Category Archives: “Art” In Progress

Examples of my writings, and some commentary about what I’m trying to accomplish.

PRELUDE – A New Cover Story

Prelude laserbeam full cover with spineOne  interesting thing about the original image for the cover is that there were two small disc-shaped elements hovering together near the planet’s surface.  As they were angled and aligned identically, and as each had a notable center, it strongly suggested something had passed through those centers – thus creating the effect.

This odd effect seemed a shame to waste, especially since my story does include the use of several forms of energy beam.  Suzanne Johnson*, who is not only patient (with my questions), but also immensely talented, came to my rescue with this (above) reiteration.

Unless some inspired publisher throws money at me and insists  on using their own cover art, I consider this a keeper.  So how does this grab you? I’d love to hear feedback.

*To see other of Suzanne’s work, her website is: http://dsjohnsonbooks.com/gallery

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Prelude – The Cover Story

PRELUDE front cover
PRELUDE front cover

Anyone who has known me for  any length of time also knows that I can’t even draw a straight line. So my friends would all laugh if I told them I was designing a book cover for  my novel.  

Thus self-aware, I began exploring artistic software that would allow me to not embarrass myself.  One I saw recommended was CANVA, which I found relatively easy to use, but which probably takes much more time to master. It did, however, provide me  fast results.

PRELUDEbackaltThe artwork was free, from a large selection CANVA offered. I expect for a price an even greater  selection could be found at one’s fingertips.  Emboldened by this minor feat, I decided to post it to the SciFi and Fanstasy Group I follow on Facebook. As all aspiring authors do, I craved feedback.  What came next is why I love this wonderfully knit community of kindred spirits. Not only did I receive feedback, but one talented member of this community who does graphic art, Suzanne Johnson, was kind enough to offer a more professional rendering  of my original cover concept.  These first two images are from my original endeavors with CANVA.

Below are the re-imagined front and back pages done by Suzanne. The background images are sharper. The fonts are more stylized and jump out better. Plus she made my name bigger, which – aside from any ego thing – just looks better.


Prelude The Expanding Sea of Earth cover 1
 
I am several months away from publishing my novel in any form, as I would like to complete the patience-baiting query process first. However, it is very satisfying to have a cover concept already in hand – even if needs should change before that time. So I am very grateful for Suzanne’s generous effort. 

I can only hope readers will be as delighted with the pages in between the covers.
Prelude The Expanding Sea of Earth back cover 1
One other bright note to addressing the cover now is that I inadvertently wrote a simpler and – I think – more effective log line or summary of the story. This has always been tricky, for whenever you set one aside for a few weeks, you almost always think of another (better?) was of saying it. This latest blurb gives the basics of the plot, with only a hint of he hidden story, and without going into unneeded detail. That’s my hope, at least. We’ll see…

PS: Suzanne’s work can be viewed at: http://dsjohnsonbooks.com/gallery

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Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

  Well, it has been a while.Scan 13

And I’ve clearly been neglecting my blogging duties, so here is my New Year’s Eve promise for 2018 – 

I will do – at least – one new post per week.

And here are a few personal resolutions we can re-examine during the course of the year. I’m as anxious as you to see how they work out.

  • I will lose weight (it’s the law, you have to include this one).
  • I will see my first novel scheduled for publication, by December 31st, 2018.
  • I will wean myself off wasteful political commentary on Facebook. The effort is criminally stupid.
  • I will finish the first draft of my next novel (this will be tough).
  • I will complete one chapter each month of my text book (time to stop putting that off, although I may be over-reaching here).
  • I will go to my high school re-union in July (if only to see who I can still recognize).
  • I will not clobber any of the idiots I have to endure during the year (this is easy, I’m really more verbal).
  • And, finally, I will try not to burp with my mouth open (very tough, but this one’s for you, babe)! I do truly love my wife.
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Pantsing, Plotting, and Sussing

 

Pantsing, and Plotting, and Sussing …      Oh My!

I’ve read a number of literary discussions on the relative merits of “pantsing” versus “plotting” when it comes to developing one’s story line, and have always been left in a little quandary as to which I’ve done when writing my first novel, “The Expanding Seas”. I didn’t start out with a plot. I began only with a scenario that I found intriguing.

As I wrote, the typical form of most SciFi/adventure plots took shape. I placed my protagonists in the most impossible position. They would have to outwit their captors, overcome great odds, recognize and accept they had a greater responsibility, and ultimately take action to protect others. Obviously, this is a common trope in many genres.

But wait! Not so fast! Rather than plot out how I’d lead my characters and story toward resolution, I found myself approaching each new chapter in their journey from the standpoint of “why have these particular obstacles been placed in front of them”, “what would they need to do next”, and “how might this affect their goals”.

I had already set up a myriad of questions in my opening chapters. I felt I really needed to answer each to properly grasp the next logical action or event – before I could move on. Sussing these out, recognizing this natural progression, is what drove each successive chapter. Moreover, it’s what logically forced twisting the plot before the end.

Now, I won’t suggest that Sussing – as a concept – should be given an equal place next to Pantsing and Plotting. Perhaps it might be regarded a subset to plotting. But I do suspect it fits somewhere in between the two.

You start your story, establish the rules of your story world, then must follow those rules. If you are writing SciFi, or procedural (detective) novels, some of these rules may be strict, leading you down the same path to discovery as your characters. And the more confidant and professional you make your characters – both heroes and villains – the narrower that path will be. Their logic begins leading you down the path to a better understanding of the world you created, and maybe even of your own world.

My own sussing led me in an entirely new direction, and dramatically affected my novel’s theme.

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