15 April 2012, Development - Terrible Teasers and Worse
Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:
1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
a. Description of the character - introduction
b. Voice of the character
c. Continuing revelation by showing
In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.
I'm writing about teasers and sales blurbs for books. I'm not certain how long this will take, but the world needs to hear it.
If the teaser or book blurb doesn't excite them to check out the book, you're hosed. So what makes a great teaser and what makes a bad teaser? A great teaser excites us about the book, the theme, the plot, the characters, and makes us want to, at least, check out the book. Did you get that? Excitement is the key. Note, there is nothing in the list (book, theme, plot, characters) about you. I'm not certain the kind of people who are writing all these books today, but one thing they don't possess is humility.
I think I spent a couple of months explaining that people don't care about you (as an author) they care about the topic and the book. The only reason they care about the book is that they like the plot, theme, and/or characters. I mean, we'd like them to like all three, but hey, not everyone likes the same books or types of books either. My point is this--whatever you do, don't start any teaser, blurb, interview, etc. with I. Don't start with "my book" or "my characters"--no first person personal pronouns allowed, please.
The teasers are supposed to be about the novel--not about you. Are you getting the point here? Many of the teasers I've seen lately begin with "I wrote this book" or "My book about..." or whatever but not about the plot, theme, or characters of the book at all. Remember, excitement. I'll mention the latest negative I saw in a book tomorrow.
I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.