8 September 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x160, It’s Finished, more Cover
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 29: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
First, you write and write and write until you are competent and someone finally accepts one of your novels for publication.
Second, you keep writing.
Third, you market.
Fourth, you keep writing with the hope your marketing and your writing will finally come to fruition.
Fifth, you market.
Here is a list of the primary information I develop for a completed novel. I’ll put some explanation beside the sections. As we discuss them, I’ll fill them out for my newest novel.
Title of Work:
Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, friendship, Wycombe Abbey, school, boarding, education, training, boyfriends, Eton, diva, skills, shooting, fencing, fae, fairy, Britain, spy, goddess, Dagda, magic; will fascinate anyone interested in friendship, boarding schools, magic, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.
A final part and one of the most enjoyable parts for me in creating marketing materials is to make a proposed cover. No matter who you are and no matter who your publisher is, one of the first things they will ask you after the contract is signed is for a proposed cover. They usually will send you to various stock photo sites to identify a few photos that relate to your novel. I suggest you make a mock-up of what you think your cover should look like and use it for marketing purposes. You will have to figure this out some time—why not now?
If you look at this blog, you will see at least one example of my cover proposals. I have Deirdre up at the moment. I’ll describe what I put on the proposed cover.
Here are the basic requirements for a cover.
- Pick a color scheme. I chose green. If you notice, all the pictures have some degree of green in them. The center point of the cover is the green band.
- You need to place the title prominently. I likely need a more vibrant color for the title, but the split and the words on the green band give it a little mystery.
- You need to place “A Novel” somewhere. I’m not sure why publishers find this necessary, but it is a characteristic of most novels. This should be in a small text format.
- Place your nom de plume somewhere on the cover. L.D. Alford is my professional writing name. If you are a best seller, your name is in the largest font. If you are not a best seller, your name is smaller than the title.
Now, about the pictures and the artistic details:
- I already wrote that there is a color scheme—green. The colors of the fonts are matched for visibility. I likely need a darker or different font color for the title, but then again maybe not. It’s sufficient for a proposal. This is likely not the final cover—mainly because of the pictures. I’ll get into that.
- I chose a picture for Wycombe Abbey boarding school across the bottom. This is the setting for most of the novel—that fits, but I have no idea about the ownership of the picture. I make no attribution of ownership or claim to the photo. This is okay for a website, but not okay for a commercial book. For that, the publisher requires a clear title to any picture or art you use. Many photos and pieces of art are in the public domain, but the publisher needs a clear copyright to art and pictures before they go on your cover. This is why I mentioned that your publisher will want you to look through stock photos for matches to your work. I would do the same for this example, but I don’t want the stockphoto markings on it, and I don’t know which stock photo sites a publisher might want to use. A publisher has their preferred sites for cost and other agreements. They will likely require you to use these particular sites. If you are knowledgeable about such things, you might be able to provide your own art and pictures—you just have to be able to trace the ownership with official documentation.
- The top pictures are open source art of fairies. They are older pieces and shouldn’t have any copyright issues. Again, you have to prove the source and ownership before it can be printed on a cover. I selected these two pictures because they look rich and exotic. The characters in Deirdre are fun, but not normal girls. One has fae blood—thus the fae creature. The other is the daughter of a goddess—thus the rich and slightly supernatural seeming woman. I wanted to catch a bit of mystery and the supernatural. I put them at the top to contrast with the bottom picture. This way you have a somewhat supernatural theme over a school—exactly the feel I want in the cover.
Who knows what artistry your publisher will put into your cover? It may be as beautiful as the covers my publisher designs. Again, I provided an idea, and they let me have a say. In some cases, I didn’t get much choice, but I was very happy with the covers. In some cases, my publisher let me choose between covers. I felt like my publisher really was doing a great job to match the cover to the marketing strategy and the market. The point isn’t really to please the author, but rather the potential reader, market (same thing), and publisher (the one paying the bills). If you want to design your cover, you need to self-publish. The best you can do with a regular publisher is to provide a proposal.
Don’t ever forget, the proposed cover also allows you to market your novel to prospective publishers through the internet.
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