Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing A Series Description

So, one of the things that they don't tell you about in author school is that you are very likely to be spending good bits of your life writing things that look nothing like fiction. Bios, synopses, blurbs for other people's books, book and series descriptions for cover or marketing or bookstores, opinion pieces, essays on various writing and marketing topics, introductions, and on and on and on.

Today, a bookseller asked me where she might find a good series description for Fallen Blade. Unfortunately, I couldn't point her to one because, to the best of my knowledge no one has yet written one beyond the basic pitch-style one sentence version I've been using while answering fan mail and the like.

That goes a little like this: Fallen Blade is a high fantasy/detective noir hybrid. Which is true enough, but hardly adequate. Especially since I've now written a couple of the books and things change as you write.

So here's my attempt, let me know what you think…

Fallen Blade:

The Fallen Blade series is fantasy-noir set in a world that never was.

Fallen Blade follows the adventures of Aral Kingslayer and his living shadow familiar, Triss. Aral Kingslayer was a sorcerer and assassin once upon a time, perhaps the best in the world, one of the fabled Blades of Namara, Goddess of Justice. With Triss at his side, he killed the kings and generals that the law couldn't touch.

That was before. Before they murdered his goddess and burned her temple to the ground. Before they outlawed his kind. Before the wanted posters and the death sentence and the whiskey bottle. Now, Aral's living on the edge of disaster in the city of Tien, a jack of the shadow trades, working in the darkness while he tries to find his way back to the light. The series begins with Broken Blade, in 2011 with Bared Blade and Crossed Blades following in 2012.

Alternatively:

The Fallen Blade series is a noir-inflected traditional fantasy set in a darkened world of the mythical past.

What do you do when your goddess is murdered? If you're a former temple assassin with a huge price on your head, like Aral Kingslayer, you go into the shadow jack business, solving problems and doing odd jobs on the fringes of the underworld in the ancient city of Tien. It's a long step down from killing kings for the Goddess of Justice, but at least it provides Aral and Triss, the living shadow who is his secret partner and familiar, with a reason to keep going.

The Fallen Blade books follow Aral's adventures as he and Triss try to find a new cause. The series begins with Broken Blade, in 2011 with Bared Blade and Crossed Blades following in 2012.

6 comments:

Adele Kirby said...

"darkened world of the mythical past" kicks the backside of "a world that never was".

From the first version I LOVE "Now, Aral's living on the edge of disaster in the city of Tien, a jack of the shadow trades, working in the darkness while he tries to find his way back to the light."

Far more intriguing than "The Fallen Blade books follow Aral's adventures as he and Triss try to find a new cause."

"Jack of the shadow trades" is also a win over "the shadow jack business."

Go wyrdsmith that :)

Beth said...

The second one appeals to someone like me, who only reads this genre when you write in it. :) Easier for me to wrap my women's fiction brain around.

And I agree, I love the phrase "working in the darkness...to the light."

Looking forward to adding to my KMcC collection! Best of luck with the non-novel writing.

lindorm said...

Thank you for those! I made good use of them and look forward to the series!
-Lindorm

Chrystoph said...

While the first version is more descriptive, I think the second has more draw.

I guess it would depend on what they are being used for. I would want the first in a magazine description, but the second on a book cover.

Kelly McCullough said...

Thanks folks!

Eleanor said...

I like the first version, and I like the term "fantasy noir" or "noir fantasy."