Thoughts on Writing – A Blurb for Distant Horizon: Part Two

Last week I did a post about writing a blurb for Distant Horizon, the YA/NA Dystopian novel that my husband and I will soon publish.

After writing the previous post, then editing the blurb, I came up with three versions that Isaac and I took to the writer’s meeting we attend. The first version was a short blurb in present tense that focused on the world of the novel, but didn’t mention the protagonist. The second was the blurb-ified query letter. The third was a cross between the two.

At the writer’s meeting, we struck out the first one. The second and third versions tied for favorite in regards to which each person preferred.

I’ve made the suggested edits, and I’ve come up with two versions as possible options.

Which one would entice you to read the book?

Version 1

The Community is safe.

At least, that’s what we are supposed to believe.


Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson resides in an efficient, secure society that’s recovering from a hallucinogenic plague. So when agents of the Community’s Special Forces arrive at her university prior to a mandatory Health Scan, Jenna’s paranoia—and recent string of hallucinations—prompt her to find out what happens to the students who fail. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment, but when she uncovers a ruthless government conspiracy, her ideal world is shattered.

Terrified, Jenna flees her home under the protection of a ragtag band of freedom fighters. The rebels offer her refuge on their rusty airship and claim her hallucinations are elemental plant powers. She’s not so sure she trusts them, but when she comes face-to-face with a cruel telepath in charge of the government’s darkest secrets, Jenna realizes she’ll need more than special powers to escape with her mind and body intact.


Version 2

The Community is safe.

At least, that’s what we are supposed to believe.


Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives.

Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment, and once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

Version one is based on the final query letter we wrote before deciding to create our own company. The blurb reveals a lot more information, but (as some of the writers at the meeting pointed out) narrows the options that the protagonist might choose. With this blurb, we know that the government’s secrets involve super powers, a telepath, and that the protagonist goes with the rebels (at least to start with).

This blurb seems to ask the question, “How will Jenna escape the telepath?” “What other secrets does this government have?”

For the moment, I’ve chosen the same tagline for both versions and changed them completely to present tense. The goal is to draw readers into the story by giving them the sense that all this is happening immediately.

Version two sets up the world before the protagonist. We don’t know what she ultimately chooses to do, though we know that she’s uncovered some kind of secret, Special Forcess agents are enforcing that secret, and that the plague is a lie.

“Why is the government lying about the plague?” “What’s really going on?” “What’s going to happen to Jenna?”

We don’t know, but the blurb promises the reader that if they read the book, they’ll find out.

What do you think? Which blurb catches your attention, and why?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂


Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

6 responses to “Thoughts on Writing – A Blurb for Distant Horizon: Part Two

  1. #2, by a mile. It reveals more backstory and less twists. I would just move the “Others disappear” up to the previous line. It’s still as ominous, and less…I dunno…melodramatic?

    Also, “…treatment, and once cured, receive…” should be “…treatment and, once cured, receive…”

  2. I prefer two. It doesn’t give me too many details, just hooks me.

  3. I definitely prefer two. One I might pick up, but two sounded really gripping. The world sounds fantastic by-the-way, can’t wait to read it. Good luck 🙂

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