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Yesterday I gave myself a challenge: write the back cover copy for the story I’ve been trying to flesh out over the last week.

This is one way I test my story ideas. If I can’t come up with an intriguing back cover blurb, then I reckon spending months writing the 40K-60K story isn’t worth my time. Of course, being stubborn, rather than give up on the original story idea, I revamp it, rework it, punch it into shape until I think I have something viable.

And even then, I’m still not sure. I will never be sure. Part of me will always feel like a hack who can’t tell a story to save my life. Nevertheless, I keep at it.

Yesterday I kept at the back cover blurb until 10:30 in the evening, rewriting sentences in my head, turning the light back on to grab my notebook and pen, realizing the sentence wasn’t as great as I thought it was. Turning off the light. Churning through more words. Turning the light back on, yada, yada. Finally praying, “Lord, please make it stop!” And then giving up and calling it good enough (for now).

WIP Stats

Working Title: The City
Goal: 40K+ words (novella)
Genre: Speculative
Back Cover Copy:

With Selection only one week away, sixteen-year-old Caley Halsworth faces a life of slavery in the border army or years of mandatory fertilization. Determined to enjoy her final days of “freedom” she entertains her schoolmate Wakeman’s romantic advances despite his questionable government ties. Soon she learns they share the same secret and the same desire to break out of the City’s walls. With nothing left to lose, she follows him beyond the City, only to discover the freedom she’s always dreamed of feels more like a nightmare that’s impossible to escape.

I did mention I haven’t written the story yet, right? In other words, the above is subject to much change, including the grammar, some of which I’m uncertain of at the moment. (Sometimes a writer has to set the words down and walk away.)

I’m going to try some different techniques while writing the story. I don’t feel like writing in a linear fashion, so I’m not going to. I also don’t feel like worrying about the quality of the prose until I get the bones of the story down. My goal is to write the story without fretting about how good it reads, just get the words down even if they sound ugly. I may also try dictating some of it, for efficiency purposes. I’m not sure how that will go because I’m not exactly eloquent when I speak, but if I can pull it off, it will save me much time.


I’d like to have the first draft done yesterday, and the final product ready for purchase sometime last month.


The above story idea was birthed in 2008, so I can safely say, No, I am not trying to jump on the YA dystopia craze, even though it may appear as such.