What’s in the Cover Art?

Coding Peter Suddenly Paris 2 Covers

This month we have released a sequel to Suddenly, Paris — Coding Peter — AND changed the covers of both books! Above is photo of before and after for the cover art of both books. Can a cover make a difference in the sales of these books? These products? Yes! Cover art makes a huge impact on how a book is perceived by its audience. Or to put it even stronger, the art on the cover of the book helps the potential reader recognize the book as something that they would like to read. Personally, I thought the original covers with strong black, red, and white design were striking. But that design didn’t communicate the genre of the books to its audience. We needed to come up with illustrations that made it clear that these stories were science fiction, and action adventure, and aimed at a new adult readers. We needed to covey a sense of mystery and danger. We wanted people to stop and notice the books based on their covers. And so we made it change. The new covers are a lot more narrative. And hopefully it would make a difference as the potential readers browse pages of…

Treasure Trove of Creative Writing Online Classes

The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1846) by Joseph Noel Paton

I discovered Brandon Sanderson a few years back, introduced him to my son, and we basically read all that he has ever written (that we could buy). He is a very talented fiction writer. And now I discovered that he is a great teacher: good at explaining, generous with ideas, and easy with advice. He doesn’t shy away from talking about his own experiences, thus making his classes gain a very concrete dimension. I have enjoyed his online lectures so much, that I am now posting his classes in sequence and adding additional links to similar lectures that are still worth scanning through. I hope these are as useful to you as they were to me. Happy writing! Very Grateful: Thank you writeaboutdragons for adding careful notes and creating 2012 BYU videos! Very grateful to the Camera Panda team, Jon Deering and Earl Cahill, for filming, editing, and providing careful annotations (shown here in quotes). Excellent work! Another shout out to zmunk who posted videos of Brandon’s presentations at JordonCon. Brandon Sanderson’s 2012 Semester at BYU: 1. Creative Writing — Ideas & Outlining 0:12 / Introduction to being a writer – Writing is not about inspiration, ideas, or luck –…

SciFi Bites: Toy Maker

Toy Maker

The cold creeped in like a thief in the night. “Is that you Ian?” Toy Maker called from his work shop. “Close the door!” Ian walked in quietly and shut the door. The snow that sneaked in with him twirled at his feet before melting on the stone floor. The toy workshop was large but dark, lit only by the two power tables — one was the Toy Maker’s work desk and the other serving as a kitchen table. Two circles at the center of each table glowed red-orange, giving the whole space a look of warmth…just not the feel of it. Ian shivered. Behind one of the glowing tables, there was a wall full of Toy Maker’s newest creations. They were arranged in rows on shelves, organized by species. There were about two hundred on display there, all still gray — the color didn’t come until much later. The maker first sculpted the essence of each figure and then scanned it into the computer. The final details were added virtually and then printed in 3-D. Painting was the last touch. Ian admired a shelf of warriors. They were lithe and tall, with elongated, almost wasp-like waists. Some had wing…

Inattention Errors in Extemporaneous Writing

Rapefruit

Automation provides many opportunities for inattention errors. Extemporaneous writing/typing is particularly prone to errors so egregious that they are funny… in retrospect. Here are a few examples of “scary” autocorrect mistakes as well as other problems caused by limited or spit [sorry, that was “split”] attention on the task of communication. 1. Everyone fails sometimes It is easy to fail when we are in a hurry, or are under pressure, or don’t proofread our work before it goes out. Some fails are the result of trying to be too clever and not getting a second opinion. Some fails are due to lack of process — a second pair of eyes on the copy would have noticed the “extra word” problem. Some fails are easily caught via a spellchecker… But in some cases, a spellchecker does help… And in many cases, spellcheck is the CAUSE of strange communications. I had a few of those myself… 2. Errors are different from mistakes Mistakes are things that we know are wrong the moment we notice them — the head-slappers! They are usually caused by inattention on the task. Errors are different. Errors result from true ignorance. But it doesn’t make the resulting fails…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Black Queen

The Black Queen

The Black Queen I’m a seed. Plant me. All night it called. A rat came by to investigate. It sniffed the small smooth sphere, but the object didn’t smell like a seed or food of any kind. The rat scurried away. I’m a seed. Plant me. The cat passed by without even a glance. A family of raccoons stopped by. Poked. Left. The sun came up. A fractional mind crawled over. It tasted and touched, walked about and left a pheromone trail for others to follow. Soon dozens of fractional minds surrounded the sphere. By this time, the object grew to the size of a very large marble. I’m a seed. Plant me. It kept repeating to them, flaunting itself for them. And they gathered in greater and greater numbers to roll the sphere underground. Just about the time small sinuous lines started to appear of its surface, a big black bird flapped over. I’m a seed. Plant me. The sphere called to the raven. The bird prodded the object, which was now the size of a tennis ball, with its beak. It wasn’t food, like it claimed. And it wasn’t one of those shiny, sparkly objects that the bird…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Boy Who Finds

Accident_with_Dog

Short Science Fiction Stories for Kids Timur has always been good at finding things. Need to find that screw that rolled under the desk? Ask Timur. Need to locate the missing reading glasses? Timur is on it. Lost some change in a couch? Timur knows just where it is. The boy had a gift. One day, he and his mother were driving to school and a large dog ran across the street. Timur’s mom veered and swirled and the car didn’t hit the foolish animal. But the mother was freaked out. Her body shook, her heart beat faster, her hands got sweaty. But most significantly, Timur’s mother lost something in that almost accident — she lost a day of her life. And Timur found it. At the time only six years old, the boy didn’t know what he found, but he carefully picked it up and put it away for safe keeping. Over time, he found more and more chunks of time, sometimes whole days, mostly an hour there, a few minutes in another place. But time adds up. As the world gently span on its axis, the people living on it marched steadily through time, spending the lives a…

Something from Nothing

Book_lover_Wikipedia

I like writing quite a bit — it is one of the few creative activities where we get to invent an entire universe without outside interference. Movies, plays, games — they all require teams of people and large budgets to get birthed. Written stories are not like that. We can control all of it — from each individual word choice, to how things turn out for our characters, to what font is used for the presentation, to how the story gets delivered to the readers. There used to be a time when one could program games (I used to do so) all by herself — code, graphics, ideas, even publishing. But that is not possible anymore. The skill set required to make something of quality is too wast. The same is true for movies. And plays can only be experienced in front of an audience with actors… But novels! There is freedom of creativity in writing stories. When I type “the end” something became that never existed before! Something from nothing — that’s creative writing! It’s like magic, only cooler. Particularly if the author enjoys the act of writing as much as having written…