Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ugly Cover Copy

Because the World needs more pontification from a writerly nobody...

I confess, I like writing synopses. I'm kinda good at them. A synopsis is part of my revision process, it lays bare the gaping plot holes and ugly contrivances. When marketing my first novel, my synopses got a surprisingly high rate of requests to see the manuscript. (Now, if only the manuscript were half as good.)

So I'm rather picky about cover copy. One day, inspired by "ugly cover" snark over at Smart Bitches, I wandered over to a certain publisher of erotic ebooks. There I found the synopsis below. Keep in mind this is the book's official description, as copied from the publisher's site. (Character's names changed to protect...the not-so innocent.)

The King of Almondia suffers from an injury that won't heal. Legend says three magical objects might cure him, but all are difficult to obtain.

Nonetheless, the king's three children vow to find and retrieve them. The king's oldest daughter has returned with the silver platter, and now it's time for her brother, Prince Maynard, to leave on his own quest for the second object, the bronze lance.

The journey promises to hold stern tests of his courage, honor, loyalty, strength and endurance. The night before he leaves, a strange woman appears to him in the darkness. Although she's beautiful, it's a frightening, ferocious beauty that terrifies him. When she tells Maynard she is his destiny and he'll be coming to her, it makes the prospect of the quest all the more terrifying.

Her touch sears him like a brand, bringing both pain and ecstasy. Maynard sets out the next day on a journey that will take him up the side of a mountain, through a series of sexual adventures, into dangerous confrontations with creatures that aren't what they seem, beyond terror and courage to an unexpected destiny with his dark lady and, finally, into a climactic contest with a dragon.
***

Halfway through reading the above, I started twitching, overcome with the powerful desire to tear it to shreds. The following vicious critique was a necessary lest my wee brain explode:

The King of Almondia suffered from an injury that won't heal.

Local television news writing, with stoopid verb usuage. "Suffers from an injury." Can you "enjoy" an injury?

Legend says three...

Ah, the old "legend says..." bit. Kind of like, "It is written..." To borrow from The Mummy Returns, "Where is this written?"

The king's three children vow to find and retrieve them.
Three children? There are only two in the synopsis. Oh, I guess this suggests a sequel. What the hell is "them"? Oh, the stupid "objects."

The king's oldest daughter has returned with the silver platter, and now it's time for her brother, Prince Maynard, to leave on his own quest for the second object, the bronze lance.

So they have to get the objects one-at-a-time, like a relay? Are they just morons who don't realize getting "them" all at once will save time and Daddy's life?

The journey promises to hold stern tests of his courage, honor, loyalty, strength and endurance.

On my ass laughing over this one. "Stern." Anybody remember that episode of Friends where Joey had to write a recommendation letter for Ross and Monica? He wanted to sound intelligent, so he ran the word processor's thesaurus over every word. I think that happened here. According to Mr. Dictionary, this is a valid use of the word, but is a violation of the "Keep It Simple Stupid" Principle.

Oh, and "courage, honor, loyalty, strength and endurance." Really, all that? I think you forgot math skills and the ability to parallel park.

The night before he leaves, a strange woman appears to him in the darkness.

Um, "night" implies "darkness." I have no idea what "appears" means. Is he stoned?

Although she's beautiful, it's a frightening, ferocious beauty that terrifies him.

This sentence is a train wreck. I have no idea what "it's" refers back to. Subject is "she" and...oh, bloody hell, even gramatically correct, this sentence is nauseating. He's afraid of beauty? On a quest to save Daddy, apple pie and Democracy, and he's afraid of a hot chick? Puh-lease.

When she tells Maynard she is his destiny and he'll be coming to her, it makes the prospect of the quest all the more terrifying.

Big strong man is scared of getting laid. Well, this should be interesting. Maybe he's scared because the weed he's smoking is that primo-Jamaican stuff. Makes you kinda paranoid n' stuff.

Her touch sears him like a brand, bringing both pain and ecstasy.

I married into a ranching family. Ever see a cow get branded? The look on their face is all pain, no ecstacy. Is this touching happening when he's stoned or later? Lost in time...heeeelp. Maybe that burning sensation is the clap.

Maynard sets out the next day on a journey that will take him up the side of a mountain,

Unless he has super-duper tunneling ability, "up the side of..." is implied.

through a series of sexual adventures

Let's hope his "stern tests" will include an AIDS test.

into dangerous confrontations with creatures that aren't what they seem

Vague word salad, tossed liberally. Seriously, what the fuck does this mean? Is fluffy, vague prose supposed to make me want to download this masturbation-fest?

beyond terror and courage to an unexpected destiny with his dark lady and,

Word salad, just add tomatoes.

And why is the "destiny" unexpected? I mean she said earlier, "You and me, bub. We got ourselves a destiny." He's a tard and a chickenshit.

finally, into a climactic contest with a dragon

A dragon. Where the hell did the dragon come from? Even in a synopsis, you have to use a smidgen of storytelling logic. No pulling dragons out of your sphincter at the last minute.

And since this is erotica, "climatic" and "dragon" is giggle-worthy.

***
The point? This publisher claims to be making a small fortune with its stroke books. Hey, sex sells, and apparently in the presence of hot sex, good writing is irrelevant.

P.K.

 

Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005