critique my blurb

I’ll confess to stealing this idea from the blog Not Enough Words. Thanks, Merrilee, you’re a star.

For the Novel Push Initiative I’ve been working on the second draft of an as-yet untitled novel. Of course, I know the story (too) intimately, so I’d love to hear outsider opinions.

Do you like the blurb? Is it intriguing? Snappy? Does it make you want to read more?

UNTITLED, Urban Fantasy.

The note from her mother only had three words: trust no one.

When Mara Desanti receives a steorra from her mother—a necklace believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits—she is immediately haunted by old memories. But the memories don’t come alone.

Within 24 hours, Mara is on the run from a group of soldiers trying to kill her, her sole companion a battle-hardened man who appears in her house and saves her life.

Desperate for answers, Mara must rely on a man with a grisly past and an agenda of his own, only to discover she is involved in a terrifying truth far worse than any conspiracy.

I’m not convinced by the transition between the 2nd and 3rd paragraph, so suggestions would be great.

Do you have any tips and tricks on blurb-writing to share?

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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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9 Responses to critique my blurb

  1. You and Merrilee are brave to share your blurbs! Your story sounds intriguing. As far as the blurb goes, here are my thoughts, which you are free to take or leave:

    In such a short snippet of information, there are a lot of characters to keep track of – Mara, her mother, evil spirits, soldiers, and her battle-hardened companion, who I only later realized was the same as the man with the grisly past. Do I need to know about all of them here?

    I like that the ‘memories don’t come alone.’ Nice! I did, however, feel a bit jolted from paragraph to paragraph. The first one is all mother-gives-daughter-a-spooky-necklace, which makes me feel like it’s about to be a story about their relationship, or about a ghost story or some horrible curse…but then, next thing I know she’s on the run from soldiers. Perhaps you could suggest the danger she finds herself in without as many details?

    Side note: I was a little confused by the fact that she was on the run first, and then found out the man saved her in her house (presumably, where she was running from?).

    The only other thing is that she’s “involved in a terrible truth.” The word truth strikes me in a funny way, and I’m not sure why.

    Sorry to be so wordy! Like I said before, feel free to take my thoughts or leave them. :) Best of luck on NPI, your story sounds interesting!

    • Wordy is good. I’m absolutely crap at writing blurbs, so the more comments I get the better!

      Good point about the overload of characters. I think the best would be to get rid of the mother part, then – she is perhaps the most marginal of all of them.

      Maybe if I mentioned the soldiers attacking first, her being on the run wouldn’t be as confusing?

      Hmmm.

  2. Cliff Burns says:

    Good luck with your “urban fantasy”–you’re following in some mighty big footprints, including those left by authors like Jonathan Carroll, Paul Auster, Nicholas Christopher. One of my favorite genres and I wish you all the best with your literary efforts…

  3. Merrilee says:

    It has good points but a little vague. My opinion:

    Drop the first sentence, it adds no depth and is terribly cliche :). The Steorra is the important point. Also, what memories? Memories alone don’t really have impact – it could be a memory of playing with her puppy! Give us something scary!

    I like the next bit: “within 24 hours…” But the ending, “appears in her house and saves her life” chronologically must come before she’s on the run :) So it seems out of synch.

    Overall, I think this would have more impact if you got rid of the cliches; “battle-hardened, grisly past, terrifying truth”.

    On to the genre issue; the only hint of a fantasy bent is the steorra. Is there more? If so, build up that aspect. If not, then maybe more of a hint of what the threat is. You mention a group of soldiers – what sort? Magical? Normal? Bio-engineered?

    I think you’ve got a hook here, but I would like a more solid look at what the threat is :)

    Good on you for putting it up! Not so terrifying, is it? :)

  4. Nancy says:

    I’m intrigued, but find the blurb a bit clunky. This is off the top of my head, so please pardon my rambling.

    What does the note have to do with the necklace? If there isn’t a quick, neat way to tie the two together, I wouldn’t mention the note.

    Can you be more specific about the old memories without giving too much away?

    Does Mara have any idea why the soldiers want to kill her? I assume that the battle-hardened man is the one who saved her from them. How did the man appear in her house? Did he literally appear, break in, or what?

    It’s a good start, but we need more!

  5. Ace says:

    Hope I’m not late to the party.

    Some thoughts (without looking at other people’s comments):

    Is there a relationship between the note and the steorra?

    What kind of memories and are they important to the overall story?

    Since this is UF, are the pursuing soldiers of a fantasy-ish nature? Supernatural beings? Shapeshifters? Cthulhoid beasties? Other?

    The “sole companion” and the “man with the grisly past” are the same, yes? It’s not clear.

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