Tag Archives: brainstorming

Brainstorming Book Blurbs, II

Yesterday, I took a look at how writer friend Victoria Hermes-Bond (Vicki) and I brainstormed the book blurb for her upcoming novel, Long Highway Home. Today, I will continue the story with my own soon to be published book, a standalone serial killer novel I am currently calling The Hunt. I also thought of calling it He’s Back. Everything except the story itself is still in flux. Even so, I thought a possible book cover would make this page more interesting, so let me know what you think of this one.

Don’t strain your eyes to read the back cover. I’ve included the copy below.

Original rough draft

Before Vicki and I met for our brainstorming session, I wrote the following rough draft:

Every July from 1981 to 1989, someone was murdered in the small western Kansas town of Harvest. The last murder was the sheriff’s wife. Then the killings stopped. Sheriff Carter Lane lost both his job and his wife. People whispered that he was the killer.

For nineteen years there were no more murders. Then, as the twentieth anniversary of the killings neared, retired newspaper reporter Leora Keegan got a contract to write a book on the unsolved murders. Leora never believed Carter Lane was the killer, so not only does she interview him, but they decide to work together on solving the crimes. Only days into the investigation, they begin receiving threats to their lives and those of their loved ones.

Can they identify the killer before he strikes again?

Revision process

We started our discussion with the usual questions:
What’s in?
What’s out?
What order?
What’s the best word choice?
What’s the best sentence to capture a reader’s attention? (I’m still fretting about this one.)

After a lengthy discussion, we came up with the following:

Revised blurb

What happened to the 4T Killer? Did he retire, die, go to jail, or find a new hunting ground?

These are the questions on ex-newspaper reporter Leora Keegan’s mind as she researches the yearly July killings that began in 1981, in the small town of Harvest in western Kansas. Then, in 1989, the killings abruptly stopped.

Now it is 2008, and Leora has signed a contract to write a book about the unsolved murders. During her research, she interviews the ex-sheriff, Carter Lane, and they join forces to solve the cold case. Their investigation stirs the killer to action. He sends notes threatening them and their loved ones, and signs them with his signature name, 4T: Track, Trap, Torture, Terminate.

I admit

Okay, the words on the back cover of my sample are not identical to the revised version above. While I was working on this post, I thought of a phrase I thought worked better, so I made a change. Isn’t that what writing is all about: working through first thoughts and refining them until they shine?

Your thoughts

As I said at the beginning, everything, including the title, is a work in progress.
Which title do you like best: The Hunt or He’s Back or something else?
Is there something in the blurb that could be improved?
My plan is to publish the book by October 31, 2022, but If you have any suggestions before then, please leave a comment.

Brainstorming Book Blurbs

I don’t know about other writers, but one of the most challenging pieces of writing I do is the back cover book blurb or Amazon sales page book description. Friday, some of the pain was taken out of the task when writer friend, Victoria Hermes-Bond, (Vicki) visited, and we spent the morning brainstorming blurbs for our upcoming novels.

The first book in Vicki’s Women of Reflection Parkway series is Rolling the Dice, a contemporary novel about a group of friends who support each other through life’s challenges.

Book 1of the series is available on Amazon

Vicki is currently preparing the second book in the series, Long Highway Home, for publication later this year. But, of course, before a book can be published, a cover with a book blurb on the back is needed. Since I am also preparing a new novel for publication at the end of October, it made sense for us to get together and brainstorm.

When we met at my place, we each had general ideas of what we wanted to say. What both of our descriptions lacked was a headline that would grab our readers’ attention and indicate what each book was about.

We tackled Vicki’s description first. Long Highway Home centers on two of the women who lived on Reflection Parkway and became good friends at regular neighborhood Bunco games. Life has changed drastically for these women since the first book. Below is the description without the headline.

Original description minus minor tweaks

Alex Webster wrestles with empty nest syndrome after her youngest daughter heads to college. Her husband, Jim, a successful corporate lawyer, dismisses her plight, so Alex goes on sabbatical. Only she forgot to clue her husband in. What she hoped to be an opportunity for personal growth has created changes she never envisioned.  And then there’s Sam, an old-fashioned truck driver, who apparently has become her new confidant.

Also, her dear friend Lydia Parker, a recent widow, travels to Italy as a foreign exchange student and meets Lorenzo, the faculty chef. A romance blossoms until Lydia discovers he seems to be hiding something. If there’s one thing she can’t tolerate in a relationship, it’s secrets. Her now deceased husband, Cole, harbored a huge secret that almost destroyed her.

Surrounded by the love and support of the other Bunco Queens, Kara, Patti-Anne, and Sharon Kay, these women navigate the messiness of their lives. After all, friendships are the glue that hold us all together.

Searching for that single sentence that tells what the book is about

Vicki and I began batting around ideas about what common problem these two women shared. Here is what we came up with:

Can two women whose marriages have gone sideways resolve their trust issues to embrace a happier, more fulfilling future?

Still tweaking

The problem with being an editor is that I am always asking “What if?” In this case, what if the headline was a statement instead of a question? Which is more effective? Let’s see:

Two women whose marriages have gone sideways work to resolve their trust issues and embrace a happier, more fulfilling future.

What do you think?

We’d love to have you weigh in. That’s what brainstorming is all about: sifting through lots of ideas to come up with the best statement possible. Do you think the question or the statement is more effective? Do you have a totally different suggestion? Please comment.

Note: I had originally intended to include the brainstormed version of my book blurb for The Hunt, my new serial killer novel, but this post is longer than I anticipated, so I will save my blurb for the next post.