I’d Rather Write a Novel than a Summary of that Novel

I’m at it again. One of my most frustrating times of the year. Writing the dreaded “blurb” that will become the back of my novel or the description on Amazon or just the pitch that I’ll use with reviewers.

I’m nearly at the point of sending the draft of my fourth novel out to some early readers for feedback, so I thought I should “sharpen the pencil” and try to hammer out a simple pitch, so they know what to expect.


Nothing simple about it. I just spent the last half hour writing five paragraphs of description about my novel and all of it is garbage.

Summary writing is creative writing. Perhaps one has to be even more creative to write a good summary than to write a good novel. How can you boil 60000 words down to a hundred. An “elevator pitch” some might like to say. All right, but let’s make this an elevator in the Empire State Building, so it can be a little longer, OK?

Back to the blurb. How much of the story to reveal? And which parts to give away? These are crucial issues, and it’s especially tough with this novel because, honestly, the basic premise of it is quite boring. It really is. BUT, it’s not a boring novel at all! I think it is a gripping and intense novel, but the premise is boring. If I really told everyone what the book is actually about, nobody would want to read it. It would be like me saying, “It’s a thriller about grass growing” or “cement drying”.


But, I am now tasked to make this boring premise an exciting blurb. What’s the premise you ask? Okay, I can tell you that. Everyday a man walks into the presidential square and stands for 12 hours waiting for the revolution.

That’s it. Real snoozer, huh?

Actually, not. I’m in love with this story because I think it’s so simple and yet so beautiful. The main character is charming and lovely, simple, yet complex.

So I’m thinking I need to move beyond the simple premise and add in some exciting elements. There are exciting elements. But which ones?


I went back to that page where the five different summaries had been written, and I finally had a breakthrough. I found a combination which I like for now. What did it? Perseverance.

Sometimes success is just about keeping at it, wrestling with it, twisting and turning it every which way until the right little nuggets fall out.

Thanks for listening. I needed to complain about if for a while. It helped a lot.


I just had my wife read my new blurb out loud. I was wrong, it was bad. Another blank page, please!


3 thoughts on “I’d Rather Write a Novel than a Summary of that Novel

  1. I feel your pain. Boiling 120,000 words (my first novel’s length) down to even a query letter was excruciating. It sounds like your premise isn’t the point, so writing about it would be futile. From what you’ve said in the post it sounds like your book is about hope, belief, growth? Maybe if you write about those things it would work?

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