STEP TWO: THE BACK COVER BLURB
Congratulations! You have your one-sentence summary complete, and you’re ready to build on it. Your agent pitch is ready, so it’s time for your back cover blurb.
People who pick up a novel at a bookstore almost immediately flip it over to “see what it’s all about.” It’s not a single sentence; it’s usually a paragraph or more to give a decent idea of what’s inside.
In order to complete this step, you’re going to have to think of dividing your novel into different sections. A “classical” story structure (since the days of Aristotle) has three main parts:
1. An introduction, including the initial conflict.
2. A middle, where complications occur.
3. A satisfying ending.
For our purposes, we’re going to break this up into even smaller pieces at first:
Sentence #1: Story setup / backdrop.
Sentence #2: Conflict / disaster #1.
Sentence #3: Complication / disaster #2.
Sentence #4: Complication / disaster #3.
Sentence #5: A hint of the ending / resolution.
Now again, the first time I tried this with my novel, JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN, it looked like this:
Blake Mack is a thief who, while fleeing police, veers off onto a logging road and slams into a cyclist, whose identity he assumes. He enjoys his new start at first, but then a young hotshot police officer with something to prove starts making his life more difficult. To make matters worse, he discovers a shocking secret about the true identity of the man he has become. When a new love interest betrays him, he has no one to turn to. He’s on the run—from the law, from “The Company,” and from a broken relationship; his only way out may be to start all over again…but will he get the chance?
Got it? Good! Now go write your own novel’s back cover copy! Five sentences, please. Also, we’re going to get more time to do step three tomorrow, so really push yourself to get these five sentences finished today if you can. We’re building…please stay with us, and join tomorrow for step three!