The Basics of Blurb Writing

Something that everyone in the writing business (not necessarily trad) will have to deal with eventually… writing a blurb. I don’t know about you but the thought of it fills me with fear. But it’s got to be done, so I scoured the internet for tips on the basics to get myself, & you lovely lot, started.

Points In A Blurb…

  • Introduce the character
  • Inciting incident
  • A twist or a choice
  • Mood of the story

The first sentence of the blurb acts as a ‘pick up line’. You want to have a big impact, entice & seduce the potential readers to read on. Hook them right from the beginning.

The end of the blurb… a cliffhanger. Leave the audience wanting more: use a question or hint at what’s to come!

Introducing The Character…

Let us know who your main character is, who they are; maybe how old they are; maybe their occupation; maybe their goal during the story. We need to hear just enough to be intrigued by this character. But you don’t want to make it drawn out & full on. Tease the character, don’t give them away all at once. We want to be pulled in enough to open the book. If you give too much information in the blurb, they’ll be no point in reading the story!

For example Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows: ‘Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price – and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker.’

Inciting Incident…

Entice your readers with the main event of your story. Obviously you don’t want to give away the plot but you need to establish the moment where the character is sucked from their normal world, into their adventure.

An example of this is Kaitlin Bellamy’s Windswept: ‘The wind has always spoken to Fox, but it was just instinct, wasn’t it? Not a god’s Blessing … not magic. But his powers are growing, and soon, he cannot ignore it anymore: he has a gift. And he is the only one.’

A Twist or A Choice…

Your MC will inevitably come face to face with an insane twist (we love a good plot twist!) OR a difficult choice they will have to make. Letting us know the bare minimum in your blurb sucks us in to the point where we HAVE to carry on to find out what happens.

For example Ilsa J Bick’s Ashes: ‘An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who has changed…’

Give Us The Mood…

The theme of a novel is super important. Both A Game of Thrones & Caraval are both considered fantasy novels but the tones are extremely different. GRRM writes super dark gritty fantasy whereas Garber’s world is much more magical & beautiful. Setting the mood in the blurb helps your potential audience establish whether the book is their kind of story or not. It’s all about using the right key words.

A good example of this is Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince: ‘As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong. But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan.’

What are your top tips for writing blurbs? Or perhaps your biggest struggle? Let me know in the comments!

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