Sunday, September 7, 2014

Finishing Touches

I've been putting the finishing touches on my second novel, but I still need to double check the formatting, read it through from beginning to end without interruption (something I've already deemed as an impossible goal), create a cover for it and see if I can come up with a better title.  I verified that no one else has used the working title before, and its probably because its not a great title, but I honestly can't come up with anything better.  I think it is silly that I can write a whole book, but can't think up a better title for it.  I'm not going to ask for help, because then it wouldn't be my title, and I want this book to be 100% me.

I spent several months last year creating a book cover for another author, and she changed both the title and her preferences on book cover colors, fonts, text, dimensions and photographs multiple times.  I discovered that whenever I told her I liked something, or whenever I made a recommendation, she did the opposite, so I finally just shut my big mouth.  I felt like the cover was getting worse with each change and that she should just take the first copy I sent her.  The final copy she chose wound up being a problem for the printer and for websites, which I predicted would happen, but I let the publisher deal with it rather than to try to convince the author that I actually know what I'm doing.  After all the work I put into that project, there ended up being a flippin' typo on the back cover.   I'm hoping that creating my own book cover will go much more smoothly.  I think I created the cover for my first novel in an hour, and I still love it every time I see it.

While I was in the process of writing this novel, which has been somewhere around a decade, I think, I've had a general idea of how I want the cover image to look.  I wanted to recreate an image from the opening scene, because it has so much subliminal meaning to it.  The scene is basically a young woman covered in mud unintentionally sliding down a hill on her stomach, grasping for branches to stop herself, and grabbing onto something slimy.  When she pulls it up out of the mud to see what she has in her hand, it is one of those "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" tapes.

So, first I had to get my hands on some of that yellow tape.  I thought about going to the local police department and asking for a piece, but then I'd have to explain my purposes for its use, and they probably couldn't lend me some or sell me some anyway because of departmental policies.  My son and his girlfriend are currently trying to break into the film industry, and once they got jobs at a movie studio, I'm sure they could get their hands on some in a prop room, but I didn't want to wait and I didn't want to put unneeded pressure on them by asking for a favor.  So, I just searched the Internet to see if anyone would sell some to a private citizen, and I did find companies that sold it to police departments.  I decided to just order it and see if they'd send it to me, and they did.  I'm still half-expecting a police officer to show up at my door to ask why I ordered police supplies.  The funny thing is that they sent me the roll of police line tape inside of an official evidence bag.

I only needed to use about six feet of the tape, so now I'm thinking that next time I see a police officer at a speed trap in front of the elementary school, I'll pull over and ask him if his department could use the rest of the tape.  But then we are back to me looking suspicious and having to explain myself.  Maybe I'll just scrape the black lettering off it and tie pieces to my fence so that the hikers and horseback riders will see it and not get tangled up in the wire when they are trespassing through my property at night.

So, I got my police line tape, now all I needed was a young woman's arm.


Just kidding.  I'll tell you the rest of the story.  So, now I had to figure out how I could either get a hold of a mannequin's arm, or chop off someone's real arm.  Kidding again.  I asked a friend if she would model for me, and she agreed, but then right when the police line tape arrived, her truck broke down, so I asked my daughter to model for me.  My daughter hesitated, because she said that the kids she teaches are always telling her that she has "man arms".  Yup.  Big, hairy man arms is one of the curses in my gene pool.  We all inherited it from my dad, who had enough hair on his body to rival that of a bear's, but not much of anything on his head.  Once my brother held up a cartoon centerfold in Mad Magazine of Telly Savalas nude for me to see.  It was basically this bald man with so much hair on his body that you couldn't see any skin.  My brother pointed at the picture and said that our dad was moonlighting for Playgirl Magazine.  We were such little shits back then.  My brother just grew up to be a bigger shit, but I like to think that I rose to the top of the toilet bowl.

Then my friend fixed her truck, so I did a photo shoot with her lying on the ground with her arm all muddied up grabbing this police line tape.  Then the next day I did the same thing with my daughter for good measure.  I wanted a lot of proofs to choose from, and contorting one's body while crouching or laying on stickers and rocks isn't an easy job, so I didn't want to totally piss off my models by dragging things out for more than a few minutes.

I'm a cruddy photographer for a couple of reasons.  One is because I usually exhaust my models by overstaying my welcome and dragging out the photo shoot too long.  I'm very familiar with that look of annoyance and fatigue, usually when the model or client is saying, "I think you have enough pictures now, don't you?"  I've even had cats try to scratch me and dogs try to bite me when I said, "Keep this party hat on.  I just need one more photo."

The other reason why I'm a cruddy photographer is because I suck at directing.  I usually have a good idea of what I want to create before the photo shoot, but it's only when I view the photos blown up on a computer screen that I can say, "Oh, I should have done this or I should have told the model to do that..."  Then I contemplate requesting a retake, but know that will just piss everyone off, so I end up Photoshopping everything to death.

My daughter needed to get to work because she had a lot of pressing engagements to prepare for and a lot of paperwork to present, so I told her to just get washed up and go -- I will clean up the set.  Well, I forgot to clean up the set and left that "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" tape draped around a bush in my back yard.  I figured that some home shoppers came by to look at the house next door and probably left with a bad taste in their mouths after seeing that.  Hmmmm... that gives me some ideas...  JUST KIDDING!

Anyway, I set the goal of having this ebook published online by September 15th, but I don't know if I will make it.  I'm kicking this project into high gear in hopes of pulling off a miracle, but obviously the world won't come to an end if I miss my deadline.  I'm just looking forward to finishing the project so that I can move on to other things.  I have other book ideas waiting in the wings for me to write, and plenty of books I've bought but haven't read yet.  I have also set up a fabric arts studio in my son's bedroom and have all the supplies picked out for my next quilting project.  Then once it cools down, I'll be busy training the horses.  So much to do, so little time.


TeresaA said...

wow a novel. good for you! take your time in this final bit. :)

Tervpack said...

I always say I don't have photography subjects, I have photography victims! Look over here, now there, just one

fernvalley01 said...

Looking forward to the book!

Katharine Swan said...

I'm excited to see your cover now! I collect things for covers and other marketing images, too. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now (especially with just recovering from this horrible virus), but hopefully soon I'll be able to get back to writing and working on websites and covers and all of that fun stuff.

achieve1dream said...

This is so exciting!! I can't wait to see the cover! I just realized I bought your other book but I haven't read it yet! I have this huge list of books I want to read, mostly of long series, so it takes me forever to get around to the single books. Oops!