creative writing

My Self-Publishing Progress – The Book Cover Part 2

In my last post, I said, “There are many blogs about writers trying to self-publish. Unfortunately, this is another one.”

So, I continue.

Part 1 was my issues with getting a book cover. After searching and failing to find a designer, I paid and subscribed to Adobe. I downloaded the KDP book cover template as a .pdf and designed something with my limited knowledge.

I used my cover design to publish the KDP ebook and print version of my novel High School Rocket Science (For Extraterrestrial Use Only). However, the cover could use more work.

So, I researched designers on Reedsy. This time I asked Reedsy staff for recommendations and they provided several candidates. As before, most wanted to design a dark cover with reds and greens because that is in my genre. I don’t like those covers and they were unwilling to change.

Yet, I had hope and I did find someone willing to design a book cover that was bright without using all reds and greens. Like Studs Terkel said, “Hope dies last.”

If I like the designer’s work, I’ll use her book cover to publish my novel on other publishing platforms. KDP will be my learning experience and I’m learning that I need to learn more.

But, hey! I’m a published author.

Staying Motivated to Write

This blog post is about staying motivated to write.

Yes, there are a jillion zillion such posts from bloggers much better than me to write about it. There are also bloggers who do not know how to write about it, but did anyway. That makes it no reason for me to write about writing motivation, so I will.

A wall exists in a parallel universe inside the writer’s mind. The writer is on one side of the wall saying, “I want to write.” On the other side of the wall is the writer’s ability to write. At the same time, the wall does not exist. Something like Schrödinger’s cat in 3-D.

The reason there are so many opinions about motivation is because there is no answer. Like The Cat, every answer is correct at the same time it is wrong. So, I’ll add to that with this advice that I hope some day a person will read:

Time was invented by humanity to judge a person’s ability to act. Ignore time and think past the wall to a world created by your mind.

Channeling a Character

I will sometimes finish a scene, sit back, and wonder who wrote that. The characters appeared to write themselves. They did and said what they wanted, despite what I had in mind.

I heard writers admit how their characters seemed to take over a scene, as if they came to life. I agree with writers that channeling could be the reason.

People think of channeling as psychics or people sensitive to the spiritual world. As background, a writer is limited in their writing by education, culture, environment, personality, and other traits linked to their life and mindset. When a character goes against these traits, I think the writer can be tapping into the spiritual world.

Whether or not the writer believes it, there are times when the writer becomes so focused on a scene that a connection is born and someone from the other side expresses themselves onto the page. Much like automatic writing. No, the writer is not seeing dead people like in The Sixth Sense. I think of it like this:

Channeling is possible when a writer focuses so much on a scene and characters that the writer enters a meditative state. I focus on writing a scene to the point I feel I am a part of it. Like in automatic writing, someone else comes through.

I know, you can’t wait for the catch or the joke to this blog. There isn’t any. I don’t think channeling is common, nor does it happen to everyone. Or, if it happens it comes briefly without the writer realizing it. But it exists.

Of course, many people would think this is nonsense. Yet, some stories could use a little collaboration. What better collaboration than people who do not ask for a byline?

Try this when you get stuck on a scene:

    • Get comfortable
    • Breath
    • Concentrate on the page without worrying you need to type something.

If you fall asleep, at least you’ll have a good nap. If you say awake, you may be happy about what had been written.

Does There Need to be a Hero and a Villain?

Many authors and people in the publishing industry claim that a story is not a story without a hero and a villain. I disagree.

The thinking behind this claim is that opposing sides create conflict which keeps the reader’s interest. Suspense builds toward the resolution of the conflict. Historically, opposing sides have been between good and evil or a hero and a villain. However, I don’t think a hero or a villain is always necessary to make a story. Nor, is good and evil needed.

To make a story, something needs to happen. At least one character should exhibit some type of change that does not come from facing an enemy. A scene, environment, or events can create challenges that make a character become a better or worse person. Yet, writing this way can be difficult for writers.

Many writers find it easier and simpler to create a hero and a villain where the boundaries are well defined and the conflict is clear. Such as in the Hero’s Journey. Except, this can lead to flat characters who have no complexity, deep emotion, or distinct personality.

Flat characters are clichés who stay within the boundaries of what the writer defines as good or evil. The story becomes more about chasing after something like an object or a goal than about who is doing the chasing. To avoid flat characters and give more dimension to the story, a writer could question the good and evil of the characters.

As an example, chase scenes and quests could change the hero into a villain and vice versa. Or, there could be no obvious hero or villain. Just average people confronted with challenges that makes them into something different than what they were at the story’s beginning.