M.H.'s new book, Legitimacy, has been a bajillion or so years in the making, but before we left for Maui, we finished the final edits on it. A big but qualified hooray! We had one more thing to tackle when we got back: the dreaded summary blurb for the back of the book and the Amazon description.
Have you ever tried to write something like that? It is so hard to take all those complex concepts and boil them down to 200 words that are accurate but still sound good and don't give too much away and make people want to buy the thing.
I feel like I should theoretically be pretty good at it, having spent lots of years writing headlines and blurbs and snappy ledes for newspapers. It turns out I am not good at it at all, and it's not M.H.'s kind of writing, either. When we work together, we can eventually make it happen, but it's a slow, frustrating, marriage-denting process that makes us alternately miserable and angry. Why can't we write a single thing that sounds interesting? This is a bunch of decent sentences that have nothing to do with one another. We can't say "solar system" three times in the same paragraph. You read the novel six times—you don't know what it's about? I have so much other work to do besides just this! No, YOU should go make dinner. That's where we've been for a week now.
Anyway, I am pleased to announce that M.H. had a brainstorm yesterday and managed to weave all the concepts and phrases we had been playing around with into a book description that actually works. Oh, the sweet freedom of not having to stare at the file called BLURHB every day!