I went back to all your suggestions, then revised. So, what do you all think of this:
Esau Karuma never expected to marry — he’s really not the type.
But when he hears about a girl who’s got to get married immediately or else she’ll be crushed under a whole mountain of trouble, Esau doesn’t hesitate to volunteer. He’ll whisk her out of the way of disaster, marry her real quick, get her settled someplace she’ll be comfortable, and that will be that. No reason in the world either of them should be too much of a nuisance to the other.
Given his whole life so far, he should have known that plan might be a little too optimistic …
Also, opinion poll: There are nineteen chapters. All the odd-numbered chapters are “present day” and involve Keraunani. All the even-numbered chapters take place eight years before and involve a variety of other characters and situations that serve to show some of the experiences that made Esau the kind of man he is. I used a slightly different font for the two different narratives.
Normally I don’t do anything at all for chapter names. I just put in a list of numbers, clickable for the ebook and with page numbers for the paper edition, and that’s it. What do you think of putting “current day” and “previously” into the table of contents? Just repeating whichever is appropriate next to each chapter number? Would that be helpful, unnecessary, distracting, something else?
This is a real novel, though not exceptionally long. It’s 365 pp (paper edition) or about 6000 units (ebook, and I have no clue what those units actually represent).
I’ve also included about 15 pages of the beginning of Tasmakat, but, warning! Since that draft is far (far!) from completed, I really do not know whether those pages will in fact comprise the beginning of the final book. On the one hand, I don’t dramatically change the beginning too often, plus I am using the journey back from the winter country for important foreshadowing that would be difficult to include elsewhere, so it would be hard to cut. On the other hand, this is not a guarantee that I won’t change my mind. So, while I hope you enjoy the teaser, it might not be the actual beginning of the real book.
4 thoughts on “Final (?) Back Cover Copy for Keraunani”
Probably better to put the chronological cues along with the chapter numbers. Just in case of confusion for readers.
The last sentence feels a little wordy to me, but I’m having trouble fixing it without losing something. Maybe: “Being Esau, he should have known better.”
On the first read-through, I had no trouble discerning whether I was in the present-day story or the past; but that might be in part because I’d known to expect something like that from this blog, and because I am familiar with Esau, Lalani and the present-day story that went before.
I am a bit doubtful about interrupting the story with title captions in the way you mention, but can see that it might be useful to give a new readers some stronger hints.
Would it work to leave the titles just numbers, but in the table of contents you put the word Past or Present after each number?
As one needs to flick past the ToC to get to the first page, this would give a very quick visual impression of the structure of the book.
Other options, trying to keep the intrusion unobtrusive but nevertheless clear:
– keep the time-placing as short as possible, use the words past and present instead of longer phrases;
– don’t mark the present-day chapters, but mark the flashback chapters with “15 years ago”;
– put the date, or rather the year, at the head of the chapter. Since I have no sense of time I tend to skip those so it’s not my preferred method, but it is quite a common way to mark such things, and will be familiar to new readers, if the time-reconing seems similar to ours.
But it’s not worth inventing a new calendar for, and if it leads to cluncky phrases like “In the summer of the sixth year of the reign of king Amhenotep the impatient” I’d definitely not go for that! And considering the complexity of the world, I really don’t expect their calendar to be a simple derivative of ours.
I like the new back-cover copy, but would beinclined to add one more sentence at the end, to set up Lalani’s part of the story from the past. After all, that is nearly half the book, and not mentioned at all un the blurb at present.
Given his whole life so far, he should have known that plan might be a little too optimistic – he should have remembered what happened the last time he tried to rescue a potential wife…
Given his whole life so far, he should have known that plan might be a little too optimistic – he should have thought harder about what happened the last time he gave in to such an impulse!
Hanneke, I’m leaning toward just doing a “Present” or “Past” tag in the table of contents, with an “eight years earlier” tag only at the beginning of chapter two.
I like your example of “In the summer of the sixth year of the reign of king Amhenotep the impatient” — that made me laugh. You’re right, whatever calendar people use, I’ve never mentioned it and it couldn’t just be similar to ours. So, no, no calendar tags.