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  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Noumenon View Post
    Germanic fantasy, is it? I would start by rephrasing the first paragraph to something like:

    Tension between the representatives of gods and men has reached crisis point. Kaizer Frederik III has put forth an ultimatum: return all lands and wealth to its rightful owner, his Deutz Empire, or face the consequences.

    Pretty similar to what you had, but a little tighter to read. The important thing is that it establishes a core aspect of the conflict to come, while characterising KF3 as a despot.

    Then, assuming that the casual reader has no prior knowledge of the story world (like me), I would use the second paragraph to introduce the godly adversaries. Perhaps you could say something like:

    The various orders of the gods, pledged to blah blah blah, are forced to defy Frederik's command and blah blah blah if they are to fulfill their ancient responsibilities.

    This establishes a general opposition to the forces of evil (and where each blah represents as close to ONE word as possible). I really can't say anything precise though, because reading what you wrote I have almost no idea what to make of it. It suffers from too much that's specific but unclear - Godhart is just a label to me, there is "an oath" regarding what, and saying of the child "her kind" only raises infinite questions. You ought to tantalise us with a more manageable number, and the way to do that is better establish the overall nature of the world before you get down to the meaningful details.

    Finally, to me your third paragraph is basically not about story at all but amounts to an explanation of your title. I would ditch it and turn the wordcount more towards the story. So, as suggested above, you could springboard from the description of general opposition and focus down to some specifics:

    Godhart, leader of the Order of Alleman, must etc etc...

    Now Godhart is defined in a way the random punter can understand, and KF3's opposition is shown on a personal level.

    If you want to make reference to a malediction, say how it will appear in the plot. Keep it negative for the threat: When power rests with one man, one word can destroy, or something similar - a good punchy line is a nice way to end the blurb, but spelling out for us Exactly How It Relates To The Title Of This Story wastes valuable words.
    Thank you for your critique. It was very helpful.

    The major player in my universe is a Germanic Empire based on the Holy Roman Empire (during the 2nd crusade), Renaissance France, and early pre-industrial Prussia/Germany.

    I've taken your advice and tried to tighten it up as much as possible, and I was able to get it under a 100 words, but I still feel like something is missing.

    Malediction

    Tension between the representatives of the gods and men has reached crisis point. Kaizer Frederik III has put forth an ultimatum to the Orders: return all lands and wealth to its rightful owner, his Deutz Empire, or face the consequences.

    The ancient Order of Alleman, answerable only to the god of wisdom, has ignored the Kaizerís command and awaits his response. Far removed from politics, Godhart, a templar of Alleman, awaits the arrival of a small child. Bound by an oath to the alien Soldii, refugees from red moon, he prepares to escort the child to Sanctuary.

  2. #32
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    Okay, so a few more thoughts. In your post you've explained something useful to ME, but not in the blurb. If you aren't doing a literal alternate history the below doesn't work, but you should have something like:
    Quote Originally Posted by Para 1
    IN A PARALLEL PAST, AT THE HEART OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, tension between the representatives of the gods and men has reached crisis point. Kaizer Frederik III has put forth an ultimatum to the Orders: return all lands and wealth to its rightful owner, his Deutz Empire, or face the consequences.
    With this, I have a concrete frame of reference for the story to come. In your case things are a little harder; you have to describe, as efficiently as possible, your universe so I can find the "same" foundation for the story.

    As for the second para, I feel like you're missing out the detail that will make the words mean something.
    Quote Originally Posted by Para 2
    The ancient Order of Alleman, answerable only to the god of wisdom, has ignored the Kaizerís command and awaits his response [make this stronger - KF3's going to wage war, so they are really preparing for an onslaught]. Far removed from politics, Godhart, a templar of Alleman, awaits the arrival of a small child [I want the portent: "a child who is destined to... do something"]. Bound by an oath to the Soldii, alien refugees from red moon ["the" red moon... but the red moon of what?], he prepares to escort the child to Sanctuary["...Sanctuary, a refuge high in the mountains that can withstand any assault"]. ["But all the forces Frederik can muster stand between them and safety"]
    I've just grabbed one of my favourite books (not one of mine... because mine don't exist yet). It's Q, by Luther Blissett. Call it a historical thriller, that's more or less what it is. Here's the blurb:
    1517; Martin Luther nails his 95 theses, demanding reform of the Catholic Church, to the door of the cathedral church in Wittenberg, setting off the period of upheaval, war, civil war and violence we now know as the Reformation.

    In this age devastated by the wars of religion, a young theology student adopts the cause of the heretics and the disinherited. Across the chessboard of Europe, from the German plains to the flourishing Dutch cities and down to Venice, the gateway to the East, our hero, a "Survivor", a radical Protestant Anabaptist who goes under many names, and his enemy, Q, a Papal informer and heretic-hunter, play a game in which no moves are forbidden and the true size of the stakes remain hidden to the end. What begins as a struggle to reveal each other's identities eventually becomes part of a much greater mission: to destroy and achieve domination over each other.
    That's 153 words, and if you took off the three glowing review-quotes the back cover has space for the same amount again. I think you should at least be aiming for the 150 word count mark (and, given that most likely The Times and Independent won't be singing your praises, you could make it the full 300) but you need to REALLY sell the excitement of the story. At the moment it's not there.

  3. #33
    I like the pace, I like the writing style. Feels good. Perhaps a little more detail to fleshing out the characters and feelings is needed, to convey their experiences more sharply.

    All in all, I like your style, and if you want exposure, I can post a guest chapter on my website, if you're interested.

    Igor

  4. #34
    I HATE the new look. Just putting it out there. Anyway to change it to the old look?

    I thought about what you said in your post Noumenon and tried a different strategy. Unfortunately each iteration, to me anyway, seems worse than the last.

    Malediction

    In Altstadt, the capital of the Deuts Empire, Godhart, a templar of Order of Alleman, awaits the arrival of a child. Bound by an ancient oath, he prepares to escort the child to Sanctuary, a prison for her kind, but some consider the child too dangerous to live. Surrounded by dark conspiracies, Godhart fights to protect the honour of his Order and the life of a child.

    Imprisoned by the Imperial army, Malik, an Eranshar sorceress, looks for a means of escape. Afflicted with a past she would rather forget she discovers a child cursed with an old magic, a magic some would kill for.

    In the shadows Ravius waits for his next target. As an assassin for the most powerful family of the western continents killing is just job, but when his nephew, the heir to the Argentai family, falls prey to a plot to remove him from the line of succession, Ravius is sent to find and protect him.

    The fate of three children weave together to create a tale of mystery, intrigue, and adventure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Igor View Post
    I like the pace, I like the writing style. Feels good. Perhaps a little more detail to fleshing out the characters and feelings is needed, to convey their experiences more sharply.

    All in all, I like your style, and if you want exposure, I can post a guest chapter on my website, if you're interested.

    Igor
    Thanks for the offer. We can discuss the details over pm.

  5. #35
    Getting Server Errors so I'll just double post.

    Updated/Alternate Version

    Malediction


    Set on Erd, a medieval world orbited by two moons, Malediction centres around three children caught up in politics, intrigue, and a cultural revolution.

    Under a secret mandate by Kaizer Frederik III, Malik, a war prisoner, is ordered to find an ancient artifact with her captor Adrian Lichten, a knight of the Empire, but finds herself confronting her past when she discovers the artifact in possession of a child.

    Bound by an ancient oath to the Soldii Dominion, Godhart, templar of the Alleman Order, receives a child from Legate Helkor, ambassador of the Dominion, and is tasked with escorting a child north to Sanctuary, a place for her kind.

    In the shadows Ravius waits for his next target. As an assassin for the most powerful family of the western continents killing is just job, but when his nephew, the heir to the Argentai family, is targeted by his nemesis, Anulel, in a plot to remove him from the line of succession, he is sent to find and protect him.

  6. #36
    Speaks fluent Bawehrf zachariah's Avatar
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    Princeroth,

    I humbly suggest you are trying too hard to tell everything. We don't want or need to know all the details (or even most of the details).

    Repetition is the ultimate enemy. Repeat phrases must be hunted down and KILLED WITH FIRE! Look over both your last posts and see, for instance, how many times 'a child' crops up. Then, tell us who the actual hero(es) of the story is/are. Are they the children? Or do the three grown-ups mentioned, just by coincidence, happen to receive tasks involving kids? Is this a YA story? I have to say, after reading your synopsis on this thread, I'm none the wiser to what your book is really about.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by zachariah View Post
    Princeroth,

    I humbly suggest you are trying too hard to tell everything. We don't want or need to know all the details (or even most of the details).

    Repetition is the ultimate enemy. Repeat phrases must be hunted down and KILLED WITH FIRE! Look over both your last posts and see, for instance, how many times 'a child' crops up. Then, tell us who the actual hero(es) of the story is/are. Are they the children? Or do the three grown-ups mentioned, just by coincidence, happen to receive tasks involving kids? Is this a YA story? I have to say, after reading your synopsis on this thread, I'm none the wiser to what your book is really about.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I have a good mind just to give up and let a friend write it for me. It's just vexing that I can't write one of these back cover blurbs for my own work.

  8. #38
    Another attempt. See what you think.

    Malediction

    Abomination, freak, monster, the only name 12-year old Lynian yearns to hear is her own. Shipped off to a foreign Empire for ‘safekeeping’, she struggles against her cruel fate, but not everyone is willing to let her live out her life in peace.

    14-year old Hensel dreams of becoming a scribe, but his quiet monastic life is about to come to an end, literally. Caught up in a cultural revolution, he finds himself alone in the world with no family, no friends, and no hope.

    The only thing 13-year old Felix hates more than his title is his father. Heir to a powerful family, expectations and duty come first, but in the shadows jealous rivals scheme and assassins sharpen their blades.

    In this coming-of-age fantasy, the line between heroes and villains blur as the fate of three cursed children weaves together in a tale of adventure and intrigue. Punchy adjective, punchy adjective, punchy adjective, punchy adjective phrase, Malediction is awesome buy it!

  9. #39
    Too many age referencess, three X-years-old mentioned, feels tedious.
    And you atuomatically exclude anyone above a certain age, say 17-18, who would not want to read about children.
    Igor

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