Narrative Writing

 

Cover Blurb

A "blurb" is a short description of a book that is typically found on the back cover. It's the first think most readers read, and its purpose is to entice the reader into buying the book.

You might think that the blurb is the last thing the author writes; however, many authors write it first, in order to ensure that they have a marketable story.

Fortunately, you have already written your blurb—sort of. That's what we we've been doing for the last seven lessons. Of course, it's still very rough. We followed a crude, step-by-step formula. Now it's time to polish it up.

Polishing Your Blurb

Look at sentences you wrote in the previous lessons (Six Story Elements). Your job, now, is to turn those sentences into a tight, readable paragraph (or two) that ends with your story question.

Whatever you do, try not to leave out any elements. A reader should be able to identify all six story elements from your blurb.

Study these examples. Notice how each blurb ends with the story question.

When humans suddenly start dying from a mysterious illness, Sarah Walton tries to find out why. But can she defeat the traitors in high places who want to kill her in order to hide the truth?

1

Character

Sarah Walton

2

Situation

Humans are dying from a mysterious illness.

3

Objective

Sarah wants to find out why.

4

Opponent

traitors in high places . . .

5

Disaster

. . . want to kill her in order to hide the truth.

6

Story Question

Can Sarah defeat the traitors?


Lonely, frustrated, and tired of living in a home where she's treated like an unpaid servant, Cinderella wants to go to a ball being held at the royal palace. Will she lose this chance for happiness because her selfish godmother won't let her go to the ball?

1

Character

Cinderella

2

Situation

She is lonely, frustrated, and tired of living in a home where she's treated like an unpaid servant.

3

Objective

She wants to go to a ball being held at the royal palace.

4

Opponent

Her selfish godmother . . .

5

Disaster

. . . won't let her go to the ball.

6

Story Question

Will she lose this chance for happiness?

A young Jedi warrior, Luke Skywalker, must rescue Princess Leia from the clutches of a galactic empire. A Sith lord, Darth Vader, is determined to stop him. Will Luke succeed in rescuing the beautiful princess?

1

Character

Luke Skywalker, a young Jedi warrior

2

Situation

Princess Leia is in the clutches of a galactic empire.

3

Objective

Luke must rescue her.

4

Opponent

Darth Vader, a Sith Lord . . .

5

Disaster

. . . is determined to stop him.

6

Story Question

Will Luke succeed in rescuing the beautiful princess?


Little Red Riding Hood must deliver a basket of freshly-baked bread to her sick grandmother. On the way, she meets a hungry wolf. Can Little Red Riding Hood escape with her life and protect her dear old grandmother?

1

Character

Little Red Riding Hood

2

Situation

Her grandmother is sick.

3

Objective

She must deliver a basket of freshly-baked bread.

4

Opponent

A hungry wolf . . .

5

Disaster

. . . endangers the lives of Red Riding Hood and her grandma.

6

Story Question

Can Red Riding Hood escape with her life and protect her dear old grandmother?

 

Blurb Formulas

Unfortunately, there is no "magic formula" for writing a blurb or anything else. That said, you may find the following formulas helpful. Tweak them, as necessary, until you have a blurb that you're satisfied with.

[Name of Protagonist] is a [character trait & occupation]. One day, she learns that ________[situation]___________, and she decides to __________[objective]__________. There's just one problem: [Name of Antagonist] is determined to stop her. Can [Protagonist] overcome [some obstacle / danger] and succeed in [accomplishing her goal]?

When ________[bad situation happens]___________, [Name of Protagonist] decides to __________[objective]__________. Can [Protagonist] succeed in [accomplishing her goal] before [Antagonist] [does something horrible]?

Lesson Steps

  1. Open your writing portfolio.
    • Level 16
      • Cover Blurb
  2. Write your cover blurb in one or two paragraphs.
    • Minimum word count: 30 words

Here is an example:

Cover Blurb
Write your cover blurb

Bernard Stanley is a shy baker. His wife died five years ago, and now he is terribly lonely. He wants to ask one of his regular customers out on a date. Her name is Shelly.

Unfortunately, Shelly's father would never approve. He wants Shelly to marry a rich banker called Ralph. Can Bernard win Shelly's heart and overcome her father's objections, before she marries Ralph?

  1. When you are finished, return to this page and take the quiz.
Quiz