Today’s post is a continuation of last year’s Nanowrimo Prep series. Today, I’ll write about a technique that I’ve found helpful for preparing my story. And if you’re brand new to writing, skip this one! Today’s post is aimed at those who already have NanoPrep steps 1-5 handled.
In business, a common maxim is to “begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey may have coined that phrase, but the concept of aiming at a target is a very old one. And if you intend to write fiction for profit, it helps to have a target in mind. A sense of what you’ll be offering to readers at the end of the process. And that’s why it’s helpful to draft your back-of-the-book blurb before you ever put pen to paper.
Now, blurbs are hard to write! A blurb is a teaser. It says: “This is what my book is about. This is what the central challenge is. And here are some of the emotions you might feel.” Along with the cover art, the blurb is what will get your reader to hit the buy button.
A blurb is also a good test for you, the writer, because by the time you’re done writing it, you should feel a tingle in your body, and the tingle should say “Yeah! I’d want to read that story.” The first draft of your blurb won’t be as concise and snappy as your final version, but writing it out early is helpful. Why? if your blurb doesn’t excite you, and more importantly, if your story doesn’t excite you, you might not be ready to start writing.
In the spirit of showing my work, here’s my rough-draft blurb for Kat Voyzey #4, the book I’m prepping for November.
Kat Voyzey is chasing her dream. But is it about to become a nightmare?
When Kat left her cushy corporate job behind to start her own private investigation firm, she expected to encounter some bumps in the road. And if she’s spending her nights taking photos of philanderers at Seattle’s top ten seediest motels, well, perhaps that’s what it takes to learn the ropes. PI work might rough and tumble, but she’s determined to make a go of it. In time, she’ll find a more inspiring clientele. That is, if she doesn’t go out of business first.
When her friend Akiko tells her about a troubled college student who has gone missing, Kat agrees to track the woman down on behalf of her friends and family. And when the clues lead right back to the young woman’s Roller Derby league, Kat accepts an invitation to gear up and get her skate on. Sporting some killer spandex outfits, a feisty new persona, and too many bruises to count, Kat’s about to get a lesson in fighting hard for what she wants. And the closer to she gets to the truth, the more disturbed she is by what she finds. What started out as a simple track and trace is becoming something far more dangerous.
Worth noting: Whenever I write a blurb for the first time, I hate it. My blurb always feels overly wordy, clunky, and obvious. It doesn’t flow. (this draft isn’t too bad – I’ve been over it a few times – although the ending needs more zing) But I can read my blurb, and I can feel the tone of it and say, Yeah, that there is the book I want to write. And it’s easier to hit something when you aim at it. 😉 So that’s my advice of the day, Nanowrimo preppers. Begin with the end in mind.
PS: If you want some step-by-step guidance on how to write your end matter (or blurb) I found this book helpful.