Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What does a reader see?

I've always been fascinated by what someone sees when they read something of mine. A reader might have an idea what a certain character looks like from a book cover (although the cover may be nothing like what the author imagined since they're generally decided by the publisher) or even images posted by the author relating to the story or the inspiration. It should also give readers an idea of the setting/genre/theme, although that's something very open to interpretation. If someone writes 'castle' or 'forest', most people will have a general idea of what they think a typical one looks like, then adjust it as they read more details. For instance, perhaps they saw a light, silver birch wood, only to learn two sentences in that it's a dark, brooding oak forest, or a sweltering rain forest.

I can remember, pestering an author about his space ship, wanting to know whether I'd imagined it correctly, to the point of posting pictures that echoed what I thought. Luckily we knew each other well enough that I don't think I offended him. I never did get a straight answer though...

I can't draw particularly well, but I love to sketch out my ideas in words. That's part of why I write. The art comes in describing it enough to give an outline with necessary details without bogging down the story, and yet allowing the reader to use their imagination without too much effort. I've had the odd review compare my female MC to River Song from Doctor Who and even as the Doctor himself. Keir has been cast as Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner. These kind of comments always fascinate me. But a couple of weeks ago, I received something that just blew me away. A good friend of mine decided to commission a piece of artwork as a gift to me, based on how he saw the opening scene to Keir . To say that I'm flattered is an understatement. The image is beautiful, but the thought behind it even more so.

I'm not going to tell you how close or not this is to the image that was in my head. I want people to form their own opinion. Some will be influenced by the official cover. But you can judge this one for yourself by downloading the first chapter for free from Lyrical Press Inc here or by using the Look Inside via Amazon. And if you do, I'd love for you to come back and tell me what you think of this picture then. Meanwhile you can check out the artist Jonathan Moore here. And you can check out the humorous comic strip about life in New Zealand done by my good friend Mr Reasonable here.

So, what else is new?

I've already announced it elsewhere, but to continue from last week when I said I'd had a request for a full MS, I can now confirm that I HAVE A NEW CONTRACT! Woo hoo! My scifi Gethyon will be out June 2013 with the science fiction/fantasy imprint of Champagne Books - Burst. I'm currently in the process of filling in paperwork, and already have my editor assigned and my two deadlines laid out. This meant that I dropped my Campnanowrimo project at the weekend, having reached 28K. I'm a little disappointed I won't get to finish it, but I was already struggling with the word count after feeling that When Dark Falls had a split identity problem, and that I actually appeared to be trying to write two seperate and conflicting stories. The stories won't be deleted, but what I have so far is going on my project list for next year. For the rest of this year, it will now be edits, promotion, finishing and submitting the sequel to Keir, and preparing my other sfr novella Tethered for submission early next year. I've also decided to go ahead and self-publish a short sfr story I did for a submission call that never happened. But more on that later...

My book trailer for Keir is up for voting in the August contest at You Gotta Read blog at #20. Please stop by and vote! I know, I'm not cute when I beg so how about this?

There's also giveaways still running on my blog here for two print copies of Keir. The Goodreads one is proving extremely popular and is open until September 17th. The other closes on the 29th August and is running on my blog - all you have to do is comment, and currently there's not much competition, but the closing date is sooner! The monthly Amazon tagging list will open on the 27th, with the party on the 30th. There's an additional note on the subject of 'malicious' tagging so please read the party post carefully when it's up.

Ping Pong
Donna - interesting post on remakes. I have to say I groan a little each time I hear another remake/revamp is on the way. Maybe next year we'll see something new.
Sharon - love the post on world-building. That's one of my favourite parts of writing. :)


  1. I think one of the best things about books is we each get to have our own unique experience. That doesn't happen so much with movies. That is a lovely picture! What a nice thing to get.

  2. CONGRATS!!!! on the new contract, that is AWESOME! And how very cool of your friend to commission a piece based on your novel, I love that. Just coincidentally I wast thinking of having an artist friend do the same for me. She is more abstract, so I was thinking of having her do a piece that would reflect the themes and psychological content of my work in general. Fun!

  3. Woohooo! Congrats on the sale. Fantastic!

    Love the Keir artwork. Wow, what an awesome surprise for an author.

    I have to admit it's very different from what I pictured in my head, but still fascinating to see another person's take on the scene.

  4. Angie, that's a good point. I have to admit once I've seen a film to a book I've read, it's the film actors/actresses that then become the images in my head. It does take some of the magic away.
    Sharon - thank you. And I love that my friend has done that for me, and stunned to see the image that was in his head. Will you ask your friend to read the book to do her piece, or describe it to her yourself? I think an abstract image would be nice when you already have a book cover to represent it. :)
    Laurie - thanks! The picture is totally awesome. And now I'm intrigued to know what you see! Ah, I'm too obsessed. :-P

  5. Congrats, Pippa, on all the new contract! May the universe continue to smile on you! Love the begging kitten--would you believe that's one of my Blanca's favorite tricks, too? Heaven knows where the clever kitties get these things! Blanca does it when she wants to be picked up--and, of course, it works every time!

    1. Thanks, Donna. I miss having cats. I think it's cuter when they beg because they're such dependant critters generally.


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