Reflecting on January… (2017) Non-writing writing…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optThe first month of 2017 is gone already. Free from studying, I’ve been a little slower at getting back to the writing desk than I expected myself to be. I’m taking time to look after my inner child after a year of neglect. I have a lot of making up to do to the poor guy. So, there has been lots of flumping into my bean bag, drinking tea, eating, and watching ‘He-Man’. That’s been a bit of a rediscovery for me. I love that show. Sometimes, when things have been complicated, it can feel good to go simple. You can’t get much simpler than cartoons. Well, maybe not anime… And there has been lots of fun and games with the husband. Board games that is, you filthy people. Because, I’ve felt that I’ve been neglecting him too. He thought me being on another planet with writing was bad, then I pitched myself into studying and he probably found I was even less present. But, I’m back now, in life, into my interests, and I’m back at the writing desk too…

I may not have been writing, but when you’re self-publishing there is a lot of other writery non-writing writing related stuff to do as well as actual writing writing. I have been busy trying to find potential book reviewers and having a nose around as I rethink my Internet presence. If you’re one of the few repeat visitors I have–thank you!–you might have notice some changes. I’ve toned down the geekiness of the blog, and made the banner writing focused. In my attempt to be entertaining to whomever might follow me, I was writing about my geeky passions, but I just don’t have time for that to the level I had planned and was trying to do. My spare time needs to be for writing. I certainly can’t do episode by episode reviews of shows I’m following as I started out doing. I’ve decided I’ll share my thoughts on what I’m watching on Twitter, occasionally Facebook, and only talk about things on this blog that I’m really enjoying. I found writing reviews on dud episodes a grind too, and I really don’t want this to be a negative place. Also, I have different social media accounts for different titles. I might drop those and have all my news come under the accounts in my name. I’m definitely dropping ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ site, and making it a page on my main site. I haven’t picked up much of a following under any of these, and I think consolidating my Internet presence just under my name is the best way forward.

On a more interesting writing front–well, I think so–is photoshop fun. I was looking at ‘The Darkwood’ covers and still wasn’t happy with them. I think every iteration–and there have been a number of them!–has been an improvement, but they still seem cluttered and a bit hard to make out as a thumbnail. Being a self-published writer, unless you want to pay out for cover designs–which eat into profits–an eye for design and photoshop skills are a must. So, more things to be thinking about other than actual writing. Still, I’m a bit arty minded, if not skilled, so I kind of like it. I just wish I had the skills to back up my ambitions.

I try and stick to basics, bold colours, big letters in the hope it all shouts ‘LOOK AT ME. BUY MY F***ING BOOK’, but Darkwood just looks busy. Playing the board game ‘Mansions of Madness’, inspiration (aka, stealing ideas) came to me. For the monsters in the app, they use a leather and metallic embossed book cover effect like my covers–but better, of course. I’d always had trouble making the embossed text stand out, and saw they use strokes–an outline. I would never have thought of using them as you just don’t get an outline around metalic text on leather, but it just seems to work. Also, the series specific silhouettes of Darkwood and Hobbs that I like so much don’t afford much space for a story specific image within them, so, seeing that they frame their monsters in the game’s app, I realised I could try a frame between the two faces, which would give me more room to play with.

I’ve broken with my style of having my name and title at the head of the cover, and dropped the tagline ‘Tales of Victorian Horror and Adventure!’ below the series title. I’ve found space for the story number, and tagged my name in at the very bottom. Oh, and in the case of this one, I’ve drawn an image. I think it’s an improvement. Certainly cleaner and less busy.

ttof2

I’m imagining Feburary will be more of the same, but I am also organising/writing the ‘Darkwood Lore’–the details of the main mystery and all the big arcing plot points and players I want to cover as I go, so I can head back into writing without being distracted by plotting anything but the current story. I’m also planning a series of short and sweat self-help articles for here to compliment/tease my title ‘Get Over It’. It’s not loads, but it’s good to be back at the desk for writing related stuff instead of studying.

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