The Hardest Words to Write

NaNo, writeI’d been putting it off.  I’d been fighting it and avoiding it, finding things that were suddenly more pressing. But time is ticking down. We’ve got a big announcement coming and I just couldn’t put it off any longer.

It was time to write the book description for Shatter.

I’ll admit that I haven’t written many book descriptions over the years. The Dark Days Series and Asylum Tales were released through HarperCollins, and the publisher had the book description. I trusted them and their years of experience to craft a succinct, interesting, engaging description of a story that took me months to write.

Now it’s just Rinda and me… and a few author friends who kindly beta read for us.

But think about it… how do you condense more than 100,000 words down to just 150 words?

There’s action, heart break, triumph, misunderstandings, pain, joy, rage, near misses, and horror. An entire world unfolds at your fingertips over hundreds of pages. You get lost in characters, events, and strange or familiar locations.

So how do we do it?

Rinda and I go off to our separate corners and we both draft up a version. For me, I start by doing a brain dump of words. Words to describe the characters, the plot and the location. With all these words staring back at me, I grab fresh piece of paper and start writing.  I typically write about 20 sentences of utter crap before I start getting to the good stuff.  It’s like mining for gold. You have to move all the earth and useless dirt out of the way before you can start getting at what you were really looking for.

After a lot of moaning, complaining, and moving the cat out of the way and off the paper, I finally have something that might work. I slap that description in an email and send it off to Rinda before I can talk myself out of it.

Then…. Only then am I allowed to look at the draft that she sent over. I prefer to work blind. That way, I’m not influenced by what she wrote and she’s not influenced by me. We have more words to choose from and different perspectives on what needs to mentioned … and what should be avoided.

From here, we’ll go back and forth a bit. Come up with a single version. Then share it with a few trusted friends, who will offer some tweaks.

And soon… soon… you’ll get a look at the book description for Shatter.

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