"I am the author of my life."

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✎ Give Your Book A Face

I hate to admit it but I really do judge a book by its cover. I’ll still read any book, but it’s always the good looking ones that catch my eye first. And quite often, I get jealous because I wish my books could have covers like these… so I get into a bit of fantasising. ‘Say I get published, I hope they find an awesome artist for the cover illustration… but man, that’s ages away! I wish I could have something right now!’

Then I thought: what’s stopping me?

I reckon a little premature fantasising can be healthy for you. It’s hard to keep motivated throughout a writing project, especially for something as big as a novel. We need all the motivation we can get! Sometimes having a cover for the books we’ve spent so much time and love on is all we need to see on a bad day. It doesn’t have to be the one or even a good one. It’s just something tangible, that’s all. Something you can print out and stick over your desk, waiting for you to put some pages in it. If you’re into self-publishing, you’re probably on the lookout for a cover anyway, so why not get started early? Plus, it can be fun!

So how do we go about putting a face to our beloved books?

Well, picking up a pencil (or tablet pen) could be a start! Especially if you’re an artist or have a vivid idea of what you want to see. The best part about designing the cover yourself is that you get to call all the shots. You don’t even need to be a particularly good artist to do this. It’s just a spot of fun that may or may not be seen by anyone other than yourself. Throw yourself into it! Get abstract and make a montage of magazine clippings; make a newspaper wrap-around; dig up your childhood drawings. Tap into that other spectrum of creativity.

If you’re not into DIY, maybe you can commission an artist you admire to design the cover for you, or draw an illustration you could then format into a cover. I for one am keen on commissioning an artist to draw some portraits of my characters for reference. I’m a regular browser on deviantART, a site where artists share their works. There are heaps of people doing commission work out there. It’s up to you to find an artist whose style you like, and whose price fits in your bracket – because trust me, the range is huge! Are you looking for landscape or portraits? Symbols? Realism or photography? How much are you willing to pay? How will you describe what you want? All the research will pay off when you have a shiny new cover on your wall!

Another option I recently discovered is purchasing pre-made book covers. This means that someone has made covers of their own choosing and are selling the design for a set price. Once you buy a cover, they will edit the title, author’s name and any additional text at your request. It takes only a few days (most of the time) and voila! Instant book cover! The downside is that you’re looking through covers that are already made rather than ones you tailored yourself. You might not find one that’s perfect for your book – I know I haven’t. I’d encourage you not to be disheartened though. Don’t settle for the cover that looks okay and goes pretty well with the story, but is just missing that tiny detail you can’t put your finger on. Wait for the artist to put more covers out, or pay a bit more for them to design one just for you if they offer that option. Browse around and find a couple of cover-makers you like. Pay more attention if you are looking for a cover you can put on your book and sell to the public; good artists will use paid-for stock images that are licensed for creative use. You don’t want to pay for a cover that infringes on copyright! Also, check if the cover is made for e-books or physical printing – different resolutions give different results. I personally love Go On Write by humblenations. I flick through it whenever I’m restless and dream about one day finding the one staring back at me.

I’m still on the hunt but you guys will be the first to know if I ever find that perfect book cover. I know it’s out there somewhere!

Do you already have a cover for your book? Or would you rather wait until publication to see what you get? What kind of ideas do you have for the ideal book cover?

Happy writing,
Christine

Focusing Inspiration

Good old tips to find inspiration. The ten random objects method sounds pretty fun!

Professional Writer: Zack Palm

Originally I wanted to share about how to discover inspiration. Before doing so I misunderstood what exactly inspiration is. It’s everywhere. You could get it from a spoon hanging at a certain direction. From the way your fingers sound as they type away at the keyboard. Running water that you happen to hear when you’re driving nearby a river in your car. Inspiration is everywhere, that all depends on you. What’s the next step? Using it. Focusing that inspiration is something some writers have trouble with. They have an idea of what they want, but what next?

Here are a few things that you could do to help use it properly –

Find a sticky note:

Sticky notes are extremely useful if you have a break down of ideas. If you want to build off it later, you can create a tree like brainstorming session. Have the main idea in…

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✎ Writing prompts (Week 17)

1

“What’s your favourite kind of fish?”

2

I closed the door and faced the empty room.

3

Kings and queens.

4

Write about how your character would spend a family day with his/her parents.

5

It was my first day at work and I found…

6

From the series: Future(Perfect)

7 Great Online Research Resources for Writers

We may have a love/hate relationship with research, but no one says no to research resources! Who knows when you’ll need to research the shell patterns of the earth’s first living turtles?

Editing Addict, LLC

[found on dailywritingtips.com by Mark Nichol]

“Doing research to strengthen a current story or article, or to get ideas for a new one? You can google all you want and hope for a productive return, but to engage in a focused search, try one of these mediated experiences instead:

1. Infoplease

From current events to reference-desk resources to features about history, this site puts a remarkable array of information within reach. Guides to the nations of the world, timelines of political, social, and cultural developments, special quantitative and qualitative features like “The World’s Most Corrupt Nations” and “Color Psychology,” and more cover just about anything you could think of.

2. The Internet Public Library

Unlike the other reference centers on this list, the IPL is a portal to other Web sites, brimming with directories of links in topics like Arts & Humanities. (Dictionary of Symbolism? Check. Ask Philosophers? Right. Legendary Lighthouses?…

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10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People

You know, I always thought I would be hard to psychoanalyse. Like I’m a perfectly normal person, just with something a little… off. Too unruffled, too lazy, too unconventional, too boring, too curious, too sentimental. Like I’m everything at once and nothing particular at the same time.

But somehow, I’m always nodding my head to the articles, pictures and whatnots that float around the writing community. The ones like #youknowyouareawriterwhen, and stuff like 10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People. A quick glance had me blinking. And blinking. And blinking.

Well, damn! Does my own mother know all of this?

Are you one of those creative people? Take a read of the article and see if what’s on the screen matches up with what’s up there.

Happy creating!

10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People

✎ Helping Writers Become Authors – A truly helpful blog

I’m so fortunate to regularly stumble on writers who share advice and encouragement – probably because there are so many generous people in our writing community! My latest find is K.M. Weiland’s site, Helping Writers Become Authors. I subscribed just last week and have already spent several mornings hopping from one awesome post to another. It doesn’t hurt that the site is lovely to look at!

K.M. Weiland is the author of Structuring Your Novel, a book I’d love to get my hands on one day. Her blog has posts about characterisation, story structure, dialogue and more. In fact, you get a free e-book, Creating Unforgettable Characters, just by signing up for her newsletter. The Asian in me loves free stuff, even better if it’s good free stuff!

Two of my favourite posts from her are 10 Writing Resolutions You Can Fulfill and 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Beginning. And here’s a guest post that really picks me up: 7 Ways to Build Your Writing Confidence. Check out Weiland’s site and it’s likely you’ll be bookmarking your own favourite posts in a matter of minutes.

Helping Writers Become Authors

A Writer’s Wisdom: Neil Gaiman

A legend indeed :)

Persephone Writes

Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia is a moving testament to the beauty of following your creative vocation, no matter where it takes you. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and be prepared to be inspired.

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✎ Writing prompts (Week 16)

1

The silence.

2

She caught the ball and raised an eyebrow at him. “Turn it over,” he grinned.

3

I should’ve apologised.

4

Write about the way your characters swear.

5

Interesting Spiril

Opus on 1st – Ballad

I miss you, August. You disappeared without warning and left me wide-eyed on the first day of Spring. It ain’t right.

It looks like another month has gone by already… which means it’s time for another Opus, in the footsteps of Jackie’s monthly meme at Lights All Around! Check it out and please join in if you’re interested!

Here’s my little piece for this month’s prompt: ballad. I like dialogue flash fiction because it saves you enough time to get to the gym on time. Time to jet!

Ballad

“It ain’t right.”

“Yeah, it’s not. Roses don’t sigh. Maybe they melt?”

“I’m not talking about your corny lyrics.”

“Which makes you one in a million.”

“Damn it. Quit talking like that, will ya?”

“Like what?”

“Like everything you say is part of a song. I don’t want no part in your next miserable number.”

“They’re called ballads, goofball. Too late, anyway. Should’ve paid more attention to Knotted In. You’re in it.”

“… You’re kidding me.”

The world ain’t ready, ain’t pretty-

“I knew my gut hated that verse for a reason.”

“Well, I wrote it for a reason. You were right.”

“About my gut?”

“About the world. It’s not pretty and my ‘miserable numbers’ aren’t making it any prettier. She can’t hear them.”

“So they really were for her, huh?”

“Everything is for her. Everything.”

“Even this?”

“What?”

“Seven billion people listening to something you wrote for one girl. It ain’t right.”

“Not quite seven billion. But enough.”

“Yeah?”

“Enough to tell her what they heard when they meet her in heaven.”

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