On Holidays

Hi, everyone. As you read this, I’m on Summer holidays on Moreton Island, just off the coast of Brisbane. One of the big sand islands of Moreton Bay. I don’t have internet access there, so won’t be able to respond to posts.

In the mean time, please feel free to start an open floor discussion.

Think of me wriggling my toes in the golden sand:)

8 thoughts on “On Holidays

  1. Have a great time, Chris!

    If this is open floor, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about the positioning of the attractive human figures one places on the cover? In my head, they are looking out into the world. My published book has the MC looking at an alien planet–with his back to us. My forthcoming one, in my minds’ eye, had my 2 MCs looking at the dead satellite that needs to be de-orbited–again with their backs to us.

    Fortunately, this time I’m working with an actual artist, and his first sketch has the man in quarter profile and the woman facing forward toward the audience. This is better. Does anyone know of the associations people have with cover figures with their backs to the reader? I keep learning about new things, and suspect there’s something about this, if not an outright rule.

    1. In my mind, if a figure has his back to me in part or total, I’m part of the scene, seeing what he’s seeing. It draws me in.

      I’ve read that by not showing a character’s face, you encourage the reader to fill in the details from the book. That’s one reason why none of my covers have shown the protagonist (although you see Elizabeth’s hand and Snowy’s ears on the most recent one.) That said, the next novel may well have an Azdhag on the cover. But Rada won’t appear any time soon.

      My $.10 worth (two cents after inflation.)

      1. I’m glad to hear that about being drawn in. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and noticing that a lot of covers have the person looking out at us.

    2. Characters in covers? Interesting question. Thinking about some parallels, if the cover is the audience looking at a play on a stage, the convention there is that the main characters are in the center facing the audience. Movies and television have blurred that somewhat, as the camera often acts as the viewpoint looking towards the action, and sometimes perches on the shoulder of the main character. If we add in the “follow the gaze” reflex that seems to be built into most people, then having at least one character on the cover blatantly looking where you want the audience to look makes a lot of sense. The other place we often have such frozen moments is pictures, and the convention there normally is facing the camera.

      I suppose another way to think of it is what is the focus of the book? Is there a character or set of characters who are the focus? Or is there some event, setting, or something else that is the focus? What will catch the reader’s attention? For example, if the book was the Wizard of Oz, I could see using the scene with the four setting off along the path to Oz in the distance, with everyone facing away. Or maybe Dorothy at the crossroads, puzzled about which way to go, facing us? Or even just the green glowing city of Oz, or maybe that monstrous face in the clouds of smoke?

      I guess if I were designing a cover, I might very well start with the logline or elevator speech. Odds are that is about a character doing something. Now, what visual would make us think that, or puzzle about that? Throw in the genre tropes for visuals — romances often have a certain kind of figure posed on the front, mysteries like to have a dead body, some genres prefer a rocket ship or perhaps a magical suggestion?

      Note: every artist I have worked with tells me I am not a visual person. But I do enjoy sandy beaches.

      1. Follow the gaze. Hmmm. This is an obvious truth, once you point it out to someone like me. 🙂

        I know when I like something visual or think it works. I can never figure out why, however.

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