Not the cover – it’s about the back

Kate on the riverIt’s fascinating to now be accomplishing preliminary tasks to publish a novel, like filling out a W-9 tax form. Then there’s the dedication, acknowledgements, back cover blurb, and the form to fill out for an artist to design the cover.

The cover is THE primary part of marketing a novel. It’s got to do a lot at first glance. This picture of our daughter, on the bow of our boat, was the one I chose years ago to use when mocking up a cover image of my story.

Yes, the most common reaction from those who hear I signed a contract to publish a novel is – it’s about time.

Creating a cover while still writing the novel is a visualization exercise, or law of attraction principle, to making dreams tangible. Having that fun cover image, with title and author name, was a good thing because this novel spent a lot of years as a forgotten file, or a pile of pages in a binder tucked into a cabinet.

But that cover image would pop up, like a bad penny, and I’d be reminded of the characters, the story, and I’d pause to give the pages some attention. This was always with an – I wonder how I can apply what I’ve learned, about writing, to this story? The characters wouldn’t die yet the story lacked conflict and drama, which was abundant in my life.

Tree of life tattoo

The above picture was taken in July of 2005, the boat was for sale so it was our last time on the river. It was between my mom’s funeral in May and my dad’s funeral in August. Ed was still in chronic pain, and taking toxic drugs, then.

Now, looking at that cover image I created with that picture all I can say is, “What was I thinking?” The story takes place in March, in Oregon, and the cold and windy Columbia River is a primary setting. There are no bathing suits on display in March, on the Columbia.

However, this is the perfect example of how things change in just a few years, because that daughter has an entirely different back. This daughter is now married, pregnant, and buying her first home. She “gets” that the tree of life is all about the seasons.

the business of story

I watched the premier of Once Upon A Time tonight and enjoyed it. I plan to study all the techniques of storytelling woven into this new show. It’s got fantasy, time  travel, the potential for some kick-assitude and more. It’s heartening there’s something new and creative on TV.

I’ve read all kinds of books and watched a variety of movies these past few months with the flavor of preparing for final exams. The intimate conference I attended in April was packed full of advice and processes for a career as an author. Agents and editors agreed an author today should embrace all venues of publishing available (print, electronic & self) and create marketing processes through social networking.

In my network of writers we all consider November as the month to begin a new project because of the NaNoWriMo focus. Last year Larry Brooks was vocal about how this is a waste of time for writers as it only produces text, not story. This year he’s taken a different route and has blogged daily at through October to present ways to prepare for National Writing Month so all that words-on-the-page effort will be beneficial. It’s because of his posts that I’ve been creating a story template for my use in the upcoming weeks.

On the 23rd the new moon will be in Scorpio. It will also be my lunar return in my 4th house, so I could be in a bit of a daze that day. I’m ready for new routines and projects and have been considering a variety of options while saturating myself with books and movies. Since my sis is an astrologer I was forewarned of this stellar aspect and have been conscientious to choose carefully where I focus my energy on the story of my life.

On the 28th,  Jupiter (expansion) and Pluto(permanent transformation) get together in a beneficial way and suddenly, you get it.  Sydney Omarr’s Astro Insights

This is an awesome prediction for the 28th as that day begins the Emerald City Writer’s Conference. A lot of my writer friends and favorite authors will be there and it will have the flavor of an annual reunion. As Rachelle Gardner posted today, there’s a steep learning curve between aspiring novelist and published author but the conferences are one the perks.

My mermaid tail for the masquerade on Saturday is almost done…

setting the stage

I’m creating a novel template for myself. I’m combing through my craft binders and books to get an organized structure for my future stories since I’ve always gone forth on a new project with barely a clue. It was tons of fun finding the story along the way. The only rule was to begin –

in medias res,( Latin: “in the midst of things”) in narrative technique, the recommended practice of beginning an epic or other fictional form by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks. The principle is based on the practice of Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad,for example, begins dramatically with the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon during theTrojan War.

The Trojan War ended a few years ago but its lesson of a gift horse being a prelude to disaster is still current. A romance reader knows from the first pages that the hero and heroine are going to get their happily ever after, after a few disasters. What separates a good story from a mediocre one is how those disasters are staged.

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind the story is staged as beginning when it really has ended and the movie is halfway over before the audience has a clue that this whole story is “in medius res”. The movie also didn’t get funny or fascinating until it was half over when the real story was suddenly revealed as a twisting mire through time and memories.

What I learned from this movie (and all the library books and movies I’ve been randomly selecting) is – there’s really no reason for me to write anything. Every theme and story is already written. I certainly have opinions on them all but that whole angst and months of aggravation to write a new story? Not needed.

So I can approach my whole process of writing romantic fiction as a joy, a passion, and not as a paycheck or because I’m so desperately tortured by the brilliance of my muse. Instead, I can sit for hours writing stories because I love it and have the skills to do so well enough to entertain readers. I’m pretty sure the text only book will be around for a few more decades even if it is on an electronic reader. The whole ebook thing is a a Trojan Horse to some…

So while I can’t promote  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as delightful entertainment, if you’re a writer and want to get a clue about the concept of “in medius res” this is a movie to watch, and learn.