Friday, July 1, 2011

A BLURB IS A BLURB UNLESS...

The island sat in the middle of this huge bay. I came to visit, but the storm came up and swept the return boat along with the captain and his crew out to sea. Here from my perch, I watched in abject horror. I'd never seen a waterspout before and God help me, I hope I never see one again. It reached down from the heavens, lifted the floundering sea craft into its spinning funnel and claimed all aboard.

Up through the vortex it spun, the wind's force ripping it into kindling as I watched, throwing it willy nilly back into the churning sea.

But here I am, alone in this dark, terrifying place filled with the moans and groans of angry ghosts. My cell phone connects to nothing. Where is the nearest cell phone tower and why can't I access it? Is it because this place has so much negative engery attached to it?

I've seen the etchings on the walls of the rusting cells and felt chills race up and down my spine reading their pain just before this gadawful wail pierced my eardrums.

I have to escape. Escape...oh Dear Lord, didn't they do a movie called ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ?

I cannot remember if that prisoner actually made it...I don't like horror movies and that would be a horror movie as far as my mind is concerned...or did he die in the vast leagues of water between the island and the mainland? Did he manage to navigate these waters? Somehow I figure he did not try to swim to freedom in the middle of a storm like this.

The wind chose that moment to wail like a crack addicted banshee in need of her fix, and the waters thundered and pounded the island's edges.

I'm going to die here! I can't die here! The idea of spending eternity locked here with all these miserable spirits was more frightening than the thought of navigating the waters out there. If I am meant to die, I'd rather die out there, than here!

My decision made, I checked the cell phone one last time, hope a lump blocking my throat. No signal.

I tossed the phone against the entrance wall, imagining what the next visitor to this awful place would think upon finding a modern device, here in this ancient place of torture and despair. And then I stepped back out into the Mother Nature's raging tempest.

Wildly I looked around one last time, for what I couldn't say. Bending against the wind's force I stumbled and crawled to the island's edge. I took one final breath, rose on my toes and jumped!

Now to the Blurbs...A BAD BLURB WOULD BE:

She's a visitor to Alcatraz and now she's stuck.

A GOOD BLURB...

She came for a tour of Alcatraz, when Nature decided to strike with all its fury. Her only way back to the mainland broken in the storm, her cell phone useless this far out-to-sea, she's left alone with only the echoes of the tortured spirits from the past. Will she escape alive, or will Alcatraz claim it's next ghost?

10 comments:

zxcvbnm said...

I'd written something like the spoof for a contest - I love the way you put it....Mine was a query letter not a mere (!) blurb...
Query Letter
To who it matter
Dear all
As the man said, you aint’s seen nothing yet until you read the herewith enclosed, or rather attaché, typescript for a book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, at which I am the expert past master (mistress sounds so crass doncha thing?)
As I was saying, you don’t know what’s going to ht you right between them eyes, my man, but when you read my book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, you will have to admit that I am the be-all and end-all of experts in the field of the Sceince and Art of Writing.
As you might be saying, this person is a genius, and I want to sign her on the books at once. But before I even consider working with you, you have to tell me in Writing that you are willing to learn the ropes from me because I have been through your web-sight and I have found several typos that could not be misprints they are so silly. So for an additionally fees, I might as well correct your spelling and grammer.
As the orturs which I quote in my book say, you never no what you can do till you try and when I beganed Writing the book about the Sceince and Art of Writing, little did I know that I would come up with such a compendiuming of knowledge about the Sceince and Art of Writing.
As Dr Spock, of the child expert’s famousness said, not the one with the ears on Star Track, you know, he said you know more than you think you do. In my case this has been proven to be excellently truth because as you can see, I explain the Sceince and Art of Writing so well that nobody can approach me about it.
As my relatives and my friends to which I gave the manuscript to read kept repeating, it is a heck of a job to write so much about the Sceince and Art of Writing. Ha ha, I am not an scientist or a Artist but I managed to write 2,340 pages about the Sceince and Art of Writing, can you beat that of course you can’t.
As my mentor and consultant and best friend said, and I quoit him to make sure that you understand the worthy of my opera, “If you can get them to accept it for you, you will indeed be one happy bunny.”
As my aunty who lives in Malta says, their bunnies are not happy, because they eat them, poor things, they do the spagetti or the chips with them and they are so cute, the rabbits. But that has nothing to do with the Sceince and Art of Writing of course, but I wanted to tell you that I know the culinationary skills of the Malteses because my aunty, when she comed over for a holiday, she thought me how to cook the things of Malta kitches.
Yours truthfully
Tanja Cilia

gail said...

Okay. Tanja, you write my blurbs. Lin, you fix them! lord, I love you both! Seriously, blurbs are important and sometimes harder to write than the the dang book is. I try to imagine I'm picking it up in the library and reading the cover. Would I read this book? If the answer's no, do it AGAIN!

Jim Hartley said...

What bothers me here is that the so-called "good" blurb is too much for such a short story, and gives away too much of the story.

I don't find too much trouble writing a blurb for a novel-length work. Then there is enough material to put in the blurb, carefully not revealing the ending ... I figure a novel blurb should talk about the first half or so of the book.

Doing a blurb for a short story is more of a problem. It's hard to avoid saying too much. Your "bad" blurb is a little too straightforward, no "grab," but it's hard to do more than a sentence or two without it becoming a spoiler.

I don't claim to be the greatest blurb-writer, but I do my best.

gail said...

I can't comment on the "short" blurp art. I can't write short. The only time I ever had an idea that I thought would be a good dark satire short story, it turned into a 500 page dark horror novel.

Lin said...

Okay everyone...this is NOT a short story. It is just a quick bit to give you the reader enough detail to know why she is in peril.

Had I written a complete story I would have researched Alcatraz and its hsitory, fleshed out the stories of the haunting ghosts, filled you in on whay she was there that day, not with any tour group, but a small seacraft with a small crew. I would have shown her motivation to BE there checking that place out, and I would have lengthened the events leading up to her taking that leap of faith.

Had this been meant as a full story I might have brought the reader closure with her ending one way or another after the dive.

ALL I was trying to do was show the difference between a blurb that tells nothing to one that gives potential reviewers and our CA the information they need to have.

Kat send out your reviews but she cannot arm-wrestle the reviewers into taking your book from the queue to read and review.

For all intents and purposes none of you, myself included, know where in a REAL story, had I been writing this, this segment would have been.

I promise not to do these quick off-the-top of my head scenes any more. I don't want to cause anyone stress over what I leave out and/or put in.

Lin said...

One other thing, you all remember Doug The Wishful Fire Hyndrant. I give you the entire motivation behind Doug's desire make his hose grow. Since that is a two parpagraph story, coming up with a cover blurb, or a review blurb would be ridiculous.

I can bring into play other short stories I have written back in the Steven and Jeff era, but Kat wanted me to write something quick about the topic she tossed out and then show the difference between a blurb that has nothing to recommend it, and the blurb that at least gives you enough to want to learn her fate and care about her.

Remember I stopped with her leap, that doesn't mean that would REALLY be the end of her tale.

zxcvbnm said...

A blurb of the kind I wrote here would mean that no publishing house - go figure Muse, which only takes the best - would touch you with a barge-pole. Lin would have to translate it into Maltese, then into Dutch, then back into English to maybe wring some sense out of it. But I know that was a compliment! And we love you too!
Tanja

Cheryl said...

Don't like writing queries, don't like writing synopses, don't like writing blurbs.

Unfortunately, if you're trying to get something pubbed, you have to at least try to do them all. Sigh.

Lin said...

Tanja My Love,

I was not signaling anyone out. Kat and Dee have been frustrated with getting one sentence blurbs, or blurbs told in written monotones. This posting is SOLELY to show the difference.

I wrote the story portion in...I asked Kat...she said five-to-ten minutes...since she was looking at the clock, I have to go with her numbers. (Me I got lost in what Nudge was channeling through me.)

I don't think Lea would want me to create an off-the-cuff complete story here that is not meant to ever be published and use it to teach what a blurb needs to be.

But anyone what wants to give me a topic so I can do what I have done here and maybe give you what some of you seem to think you need me to expand on...challenge Nudge I'm here.

For the rest of you, this is just supposed to show why one blurb leaves you with nothing to entice you to read, and why the second draws you in.

I wrote this SOLELY for the purpose of fashioning the blurbs. It is NOT a short story...it is a short SEGMENT.

zxcvbnm said...

Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage... is what I got, seventeen times, before this page; but I kept trying because I need to say I KNOW you were not pointing fingers, I thought my query letter of sorts further illustrated what not to write.I would give my eye teeth to be able to write like "long". When I pick a book, I don't just look at the cover - I look at the blurb too. If the cover is magnificent but the blurb says "and then she had to decide between good and bad" or "because she did not like her mother-in-law" or "her dog could talk", the book is not for me.