I have come to the conclusion that I would make a lousy murderer. I can’t make quick murder-like decisions. I would suppose that might hamper the actual event and put me in a very awkward position before I even pulled the trigger or grabbed for the knife or whatever. So what brought on this dilemma? Stand by…here goes:
I started a new novel and after some initial research, I actually got a draft of the first chapter done in record time. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten in little over a week, although I have spent a lot of think-time on it. A funny thing happened on the way to chapter two—I got sidetracked by this idea I got for the book’s cover. Yeah, I know, it’s a little early to be worrying about the cover of a book that is only one chapter long. But the idea for the cover came to me and embedded itself into this one corner of my brain that began to swell relentlessly and refused to shrink back down until I went to Photoshop and started playing around with the concept. So, of course, that is exactly what I did.
I am not about to reveal any spoilers about the storyline at this point, except to say there may be a murder. I have always thought “may” be a murder. But the “new” cover idea pretty much dictates that there is no “may” about it—there “will” definitely be a murder. There is even dripping blood on the cover. What says murder more than dripping blood? So here I am spending more time on the cover than I am on the book’s content and already I’ve changed the so-called murder plot from a “may” to a “will.” This is ridiculous. What gives my feeble brain the right to come up with a book’s cover idea and then force me to run with it? Well, if you must know, the cover really looks cool. I know, the pros tell you not to do your own cover, but I really didn’t do this one…it sort of did itself. So now what do I do?
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve been spending thinking about all this. After getting over the may/will issue I had to tackle the blood thingy. Originally, my thinking was if there was to be a murder in the book, it would be a bloodless one. But now that there is blood on the cover and it is so cool, it has to be a bloody murder; exactly the kind of murder I could not be involved in, let alone write about with any kind of conviction. How am I going to pull this off? I am not the murdering type. I’m more the gentle, kinder type and any murder that I’d be involved in would have to be that—gentle and kind. I mean, look at me–I make chocolate chip cookies. I don’t bludgeon people.
Well, it shows to go-yuh that if you spend enough time thinking about a problem you will eventually go nuts or come up with a solution. I went back to the original bloodless murder and replaced the blood on the cover with another murder image that looks just as cool, but without the blood.
So what’s the lesson here, if there is one? I guess you shouldn’t become sidetracked worrying about a book’s cover until you’ve written the book. Or, maybe it’s a good thing to think about the cover early on because it can influence the storyline in a way that might be good. I guess it’s like anything else in the creative process–sometimes you just gotta meander around before you find where it is you’re going to. It’s just like they say…you should never judge a cover by its book!
Speaking of books and covers…I think any middle schooler will like both when it comes to my latest book just out this past summer….it’s available at amazon.com