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Hi all you super critiquers. After my pathetic first effort, rightly hammered by the good folks here, I submit my second attempt for a further bashing. God this is difficult. It seems harder than writing the book. If you think it is okay, I'd like a little more advice. '...he compares with those the gods of old empowered eons ago.' Should I name Achilles, Hector, Heracles? Perhaps this is a suck-up, but it's relevant to the story. I have used italics to indicate a section I'm not sure about. Comments?

Ancient Gods still roam amongst us, they never left...

When visiting Culloden Battlefield archeological site in Scotland, former U.S. Marine Angus MacDonald uncovers more than he bargained for when he finds a mysterious silver box. Instantly, power within the artifact thrusts him into a world for which it has not prepared him; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their reach touches every point in humanity’s existence.

Granted increased strength and enhanced senses, he compares with those the gods of old empowered eons ago. Will this be enough to defeat the malevolence of the God of the Underworld? The Marines never taught him to fight deities, but he has no choice because humanity is threatened with slavery. Along the way, he gathers help from his family and friends, forming a team of resistance. But a convert division of the Pentagon interferes, and he must display his unique powers and assume control of the battles.

The team works and fights together while trying to discover the reason behind Angus’s newfound abilities, and what tactics they can use to kill Hades.

This page-turning thriller setting man against gods in a clash older than time; the fate of the world rests on a young hero, and the cost is extreme.

Comments
  • Hi Robert.

    For me, this is SO much better. A real improvement and something I'd certainly want to read.

    I don't think you need the last words of the intro line.

    First paragraph is almost perfect. I think there's a slight repetition - the 'more than he bargained for' and the 'it has not prepared him'. I'd also look at the moment when you switch from Angus finding the silver box to the effect it has; there's a slight jarring moment there that's something to do eith the 'Instantly...' which makes it seem as if a stage has been missed somehow. I think. I wonder if it needs more 'cause and effect' and an action on Angus's part to take us into the next sentence.

    First half of the second paragraph is great as is, I think. It nicely lays out the result of Angus's action and the change that's made to him as well as the dilemma that results.

    I think your doubts about the second half are fustified. This, and the third paragraph lack the focus that the first one has. Mentioning Hades by name at the end seems a little out of context here; I know he's your primary antagonist, but I wonder if you're better sticking to the generic 'gods' in the blurb?

    The last tagline is almost there.

    I'm going to be really cheeky and offer a quick (and still far from perfect) edit. I hope you don't mind, and feel free to ignore completely!

    Ancient Gods still roam amongst us...

    When visiting the archeological site of Culloden Battlefield in Scotland, former U.S. Marine Angus MacDonald finds a mysterious silver box. Opening it thrusts him into a world for which he is not prepared; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their influence touches every part of humanity’s existence.

    Granted increased strength and enhanced senses by the power of the artefact, Angus now finds himself almost the equal of those the gods of old. Will his new-found abilities be enough to defeat the malevolence of the God of the Underworld? The Marines never taught him to fight deities, but he is all that stands between humanity and slavery. 

    Against him stand not just the gods but earthly powers, including a covert division of the Pentagon with their own sinister agenda. To lead the resistance he will need the help of friends and family. Most of all he will need to understand his own newly-acquired powers, and why he was chosen.

    This page-turning thriller sets man against gods in a clash older than time. When the fate of the world rests on one young hero, who will pay the ultimate cost?

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    • 'still far from perfect?????' Come on, Jon. Thank you so much for your efforts, they are very much appreciated, truly. I would think you are capable of perfecting this blurb, don't you think so? I would even suspect that if you took more time and thought about it, you could make it supreme. Maybe, everyone on this site thinks you can do it. What's that? Did I just hear shouts of, 'here here!' (huge smiley face). All jokes aside, I thank you very much, Jon. Rob.

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    • HI Robert


      I had a go at changing it - sorry if it's rubbish


      Ancient Gods still roam among us, they always have

      Whilst walking along the Culloden Battlefield trail, Angus MacDonald stumbles across a mysterious silver box, half buried in the earth.

      Angus, a former US Marine, had no idea that opening the box would infuse him with powers beyond his comprehension and thrust him into an adventure where no amount of military training could have prepared the way. A world where gods themselves walk in shadows and their reach touches every point in humanity’s existence.

      Will his newly found strength and enhanced senses be enough to defeat the malevolence of the God of the Underworld? Regardless of his doubts, Angus finds he has no choice but to face the malevolent forces threatening humanity with enslavement and destruction.

      Along the way, he recruits friends and family to help him, but discovers a covert division of the Pentagon is out to thwart him for reasons unknown. This forces him to unleash his special powers and assume control of the battles.

      The team works and fights together while trying to discover the reason behind Angus’s newfound abilities, and what tactics they can use to kill Hades.

      This page-turning thriller sets man against gods in a clash older than time; the fate of the world rests on a young hero’s shoulders, and the cost he’s asked to pay, may be just too high to bear.

       

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      • Another great effort. Thanks so much, Danny. Never be sorry to me about writing a 'rubbish' blurb. I am the master of that. It's almost there I think. Thanks to you great folk. Rob

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      • Hi Robert,

        Ancient Gods still roam among us, they always have 

        Angus MacDonald stumbles across a mysterious silver box, half buried in the earth. Opening it thrusts him into a world for which he is not prepared; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their influence touches every part of humanity’s existence. The Marines hasn't prepared him for this battle, but he is all that stands between humanity and slavery. 

        To lead the resistance he will need the help of friends and family. Most of all he will need to understand his own newly-acquired powers, and why he is the chosen one. 

        This page-turning thriller sets man against gods in a clash older than time. When the fate of the world rests on one young hero, who will pay the ultimate cost?

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        • TJ, a wonderful effort, TKU. The job gets easier with these wonderful suggestions. Well, maybe it does as they are all great. I might need another beer while I consider it. Sitting here, in a cafe next to the beautiful beach in Vung Tau Vietnam, I find myself beset with momentous decisions about bloody blurbs. Life really is a beach. Thanks TJ, great work.

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          • Have a beer for me too, bit early here yet! But sounds amazing.

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            • For you, TJ, I will have three. It's the least I can do for a helper of mine. (Smile)

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            • I'm going to suggest coming at this from a completely different angle.

              Is going on an archeological dig important to the story? Is finding the amulet? While the amulet is the manifestation of the catalyst, I suggest the answer is no. So, they don't need to be mentioned.

              From what is presented here, I propose that the real meat of the story is the struggle between competence and a lack of the actual skills needed for the task at hand. Also, your last self-congratulatory review-like line at the end undermines everything. There is no need to tell us it's a thriller; a few well-chosen words can show us. And it's for real reviewers to state that it's a page-turner; as author, you do not have the right to make that assertion.

              As such, I would be more inclined to go with something along the lines of:

              Ancient Gods still roam the world…

              [number] tours of duty with the Marines [maybe mention unit] taught Angus MacDonald many things - [list two relevant competencies] - but it didn't teach him how to battle the dark forces that ruled the world of the ancients. Now, chosen by a mysterious power to defend humanity from enslavement, he must learn to lead the fight in a new way - one that will test the bonds of family and loyalty, that will circumvent the chain of command he was trained to respect above all else.

              With the fate of the world on his shoulders, Angus must race against time to be ready for the final battle in a war older than history itself.

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              • Waaa! A different tack. It's good, Rick. This has changed from a two to a four beer job. They are all sharp and to the point, something I find very difficult to write in a blurb. I take your point about 'thriller' and 'page turner.' I put them there to attract the searches, but don't know really if that's an issue. New ground for me. Jon's suggestion for the headline seems good to all, so I'll stick with that. Now to consider the rest. TKY, Rick. 

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                • Interestingly, as I thought about what I had written there, it hit me that many people, when trying to describe a book - and this is also how many write - summarise the initial exposition/inciting incident, and then the climax/resolution, leaving the middle as an unspoken "other stuff happens," but when summarising as I tried it suggest above, it leaves out everything that is normal and focuses on the bit in the middle.

                  This approach, to encapsulate the heart of the tale in that way, may be an excellent tool avoid saggy middles. And, it seems to me, it makes for pretty decent blurbs, too.

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                • Folks, I built a compilation from the samples provided. I hope you have time to give it another look over. It's only 150 words, but punchy I think.

                  Ancient Gods still roam the world…

                  The U.S. Marine Corps taught Lieutenant Angus MacDonald many things, especially how to lead, but it didn't teach him how to battle the dark forces that ruled the world of the ancients. Now, chosen by a supernatural power to defend humanity from enslavement, he must lead the fight in a new way - one that will test his courage, and circumvent the chain of command he was trained to respect.

                  When visiting the archeological site of Culloden Battlefield in Scotland, he finds an artifact. Opening it thrusts him into a world for which he is unprepared; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their influence impinges on humanity’s existence.

                  When the fate of the world rests on one young hero, in the final battle of a war older than history itself, will he defeat the malevolent God of the Underworld? Who will pay the ultimate price?

                  COMMENTS: The first para shows a strong soldier, the problems the antagonist presents, and the threat to humankind.----I feels strong to me.

                  The middle para is brief, sells the famous Scottish battlefield, and I love the catchy turn of words in the second sentence. But the first sentence, 'When visiting....' concerns me. Comments?

                  The final para sets out the major issue, presents a call to action with the power questions, and emphasizes battles and war.


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                  • Hi Robert looks like those beers are working, you are getting there! If it were me I'd remove, "especially how to lead", there is no need of it and it doesn't read well. We don't need to know he is on archaeological dig in Scotland either. Some sentences are still running a little to long. But huge improvement and others might well disagree with me.

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                    • I'll suggest that the entire second paragraph needs to be reworked.

                      "When visiting…" tells us only that there is an artifact involved. We have half of that already from "chosen by a supernatural power."

                      "Opening it thrust him ints a world…" yeah, yeah. That's pure repetition of the first paragraph.

                      So, what do we need? Punch. Scope. Perhaps snap us through some of the locations? Imply the whirlwind tour? Give us some of the cast (with an "assembling a team" line)? (Honestly, any of those - or even a void - would be stronger than the existing second paragraph. maybe tie the elements together with some reference to "learning his powers."

                      As to third paragraph, I don't believe the "will he defeat…" clause does anything except make this sound like yet another book like so many others. By calling attention to such a tropish antagonist, you're weakening the pitch. And "malevolent"? We've already got the dark forces on antiquity. Malevolence goes without saying. As to "who will pay…?" maybe it would be better to ask "what price will he have to pay?" Everyone knows the ultimate price is one's own life, but when the nature of the price is questioned, it can be far greater than that. Far more personal. More intimate. More painful.

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                    • It's fascinating seeing how this has evolved through the course of these comments! I agree with you that the weak link now is that "When visiting..." sentence. If you're happy to trim still further, you could go with something like, "When he stumbles across a silver artefact on an ancient Scottish battlefield, it thrusts him into a world for which he is unprepared...". I'm not sure that's quite right, but I think it's better than the original. I'm not quite happy with "artefact" - it risks being a bit ponderous - you could be vaguer, I suppose, and go for "An unexpected discovery on an ancient Scottish battlefield thrusts him..." Oh, and incidentally I've just learned that the UK and the US spell artefact/artifact differently!

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                      • ...and me! I didn't even know there was an option until this discussion. And on Rick's "falling back on habit until it becomes common usage" - I fully expect "utmost" to transform seamlessly into "upmost" before too long, since this is what 90% of my students write every time they use the word (and do they take any notice of my corrections? Do they heck.)

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                        • I can see the day coming when every word in every language will have been reduced to the same indistinguishable grunt. And then where will we be?

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                          • Ug.

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                          • Thank you my friends. From a shambles to prose that pleases me greatly. At least now, after a few tweaks to the middle para and the ending, I am very happy. Again, thanks so much, what a wonderful group of helpers this site provides.

                            Ancient Gods still roam the world…

                            The U.S. Marine Corps taught Lieutenant Angus MacDonald many things, but not how to battle the dark forces that ruled the world of the ancients. Now, chosen by a mysterious power to defend humanity from enslavement, he must lead the fight in a new way - one that will test his courage, and circumvent the chain of command he was trained to respect.

                            Culloden Battlefield, the nadir of Scotland’s spirit, surrenders to Angus a power lost for centuries. It thrusts him into a world for which he is unprepared; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their influence impinges on humanity’s existence.

                            When the fate of the world rests on one young hero, in the final battle of a war older than history itself, will he defeat the malevolent God of the Underworld? Will his life be the ultimate cost, or worse; his soul?

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                            • Thank you for sharing the journey with us all! At the risk of wearing your patience thin, could I suggest a final edit: changing the semi colons in the second and third paragraphs to colons? Colons point forward, indicating that there's more to come/that you're about to develop what's gone before, and that I think is the effect you want in both places. 

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                            • This one is definitely the best, snappy, engaging, holds interest, not over burdened with excess detail, job completed.👍

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                              • It must be the beer, TJ. Surely I couldn't write a blurb all that good by myself (wide grinning face). I knew my first one SMELT.

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