Now you know what to put it. Highlight, write it in a new list, do whatever you have to do. Make sure you only put in the information you’d want to read; and, hopefully, it’ll be the stuff that your readers will want to read too.

When you actually come to write the article, include as much relevant, pressing information as you can at the top. Your readers don’t want to have to read the entire thing before they get the actual stuff they want. They want to know the basics first: who, what, why, when, where and how. Then, you can sprinkle in other snippets before finishing with a flourish.

Information can be difficult to obtain. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try thinking outside the box. For example, if you want to interview a writer, but can’t find one who would be willing to do it, look elsewhere. Drop a notice into your local library. Ask around and see if any of your friends or family have a connection. If all else fails, you’re a writer, right? Use yourself!

If there’s not an article out there for something, chances are yours could be the first, so make sure you have all the top-notch info. Then, pack in some other stuff around it, keep your readers wanting more. Imagine it as a parcel in a cardboard box. The cardboard box is the overlay, the title if you like, or the basic facts. The polystyrene bits that you squidge in your hands is the meaty stuff, things that some readers will read and others will flit over. And then, inside, is the thing you actually bought from the store: the DVD, the remote control, the new set of Christmas lights or the penguin. The gem. That’s the things you readers want most of all. The ‘climax’ to your article, if you fancy. Get it all in, and voilà! You’ll have something to give to the delivery man.

As I’ve said before, include the information you want, and, chances are, your readers will want it, too.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Haha… Oops?

Hello all!

I am so so sorry. I really have to stop disappearing off like that, it’s completely unacceptable…!

Also, I’m sorry that the Friday post posted unfinished. I’ve updated it, and it’ll be live tomorrow.

Me.

I did my 10km MemoryWalk on Saturday with my friend, Annie! We managed it in 1hr, 58 minutes. :)

Well deserved reward, me thinks!

Well deserved reward, me thinks!

Aside from that, I’m onto Chapter 8 of my novella (two more to go!) and yeah that’s about it. I took a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tours on Friday on a school trip (we had a lovely talk about scriptwriting and film jobs and it has convinced me more than ever to go into film) and…yeah.

The blog

Friday post will, hopefully be up as normal… I don’t know if there’ll be a WWC. Doubt it. Sorry!

And the rest as per usual.

Stay cool guys, and have a great week! <3 

Mad World [Short Story]

Mad World

Wordcount: 1391

Prompt: You wake up and find that you are not in your room where you went to sleep last night but you’re in a dark room that only has a clock. The clock is counting down from 24 hours. You then hear a voice over an intercom tell you that you have been selected to take part in a competition. You have 24 hours to complete 3 tasks or else you will suffer painful consequences. What happens?

Here’s a song that goes with this story. You don’t have to listen, of course, but I thought it would be nice. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa-ae6_okmg

~

Mad World

~

Esmerelda hated nightmares. Since she was 3, they had plagued her mind, terrifying her into staying awake. But when she’d started having a drink the doctor had given her, they’d dithered away until they’d vanished.

Still, nothing stays away forever. She breathed in the musky, damp smell of the floor, grit rubbing underneath her fingernails. Sitting up, she tugged down her nightie. Strange. The dream seemed awfully real. Continue reading

Hullo

Hello everyone! Sorry for the late update – I got sidetracked by ‘Inside Out’ on TV. Ahem.

Me 

I survived Sheffield. I survived the week. But. Something AMAZING happened on Tuesday, 16th September 2014.

Can you guess?

Have you guessed YET?!

Okay, I give up because I’M TOO EXCITED AND HAVE TO TELL YOU:

I FINISHED TOAST!

Yes, the script that started in July has FINALLY been completed! My first ever film script! I’ve done it! I even shed a little tear as I wrote ‘the end’.

But, that’s where the easy bit ends. I still have to edit. I’m going to finish my novella, An Icy Collisionfirst, then I’ll get back onto editing. :) I already miss my characters!

The Blog

Everything normal, I think, this week, but now we have the readdition of the Weekly Wednesday Challenge! :D

Hope you all have a great week guys <3