Read Around the Rainbow Web Ring

Read Around the Rainbow: On Writing Blurbs

Read Around the Rainbow is a blogging project featuring yours truly, A.L. Lester, Ofelia Gränd, Holly Day, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Addison Albright, Fiona Glass, Lilian Francis, and Ellie Thomas. Every month, we pick a topic and then we blog about it. Check the other blog posts by clicking the RAtR widget in the sidebar, or the links at the bottom of this post.

The March RAtR topic is How do you feel about blurbs? Do you write them before or after your story?

Let’s start with the easy question, question number 2. Do I write blurbs before or after I write my story? After. I’m a pantser, a discovery writer, which means I don’t write an outline, not even bullet points, and I don’t plan what’s going to happen in my story. No, most of the time I only have the vaguest idea for what my story is going to be about when I start writing it.

I can give you an example. A couple weeks ago, I scrolled past a retweet made by one of my favorite artists. It was a black and white picture and the tweet read There was a man in the bar this afternoon who looked so like you that I just made a face at him and laughed. But it wasn’t you. This sentence will be the inspiration for the next story I’m going to write, the one after my current WIP. But that’s all I got…or wait. That’s not entirely true. The next story is going to be for another joint project with the Naked Gardener gang and it will be written for World Letter Writing Day on September 1st, so there’s going to be letters in the story. So “it wasn’t you” and letters, that’s all I got. And that does not a blurb make.

So I have to wait until the thing is actually written before I can summarize what it’s about in a few short sentences.

That leads us to the first part of the question. How do I feel about blurbs? Well. If you’ve followed me for a while, I’m sure you know by now how I feel about blurbs. Let me quote myself:

My tried and tested process of obsessing about how difficult it is to write a blurb for two weeks, try to write it and fail miserably, and then drown in anxiety for the next two weeks before finally producing anything—like I did with the Christmas story—wasn’t all that great

Blog post quote from 2017

I also have a blog post named “Writing Blurbs is Hard” and this is the picture from that post. Lots of drafts, nothing of significance.

So the answer to how I feel about writing blurbs is: I hate it. Doing it has made me consider giving up writing altogether. Many, many of my blurbs wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the extraordinary Kris T. Bethke. She’s my one-time writing partner, my friend, my beta reader, and someone who actually likes writing blurbs. (I didn’t think that was a thing anyone liked, but clearly, I was wrong 😁) She has written drafts for so many of my blurbs after I’ve gotten stuck. By then, she’s read the story, and as an added bonus, she’s lightning quick, and I’m not kidding when I say that all she needs to come up with a blurb draft is ten minutes or so.

And this blurb draft from her is what helps me write the darned thing in the end, her words inspire my own, and I use words, sentences, or sometimes entire paragraphs from her drafts and work around them until I have something I’m mostly happy with. On occasion, I’ve come up with a blurb without her input, but more often than not, she’s helped. I don’t know what I’d do without her, she’s invaluable.

So while writing is a solitary job, you can’t do it by yourself. You need someone to beta read, someone to listen to you rant about weird stock photos, someone to lend you an ear when you’re stuck, someone to kick your ass in gear when you’re lazy, and some people, like me, need a friend to help with the blurb. I’m lucky I’ve got all that.

So my answer is that while I know blurbs are necessary–because how else would you know how to pick your next read?–I dislike writing them more than licking the toilet bowl clean.

Okay, that might have been a slight exaggeration 😆…

Don’t forget to check out my fellow RatR authors to see how they feel about blurb writing.

Addison Albright :: Holly Day :: Amy Spector :: Ellie Thomas :: Fiona Glass :: Lillian Francis


11 thoughts on “Read Around the Rainbow: On Writing Blurbs”

  1. Oh, love that tweet! It made me chuckle and made me want to write a story for it too! 😆 And I agree with you on everything about blurbs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 100% agree on all of this! My thoughts exactly. We plantsers have no choice but to wait until close to the end to write the darned blurb. I’m looking forward to that story…it’s funny the things that’ll trigger a story idea! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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