NaNo 11: Hooks and Blurbs

Using the snowflake method, fairly close to the beginning you write a one sentence summary (is that what snowflake calls it?). It’s kind of like what us fanfic writers might use as an FFn summary, so it’s a good exercise. For a start, it helps to know what your story is about before you start writing (not as duh as it sounds—I’ve often begun writing without having a clue). The general format is ‘protagonist, conflict/opposition, goal’ or something like that (yeah, I’m talking out of my ass right about now). Breaking it down like that helps it to be understandable—and if you start with something like this it certainly removes the need to use the clichéd ‘I suck at summaries’ (don’t you dare, by the way).

Some people call the one sentence summary the hook. It’s supposed to hook a potential reader—and that’s just what the FFn summary does (or should do). It breaks the plot down into the simplest form, something a reader can absorb in seconds while scrolling down the FFn search results. So it’s gotta say something ;)

I sometimes allow myself a couple of sentences for the hook. At this point, it’s still just an outlining step for me. For my most likely NaNo project, I still don’t have a hook. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what Luke is up against, and what he wants. So I’m still at the ‘is there actually a story here?’ point. That’s okay, I’ll get there.

The next thing snowflake asks of you is to expand that sentence out into a paragraph. This time, you’re working with the protag, conflict, and goal, but you stretch it out into a beginning, middle, and end of the story. Generally one sentence for each. This can often look like what’s on the back cover of a book, or what might be your summary if you post somewhere like TwiWrite that allows more space for the summary.

I haven’t done this for VDII yet, either, though I might find it easier than the one sentence thing, because for this story I do have a rough idea of the beginning, middle, and end, even though I haven’t worked out the proper conflict and goal yet.

This might be because Luke isn’t the right POV character. If he’s not, I’d much rather find out now before I go too much further, so I will endeavour to write my hook and blurb tonight!


I suck at one sentence summaries ;)

Actually, my story idea is flawed. From what I can gather, there is a lot going on in my story—so much so that I’m having trouble narrowing down a single conflict or goal. Also, I don’t have a very strong antagonist. He’s not going to do anything particularly evil, and he is going to redeem himself toward the end, and this is going to come too easily—pretty much with no effort on the part of my protagonist.

And my protagonist is the human that is going to be witnessing the event of the story more than anything else. He has his role to play, but I think it really does come back to too much going on. I have a lot of subplots, so perhaps I need to simplify things, and once I establish the central plot, I need to re-examine my POV character.

So even though I still don’t have a hook or blurb, it’s still been a very useful exercise—I’ve discovered that I have a lot of work to do on my outline ;)

I’ll be doing playlist on Monday. Thanks for reading :D


4 responses to “NaNo 11: Hooks and Blurbs

  • H.E. ELLIS

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I wrote an entire novel and for the life of me could not come up with an appropriate back jacket copy. Still hate the one I did write. Hope you have better luck than me.

    • vampireisthenewblack

      I’m still having trouble with this one. I can get it started if I ignore my protagonist completely, but I think my resolution is kinda lame :( Still not panicking though. I’m hoping it will sort itself out before I start writing. Still got some time :)

  • vicvega66

    Hiya, I’ll be doing NANO for the second year running, glutton for punishment or what? Anyway, I have no idea what I’m going to write till I sit down on the 1st of November and actually start writing. It’s a plan and its mine.


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