My Books

My Books

Thursday, 28 February 2013

How Cornelia Funke helped me write a blurb

 One of the YA writers I greatly admire is Cornelia Funke. Writing in her native German, she then has her work translated into English.The result is a uniquely phrased and beautiful way of writing. For my current novel, I wanted some help with getting that all-important premise sorted, before I actually start writing. My usual method is 'discovery'. As I write the book, I find out the character's passion and motivation. Although it unearths many unexpected pleasures, this is a complicated, frustrating way to write, which results in far too many drafts and a lot of confusion. So I vowed I'd do it differently this time. I asked myself, "which of my favourite authors writes a brilliant, concise blurb and has a proven track record?" One book immediately sprang to mind: Cornelia Funke's Reckless.

         Here's the blurb:

Through a mirror...
is a dangerous world.
For years, Jacob Reckless has enjoyed its secrets and treasures.
Not any more.
His younger brother has followed him.
Now dark magic will turn the boy into beast, 
break the heart of the girl he loves, and cause chaos to rule forever...
Unless Jacob can find a way to save them.
You thought you knew about fairy tales? Think again.

a sketch from the book
Intriguing, isn't it? You know straight away -
  • the main characters
  • the setting
  • the conflict
  • the stakes
  • the main character's purpose
Cornelia Funke
And it's all in 65 words. A blurb is not a summary of your plot. It is a taster, a teaser. It's purpose is to get the reader hooked and wanting to find out what happens. Already, I care about Jacob and his brother, just from reading this blurb. I also know something of his character - he likes excitement and he feels responsibility for his younger brother. His name also helps - 'Reckless.' Many questions spring to mind. Why did he go into the mirror world in the first place? Why is it dangerous? What did his brother follow him? What was his girlfriend doing in there too? What are the treasures Jacob found?
In studying the features of this blurb I was able to nail down my own premise. I also used pages one and two of the book to help me with my first chapter, but that's for another day.

cheers, Dawn

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