- Guest Post by Lee Strauss
Many writers will tell you that they find it hard to condense the idea of their novel into a two or three paragraph pitch/blurb than it is to knock out 60 – 80k.
I came up with this formula to try to make it a little easier.
Tell us who the story is about.
Add the circumstance,
and the twist.
Let’s look at the jacket flaps of a couple popular books.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten WhiteEvie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager Who it’s about despite the fact that she works for the International paranormal Containment Agency, her ex boy friend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape shifter and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’glamours.The circumstance.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. The conflict.
So much for normal. The hook.
Matched by Ally Condie(This one doesn’t follow the four point plan and I don’t think it’s as strong as it could be. What do you think?)
In the Society, Official decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Here the circumstance is given before we find out who the story is about.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. Who it’s about, but not a lot of info. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The conflict Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow–between perfection and passion. More on the conflict but not a real hook.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. PearsonSeventeen year old Jena Fox has just awaken from a year-long coma Who it’s about–so she’s been told–and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. The circumstance. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? The conflict. Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions.
What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she, really? The hook.
(I think this is the strongest one of the bunch. What do you think?)
Here is the jacket flap for PERCEPTION
Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. Who it’s about. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans. Her circumstance
Her brother Liam is missing. The conflict
Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. Second who it’s about since Perception has two POVs. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically. His circumstance
Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her. The hook—the GAP and the Gap Protester working together