Blurb Doctor: Gem-Oh Line

This is the second house call by the Blurb Doctor for one of Natalie McKay‘s stories. This time it’s Gem-Oh Line, here’s the current blurb:

Nyria’s life couldn’t get much worse. Not only was she now the laughing stock of the Afgadu Military, she now was sent as a form of punishment to the other end of the galaxy for some smuggler who most likely would have already fled before she arrived.

Frustrated and upset, Nyria hops onto the only trans galactic transport line only to find it disturbingly empty. With nothing left for her in Afgadu space, and her career on the line she put her worries behind her and entered the line, only to have her worries proven wright half way through. With a ship full of pirates on her tail, Nyria finally has an outlet for pent up anger and she’s not afraid to show it.

They picked the wrong girl to try and rob.

Let’s break it down:

Nyria’s life couldn’t get much worse.

  • Actually, it could get a lot worse. In fact, if it doesn’t get worse (at least temporarily), then the story probably won’t be interesting.

Not only was she now the laughing stock of the Afgadu Military, she now was sent as a form of punishment to the other end of the galaxy for some smuggler who most likely would have already fled before she arrived.

  • “she now” is used twice in the same sentence, we’ll have to get rid of at least one instance.
  • She is being “sent as a form of punishment … for some smuggler”. This is ambiguous. Is she being punished? Or is she the smuggler’s punishment?
  • The smuggler “most likely would have already fled before she arrived.” I can barely follow this, it needs to be simplified.

Frustrated and upset, Nyria hops onto the only trans galactic transport line only to find it disturbingly empty.

  • If it’s “the only …. transport line”, then it can just be ‘the … transport line’.
  • “trans galactic” should probably be ‘transgalactic’ or ‘trans-galactic’.
  • I don’t know the technology being used, but Nyria probably doesn’t find the “line” empty. If the line is something analogous to a train line, then she hops on an empty train. If the line is a company that operates space liners, then she hops onto an empty liner.

With nothing left for her in Afgadu space, and her career on the line she put her worries behind her and entered the line, only to have her worries proven wright half way through.

  • This is contradictory. If there is nothing left for her at home, how can her career be on the line? Either she truly has nothing left, or she has a career that can potentially be salvaged.
  • There’s something wrong with the space-time continuum here. She hopped on the line in the last sentence, and is worried about how empty it is. Now she puts those worries aside and enters the line, but she must already be on the line to have those worries…
  • If this sentence structure were kept, the comma would have to move from behind “space” to behind the first instance of “line”.
  • “wright” should be spelled ‘right’.

With a ship full of pirates on her tail, Nyria finally has an outlet for pent up anger and she’s not afraid to show it.

  • Again, this seems contradictory to me. If the pirates are “on her tail”, that implies that she is running away. If they are an outlet for her anger, that implies she’s fighting them.
  • “she’s not afraid to show it”? I’m not sure exactly what “it” is, or why anyone would think she should be afraid to let it show.

They picked the wrong girl to try and rob.

  • “try and rob” is a colloquialism that would work inside of dialogue, but isn’t correct outside of it.
  • This entire sentence may be unnecessary anyway; we’ve discussed her anger already, and that’s apparently why she’s the wrong girl to rob.

Here’s an ultra-rough first draft of a rewritten blurb:

Nyria is the laughing stock of the Afgadu military. She’s sent on another lowest priority, make-work mission to track down some two-bit smuggler at the other end of the galaxy. When pirates target her transport, she finally has an outlet for her pent-up anger.

As with my last blurb re-write, I haven’t read the story, so it’s possible I’ve inadvertently introduced some inaccuracies. This draft also needs a rewrite; it doesn’t look very professional at the moment. Will you take up the challenge and pen your own version in the comments section?

Again, there’s some good news: the revised blurb lays out a potentially interesting story. I identify with a character who’s been stepped on by a heartless, corrupt, and/or incompetent bureaucracy. Or, if the character is in a bad situation due to her own mistakes/weaknesses, then that’s an opportunity for a redemption story.

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6 comments

  1. lol, what you came up with is REALLY good!!! I love it! 😉

  2. Great analysis! I feel like I need a tiny hint of why she is a laughingstock in the first sentence, but maybe that’s just me. I also think make-work = lowest priority, so I’d just say make-work. Nicely done. 🙂

    1. Yes, I think you’re absolutely correct on both points.

  3. I love what you do with the blurbs. May I send you mine, too?

  4. Sure, I can take a look at them, although this feature is designed for authors with less experience than yourself. 🙂

    Do you want me to take a look at the Pearseus blurb, or do you have something new coming out?

    I won’t do very much blogging during August, since I’m moving, but September should be better.

  5. Anonymous · · Reply

    I love your approach here. You obviously have the knack, but it also shows how important it is to stand back from your work and get fresh eyes, preferably someone else’s. This is great stuff.

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