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I'm writing a blurb. To do so, I'm using my favorite novels as examples. Here's one:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle.

A once a classic quest, Kafka on the Shore is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is a bewitching and wildly inventive novel from a master stylist.

I noticed some elements. They ...

... introduce the main character/s: Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy...

... introduce the secondary characters/events: Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII.

... summarize the style/main themes: ... a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love.

This is mine:

Li-Mei is a typical university student, with a typical family, a typical dating life---and a typical suicidal wish. Yes, she wants to end it all. But after learning about a bizarre event, she decides to postpone her death to dive in into the world of animal suicide. In it she meets peculiar animals: starving cats, stranding whales, cliff-jumping cows, bridge-leaping dogs. Peculiar humans: an alcoholic visual kei, the founder of a controversial university club, and a conservationist with a unnatural childhood obsession. And finally a peculiar kind of love.

Driven by romance and dark humor, Animal Suicide is an exploration into relationships, passion, death, suicide, and the final meaning of our lives.

I wrote it by based of these elements. Are they the essential for a good blurb? If not, why? Are there others elements that I'm missing?

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    Google for "logline". A blurb has the same ingredients. Protagonist, defining characteristic or inner conflict, goal, setting, antagonist, are the most important. The blurb is like a summary of the book unti and including the inciting incident. – user5645 May 22 '15 at 17:02
  • @what Did you get gripped by the blurb or it's because you see me too much on the site, ha? Sure. What's the best way? Should I post it on the chat? I'd appreciate some honest review/feedback. – Alexandro Chen May 22 '15 at 17:09
  • I can't help but notice that the example blurb is NOT the Wind Up Bird Chronicles, but actually Kafka on the Shore. As a side note, if you are a Murakami fan, you might enjoy this: partiallyexaminedlife.com/2015/04/30/… – Chris Sunami May 23 '15 at 1:28
  • @Chris Sunami you're right. Fixed. – Alexandro Chen May 23 '15 at 2:16
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I like what's list of ingredients. I would add two more to consider:

  • Struggle. What keeps the character from achieving the goal? This might be antagonist or some other obstacle. What must the character do to achieve the goal?
  • Stakes. If the character fails, so what? What are the consequences to the character, the community, the world?

The key to a blurb is to let the reader know what kind of story this is, and what kind of experience they will have if they read it. Often the last line of the blurb (as in both yours and Murakami's) describes this directly.

I don't think you have to summarize the themes, necessarily, but do let readers know what kind of experience they will have. That last line is a sales pitch, not a literary analysis.

As for secondary characters and events, I would say do not describe anything secondary. You don't have much space in a blurb. Focus on the essence of the story: The main character, the character's goal, the setting (if it's essential), and any other essential ingredients that keep this story going.

In both your blurb and Murakami's, the middle is a list of fascinating things the character (and the reader) will encounter. This promises a series of magical, wondrous scenes. That does not appeal to me, but will be very attractive to readers who want a series of magical, wondrous scenes.

The ingredients of struggle and stakes might not fit a book about magic and wonder.

One thing you absolutely do not want to do (and you've nicely avoided this common problem) is to summarize the plot. This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened.

I would drop "however" and "the subjects of." The latter makes the book sound like a philosophy text.

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