Monday, November 10, 2008

The Back Cover Copy

So you sit down one day & start writing an adventure story for kids. The 1st draft flows along pretty well - just get the thoughts down. Create the characters & give them personalities. Keep the pace up-tempo. Expand this - cut that. Put it away & let it ferment for a bit. Do the homework about the publishing process.

Start re-writing. Tearing it apart. Slap yourself silly wondering "What's up with THAT?" Revise - Revise - Revise. Make sure you're not loaded up with similes or structure problems. Check continuity. Move portions from one part of the story to another. Put it away & let it ferment for a bit. More homework.

Start editing. Check punctuation. Format. Change words around. (There always seems to be a slightly better way to get a point across. A better way to say it.) Line by line - 9, 10, 27 times. You practically know it all by heart. Is it funny enough? Is it scary enough? OK so it's fiction but is it realistic enough? Put it away & let it ferment for a bit. More homework.

Begin editing again. Make final decisions - who are you sending it to. By now the "book" has been read aloud at least 15 times - looking for that odd word or awkward phrase. Getting anxious & frustrated. Another project is already underway & you NEED to put more time in on it. One last time - put it aside to ferment.

Final tweak. Explain the book in 40 words or less - amazingly, it gets the OK. Final tweak then the really this time final tweak & THEN - Write the "hook" - It's the only chance for creating the 2nd impression (after the cover). Can you consolidate the 67,000 words that you've agonized over into .... 250 & make it interesting without giving away too much or turning it into a blatant sales pitch? Write it & change it 20 times. One last look. 4 more changes. The potential reader will look at the cover - if that gets 'im, the book will be flipped over to scan the description on the back. Will they get past the 1st line? The 2nd? The 3rd - before putting it back on the shelf & moving on?

So here it is - The "Hook" for BAD LATITUDE - A Jack Rackham Adventure. You're a kid now. Would you even THINK about opening the book at this point?

The seaside town of St. Augustine is haunted. Everyone knows that.

For fifteen-year-old Jack, a descendant of the notorious pirate Calico Jack, it was supposed to be a relaxing summer of great surfing, exploring the Ancient City and adventures on his very own boat, Bad Latitude. His discovery of a three hundred year old diary changed all of that.

When the secrets of the old book are unraveled, Jack enlists the help of his best friend Kai, and together, they begin the dangerous search for the hidden fortune buried beneath the abandoned burial grounds of Rattlesnake Island. Digging under the light of the full moon, the boys are unaware that a terrifying menace lies hidden in the darkness, determined to prevent their escape. Supernatural guardians of the island are clawing and dragging their way through the snake-infested marsh grass, surrounding the pair, working to create a deadly ambush, while offshore lurks a mysterious ship, shrouded in an eerie green fog, flying the flag of the long dead Calico Jack Rackham.

Before daybreak, Jack and Kai will face a desperate struggle for survival, ultimately choosing between unimaginable wealth and friendship. Will they put their own lives on the line to save one another from the evil that stalks their every move, or will the promise of great riches lead to tragedy and despair?

I left off the author info - nothing interesting there. It's just about me, I'm nobody special, & it's very brief.

Thoughts anyone?


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Awesome back cover copy! I'm intrigued!
Writing it is such a daunting task. Yours looks great! Bravo!

Heinous said...

I think it's good. It's catching and it makes you want to find out what happens.

Mike E said...

I like it! I cant wait to read it to the kids.

JaxPop said...

Becky - Awesome? Really? Cool! The cover art is almost done so I'll be able to stop stressing soon. I hope. How is your 2nd book coming along? I still wanna getcha to sign my copy of 'French By Heart'.

Jim - Thanks for the compliment. Glad you think it works. By the way - it's waaayyyy cool to get a tattoo with your boy - in my case boys. Can't wait 'til my grandson is ready to get some ink.

Michael - Glad you like it. Maybe someday I'll get to read it to the kids, - before me n' Jack go to the tattoo shop. Mom can take Bel. (Jim posted something today about needles & his son - that's why the tattoo comments here - don't want you to think I'm losing it quite yet. I gotta coupla years left.)

Becky - Jim (FYI) - Mike is my oldest son. Good guy but my tattoos are much better n' his.

Mark LaFlamme said...

I dig the blurb. Nice and taut. Have you been asked to write a synopsis of your book yet? Total punishment for your temerity in being a writer. It's got to be written in the present tense and it must reveal the ending. You will burst into flames as you're writing it and commence to drinking hard liquor immediately after. Misery. Try to avoid it if you can.
Looking forwared to BAD LATITUDE. It's a kickin' title, too.

JaxPop said...

Hey Mark - Haven't written a synopsis yet & will try to avoid it at all costs. I tried it way back & it was frustrating - especially with my wacked out (sayyyy what???)ending. What's irritating is the fact that a synopsis is only ever read by a handful of people so it seems to be a difficult exercise resulting in little benefit.

Reading Salem's Lot (while I wait for Pink Room) - had forgotten what a great book that was. I read it at least 25 years ago. It would be cool to see someone do a re-make of the movie. Makes me wanna visit Maine again. SK actually mentions areas around you, including Lewiston. Maybe we'll make the trip in the summer.

JRSlater said...

Very nice! Better than any writing I can do! :o)

PS Sorry to see you leave the Writers & Friend site, hope it wasn't anything I said.


JaxPop said...

James - I'll be back. That was a screw up on my part. Trying to make an easier link & deleted my password etc. in the process. Busy trying to make some improvements & setting up some new stuff. I'm just a notch above 'moron' when it comes to this gizmo called a laptop. Maybe I need to make a trip to see Heinous - he's an IT guy. Thanks for the compliment by the way. I'll be back but it looks like I'll need a new nickname - which kinda sucks.

Ronnie said...

A bit late to the party, but the lighthouses grabbed me. I'm no writer, but I raised three boys and they have three boys. This is something they would eat with both hands. Especially kids that grew up in the coastal south. Love those Buccaneer Days in Fernandina!
I'm older than you, but it sounds reminiscent of the old Spin & Marty series on black and white TV. I loved that show. Don't discount the girls. I was always more interested in the messes boys got into!
Looking forward to reading your book.

JaxPop said...

Ronnie - FYI. Part of the story takes place in Fernandina - The Isle of Eight!!! Jack & Talia take a boat ride in Bad Latitude through Cumberland sound into the old Pirate's Den - In fact, Chapter 14 is called 'The Pirate's Den'. Unfortunately - the chapter that follows is called 'Life Jackets' - something you retired Coast Guard folks are probably familiar with. By the way - I remember B&W TV very well. Hope you get to read the book. It will be out between Christmas & New Year's.