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Query blurbs are my Achilles’ heel

Bloganuary day 5! Today’s prompt is:

What is something you wish you knew how to do?

Phew! The prompts becoming more difficult was not a trend. Though this one swings the other way – how on earth do I pick just one thing that I wish I knew how to do? And when it comes to writing… that list is gargantuan. Of course there’s all sorts of craft related skills that I wish I was better at, or understood at all. Who exactly set the rules around commas and why are they so darned impossible? Then of course there’s knowing how to build out a good mystery – even in a book that’s not specifically a mystery, most good books have some kind of mystery woven in.

Then my mind strays to my worlds of fantasy and all manner of things that I wish I knew how to do (and wish were real), not the least of which being magic. Teleportation would be a game changer for me. But really, let’s stay focused on the things that I stand at least some chance of learning.

While there are aspects of the craft of writing that I’ve struggled with on my journey, none are so draining and soul sucking as the elusive Query Letter. They are a craft of their own. A skill set that has been eluding me for years, despite hours of deep dives and learning and coaching. Like this is something that I’ve spent more effort trying to figure out than any other single aspect of writing. I knocked out a first draft of my first book, 88K words, in 45 days – sure it wasn’t a masterpiece, but it had merit and was entertaining.

But a 250-word blurb? That’s intriguing, attention grabbing, a siren’s call that refuses to be ignored? I’ve probably written more total word count on revised query letters than I have on the books I’ve written. Okay, that’s a stretch. But it FEELS like it. So hands down, this is clearly something I don’t know how to do (at least not well enough) and it is something that I wish, with all my might, that I knew how to do properly and effortlessly.

Now that I think about it, it might not be entirely something that I don’t know “how” to do, but I certainly don’t seem to be getting it right, so I think that counts.

I know that a query blurb needs to hit the points of: who is the MC, what do they want, what conflict gets in their way, what are the stakes. But oh if only a bullet point list of those details were sufficient. Next, those points need to be wrapped in voice and to showcase our storytelling abilities. I’m pretty confident that I can tell a decent story, when I’ve got a runway of nearly 100K words. But short fiction, flash fiction in particular, isn’t something I’ve ever tried – maybe that’s where I’m going wrong?

In any case, this one was a slam dunk for me. I don’t feel that I know how to right a good query blurb and it’s become my Achilles’ heel. For inquiring minds, I’ll include my latest version below – feel free to comment, offer suggestions, or not, that’s okay too. This wasn’t a mastermind plan to get eyes on my query, I’m fortunate enough to be part of a couple of great writing groups who have been offering loads of help – yet, here I am haha.

My debut, TITLE, is an upper-YA Fantasy with elements of no steam romance. The story expands on the loving family component of Tangled combined with the ancient magic and fantastical world of Shang Chi in an adventure of self-discovery where Amanda faces an internal battle of self vs the greater good.

Amanda loves riding dragons in her mysterious dreams, and she’s tired of her real life feeling unfulfilling. But when she escapes a bizarre attack on her life, she learns she’s been living a lie for twenty years. Yet, she’s more stunned that her parents had agreed to their family exile without demanding reasons for it.

Returning to her Elven homeland of Eytherfel, armed with minuscule information, she’s determined to unearth the truth about who she is. But in her single-minded quest to get answers and unveil the meaning of her dreams, she develops a knack for putting others in harm’s way. As she struggles to rediscover her magic, memories, and past, the choleric elfin leader, Kalian, is hellbent on getting rid of her, even if it means killing her. As any level-headed elf would do, Amanda ends up turning to the wrong person for help, who wants to exploit her magic. While trying to stay alive and in control to uncover the truth, she reveals the ancient magic destroying this world.

If she stays to seize her rightful place in Eytherfel, she risks losing her individuality or her life. But if she leaves, she abandons a major part of who she is and the realm she was born to rule.

And that puts me back on track, in a timely manner, batting 5 for 5 on this Bloganuary adventure. Kind of impressed with myself so far, daily blogging hasn’t been something I’ve ever managed to pull off. It’s fun. I’m enjoying it. Wish I had more bandwidth for it, but I’m making it work so far.

Your turn. Is there some hidden writing related skill that you wish you knew how to do? Though I’m getting some non-writers reading a few of these posts too, so really, anything you’d like to comment with or share works for me. We could talk about all the wildly fantastical and unrealistic things that I wish I knew how to do as well (if only they were possible!)

#bloganuary – Join the fun: https://bloganuary.wordpress.com

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