There are several ways to dig into your subject in order to find what you need to polish the little details that bring realism to your writing:
#1. One of my favorites is to read other books! In doing so, make sure you do not get so lost in them that you forget to write your own. This can also be a concern with #2.
#2. The Internet. My Very good friend,
has made it possible for me to tramp through the Amazonian Rainforest, plunge into the depths of the Corycian Cave on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, explore traditional homes of the Joseon period in Korea and creep about the ruins of a mysterious castle in Ireland. I’ve learned about obscure dialects, archaic religions and fantastic prophecies of the future of mankind. All of this has been necessary to create a background of veracity for my writing. Give your reader a tour of Agra, taste exotic foods in a village market, smell the blooms of a distant island. Let them hear the Bells of Notre Dame ring out and feel the sting of an Arctic blizzard! But makes sure the details are correct. (I look those things up, AND have tried some of the recipes!)
#3. Travel. If you can, making a visit to the location(s) where your novel is set can help by allowing the reader to connect to something familiar. We’ve all seen the skyline of New York, and who doesn’t recognize the Great Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower? Giving a clear description of a place setting allows the reader to anchor themselves, and hopefully, overlook the fact that you have a fairy, dragon or witch gallivanting about. No time or money to travel? No problem! See #2!
#4. People Watch. Use little quirks you observe, quaint turns of speech, facial expressions, tics, twitches, unique laughs… there’s no end to it! Characterization is EVERYTHING. Give your readers genuine characters they can love, hate, scold, empathize with — as long as they engage with the people you create, you’re doing it right. If your ancient, teen-aged appearing, shape-shifting alien, mind-reading heroine can make a basic connection in some way that makes her seem more human, you’ve won half the battle. Put her in an authentic setting (or one with authentic nuances), give her relatable emotions and conflict and the result will be a story that allows rationality to take a back seat and disbelief will be forgotten.
All that will be left is your wonderful tale.
*DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!*
Well, now, are y’all as excited as I have been about the cover to Seven Lamps Were Burning? It’s been a crazy and emotionally exhausting process, but I must say I’m truly happy with the results. I even had a little fun creating “extra” covers that won’t be used, well, because I could and it allowed me to use some of the many images I liked but decided against for the final cover choice.
A few of those images were declined because I was unable to get permission to use them. Copyright infringement fines are not on my list of “things I want for Christmas” this year. I’ve tried to be very careful where the official cover is concerned, but I don’t think there will be a problem showing y’all some of the pictures in a non-commercial environment, so I will be posting some of them later — with the proper accreditation included where possible. Check back on the Gallery link in a week or two for some nifty image and tidbits about how they would have fit into Seven Lamps.
They say a good cover is one of the most important factors in choosing a book. I have to agree. While I most often will read the synopsis or blurbs, it’s often the cover that catches my eye in the first place. Is it dark and broody? Bright and cheerful? Hopefully, the cover gives a good idea of what’s inside.
You ready? I know I am. So without further ado, I present to you, THE OFFICIAL COVER FOR SEVEN LAMPS WERE BURNING!
Well, what do you think? Hmmm… Tell you what… Why don’t you vote in the comments (click the link up top). I haven’t uploaded it yet. Who knows, your vote may change my mind!