The design of the site is up. Some graphics are final, some are sketches stuck in to represent the artwork that still needs to be done, but overall, the layout is looking close to done. Thanks for everyone who bore with me while I wrested for control over my domain information with the old (going out of business) host.
I’m just about to finish up chapter seven– six more to go, but I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to finish the last thousand words before I get to the fun, violent part of the book.
So instead, I took a break to write a new query letter (minus the boring title-genre parts). I think they’re getting better; feel free to tell me if I’m completely deluded.
In Marla, wars are fought with assassins, not armies.
The duke of Marla’s northern providence had been in the king’s disfavor since the duke married the king’s sister. The king’s opinion worsened when the duchess died suddenly and without explanation.
Duchess-to-be Wyrren Jadis is the king’s niece, but very much her father’s daughter: honorable, unsubtle, and with a firm sense of duty. Twelve years after her mother’s death, the king uses a mounting revolt on Jadis lands as an excuse to have his niece kidnapped and brought to his underground city of Vastii, which struggles to recover from plague, famine, and violent objections to their unfair monarch. Armed with a formal education, a specialty in a non-combative magic, three talented maids, and a high-ranking slave, Wyrren isn’t quite prepared to be her father’s assassin. But the king means to use Wyrren to accuse the duke of murder regardless of guilt, and he isn’t above making examples of her maids, or her slave, the man she secretly loves.
In the deepest tunnels of Vastii, far from the palace gentry, red crosses are drawn in chalk where effects of the plague have been seen. Wyrren’s slave is also a doctor, accustomed to slums, and has evidence to support a friend’s theory that this plague might have been started intentionally months before their arrival, and not by the king.
It’s been long overdue. I still need to put in some of my new art (most of what I have there in my galleries are from 2006) and I need to change the confirmation page on the email form (it’s on a wonky default format), but otherwise I’m pretty happy with it.
Most notably, I now have a mailing list! Anyone who would like to be notified about my novel without wanting to bother listening to me ramble in my blog can go to http://elizawyatt.net, enter in their email address, and will be noted when it’s ready for pre-order.
In other news, World Building Month is officially over. I’m halfway done with compiling the last showcase, and I apologize that I haven’t been around this last week. I’m currently about 92,000 words into my book, halfway through the last chapter. Writing the last twenty percent, I’ve heard, is harder than the previous eighty, and they’re right. Now that I’ve slogged through it, I think that writing a last chapter is comparable to climbing up a wall by one’s fingernails. Isn’t writing glamorous?
I spent last night working on my website instead of writing (bad Eliza), though as it had been two years since its last update it was really well overdue.
I have down a rough draft of the design, and it’s navigable, though none of the sparse content I’ve added is final. I’m a little uncertain about the top blue stripe, and a web design friend of mine thinks that the bottom curve is too much. Any constructive criticism is appreciated!
This is the very rough sketch of the future cover, commissioned from the wonderful Nykolai. Go see her gallery. (Rough idea for) The back:
In a sunless ice-world where cities are built underground, Vastii is a corrupt, dirty metropolis ripe with gangs, mercenaries, rebellion, and scheming politicians. To suppress an uprising in the west, the king took his own niece, Lady Wyrren Jadis, as a political hostage. Officially, her presence will ensure her father’s loyalty to a king that he never cared for. The king never mentioned that he intends to use Wyrren to accuse her father of murder.
Forced into a strange city with only a few companions, the king’s niece is seen as an easy way to the king’s ear or a weapon against the monarchy. But Lady Wyrren loves freedom more than comfort, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to fight for it.
Anyone think this is noteworthy enough to pick up at a bookstore and flip through a few pages?
A few weeks ago, I started talking to an artist I admire about commissioning a cover for my book. She seemed interested, and it was agreed upon that I’d send her some pieces of my book and talk about what I’d like to see.
So I went over some of the first chapters of my story, and I realized that parts needed to be rewritten. The imagery wasn’t that great in places, and I’d changed my mind about how a few pieces looked. Then I wondered what sort of thing really would make a great cover. Rylan battling his tiger in the arena? The balcony on the arena facade, which is carved to look like a hand of a god outstretched over the Pit? Or perhaps something simplistic– Wyrren walking through walls as if it were made of water (which isn’t accurate, but it would look neat). Two of these three scenes haven’t been written yet in the current draft. So I’ve delayed, and haven’t gotten anything over, though I did make it clear to her right away that I’d need some time together things together, and that at present the time frame wasn’t an issue.
Nonetheless, it’s rude behavior on my part. People shouldn’t just do what they say. They should do what they say in a timely manner. I’ll fix that this weekend, and send her the first two chapters, the description of the fight in the arena, a synopsis of the plot, and a few suggestions for what I think would be a decent cover. I’ll also offer to give her more if she needs it, ask if she has any other ideas, and suggest that she send me a few quick concept sketches if she’s still interested.
Her work is absolutely beautiful. You’re going to love what she does with this.
(A quick note: I know that often times authors aren’t allowed to do anything with cover art. I’ve done some research into it, and I’ve found that it can go both ways. Some publishers want control over the look of your book, others will let you have your way if you push them. I’m hoping for the latter, but even if the idea is completely rejected, I’ve decided that I still really want this. Even if it’s only for myself.)
One of my ideas for marketing my book once it nears publication is to (as well as doing the usual book signings, ads, internet banners) is to make use of my training in computer media and art to make a commercial for my novel and put it up on YouTube. I’ve seen this done before with varying degrees of effectiveness. Some use classical music and images from the public domain. One was sped up video of a woman writing the title of her book with a long, loopy handwriting. Another (very effective) took this compelling music and selected pieces of the cover art to great effect. I’m brainstorming with myself how to make something exceptional so that it will be easily passed around.
This is my current plan. Keep it short, first– I think I’ll aim for forty five seconds. Thirty five of that will be for animation, and the last ten will be for the title, author, cover art, and release. Blue crystal is a dark book, and one of my ideas is to use a combination of simple drawn animation (white lines on black), 3d graphics, and photoshop paintings. That way I can do nifty things like model part of a scene, animate the camera moving down dim the render, and transition to the animation in black and white. Every once in a while I can do a detailed photoshop painting, and scatter the piece with moments of detailed art. Rylan will fight his tiger in the arena. Police with elaborate silver demon masks will look intimidating. Wyrren will walk through walls.