book jacket / effort / frustration / writing

A Book Straight Jacket

Okay. Huge thanks to everyone who commented on that last post (or sent a very helpful email). So, I’ve been trying and retrying to come up with the flap copy for a book that is written but not published.

I was using the word synopsis, but it seems to be accurate, I should’ve just called it a book jacket or flap copy. Something like that. You know, that little bit in the book jacket that makes you want to take the jacket off and see what’s there.

Of course, a dozen details come to mind–as in, this will be an interesting part to mention. Sigh. But as one commenter said, “Less is more.”

If this is a book jacket, would this be enough?

What happened on that one drive home to change the fate of sixteen-year-old Fran? She wants nothing more than to forget the drive and the boy who took her home. But when her best friend, Chesnie, plots revenge on her behalf, neither girl expects the dark places they will go.

That leaves out a lot. But I’ve struggled with how to get more details in without sounding like, then, then, and then…

What happened that one late night drive home to change the fate of sixteen-year-old Fran? She wants nothing more than to forget the drive and the boy who took her home. Her best friend, Chesnie, has other plans, but revenge leads to unexpected places. The girls find themselves in the local brothel, but only one girl is free to leave.

What, if anything, of the previous effort should be here?

What is this so bloody difficult?

12 thoughts on “A Book Straight Jacket

  1. How many words are you allowed to have?

    When teaching my students how to write a summary, I always tell them to pick the key moment from the beginning, middle, and the end (without giving it away). It’s kind of like telling someone about a movie you saw last night without taking two hours to explain it! We always make visual timelines where they can bullet out the main ideas and then turn the bullets into sentences. I use this method in my own writing and it still works like a charm. 🙂

  2. I think this is excellent, a huge improvement, but I do think you need to include something about the blue jar (is the book actually called ‘The Blue Jar’?), or certainly something about spells or magic to make it clear what type of book this is, but definitely almost there!

  3. I liked the earlier one better. 🙂 I liked the blue jar, and knowing some of the things the young women did to revenge and protect themselves. C.B.’s bullet points technique sounds like a great way to approach it — or to approach outlining a book one hasn’t written yet! Swiping THAT! 😉

  4. Um, I hesitate to add an opposing opinion because I don’t want to confuse you even further, but I prefer the longer one from earlier. If you wanted to shorten it you could take out, oh say, the least relevant thing. I like the way you summarized the plot.

    I believe what you have here is closer to an elevator pitch than jacket copy. Of these two, I prefer the first, but I would try to eliminate the opening question.

    My two cents, probably worth less than that.

    • Your two cents is worth more than two cents! ALWAYS. So there. I like different things about each. But I’ve got to keep trying! Thanks for reading this, Sherri.

  5. Woooo, both tempt me to dive into the read! I like them both, but is there a way to blend them more? Stripping the last sentence from the first synopsis and incorporating it to the second synopsis would seem more intriguing and give more insight.

  6. I agree with Vanessa’s comment — you should be giving a prospective reader a solid basis on which to decide whether she wants to read this book. I’ve been thinking about your initial version — the picture I get of a young woman living with a violent brother and ignoring/being ignored by parents whose marriage is dissolving as she confronts adult problems. Is this a coming of age novel? A girl-pal adventure? A love story with the persistent (stalker-ish?) boyfriend? These versions make me want to read the book more (much more!), but is that because they leave out the magic, which wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me, or because they are better at telling me what sort of novel this is? I can’t decide. I’ll dither more and let you know if I have any useful comments, but after a long (long, long) meeting at work, not sure that will happen soon.

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