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?