do, please, judge a book by its cover | nanowrimo 2015 covers

NaNoW­riMo 2015 is upon us in less than three days! Have you plot­ted and planned? Are your char­ac­ters all ready to fall in love or be ripped apart or slay the drag­on? Have you let your day­dream­ing get to you, imag­in­ing what it would look like to see your name on the shelves with the best? I have, with­out hes­i­ta­tion... okay, with some hes­i­ta­tion. I wasn’t too sure, until mid-Octo­ber, whether I would par­tic­i­pate in NaNoW­riMo (Nation­al Nov­el Writ­ing Month) this year. Last year, a lot of life-relat­ed issues kept my best friend and I from reach­ing our goal, and it was a blow to my ego — my first “loss” in the six years I’ve been giv­ing my soul over to the lit­er­ary deities and mus­es so as to bleed out 50,000 words with­in 30 days. I final­ly decid­ed that no, I wouldn’t let last year’s bad luck and emo­tion­al tur­moil spoil the fun I’ve had every year throw­ing new char­ac­ters into new sit­u­a­tions, shar­ing excerpts and gripes and mile­stones.

Plus, and here’s where I get to the point: it means that I get to design a cov­er for my nov­el! One of my favourite, ran­dom lit­tle hob­bies, is graph­ic design. I’ve been mess­ing around in pho­to­shop pro­grams since 2003 (even before then, if MSPaint can be count­ed). For the most part, the art I make is for myself; col­lages to depict char­ac­ters, cer­tain scenes, moods; dig­i­tal jour­nal pages to clear my head of thoughts; and every now and then, some­thing fan­dom-relat­ed. It’s a medi­um that I like to think I’ve grown tal­ent­ed in, and I love when oppor­tu­ni­ties arise for me to share my work with oth­er peo­ple. NaNoW­riMo is a great out­let for this. On the forums, there’s a gor­geous lit­tle sec­tion called NaNo Arti­sans, where artists of any make or mea­sure can come and offer things such as char­ac­ter sketch­es, per­son­al­ized sound­tracks, and, as my luck would have it, cov­ers!

This year, I want­ed to get back into the spir­it of NaNoW­riMo and include myself in the forums and chats. I start­ed that jour­ney off in the Arti­sans forum, ask­ing oth­er writ­ers to tell me the syn­opses of their nov­els, so that I could, with a lit­tle inspi­ra­tion, cre­ate some­thing that they could use to moti­vate them­selves and do that thing we writ­ers love to do: imag­ine our­selves on the shelves. Over the last week, I cre­at­ed 36 mock book cov­ers for some amaz­ing­ly tal­ent­ed writ­ers. I had an amaz­ing time with every design, want­i­ng to do right by each author and the world they have ready and rar­ing to go come Novem­ber 1st. I hope above all hope that every­one is suc­cess­ful with their 50,000 words this year, and that maybe a few years down the road, I get to see their book on a shelf some­where (like­ly, with­out the cov­er I’ve made, but hey, at least I can say I helped inspire them a lit­tle back in the day).  

Here’s my per­son­al Top 10 from all of the cov­ers I did!

Con­tin­ue read­ing

1. we are broken bones looking to meld together
hairline fractures fitting with impossibility
except we can't get to this point with you
too afraid or too stubborn or too this-isn't-a-good-time
to let me rip you open from the throat to gut to get at your heart
when i told you i was broken you didn't say you would fix me
you said you were too and it was like someone saying
thank you
yes please
let's set this straight

2. animals
we are animals
violent. and if we fight for anything we fight for love
we are teeth and claw and blood
our ribcages are the antlers of deer who want their way
crashing together, locking, and struggling
and one of us will die wearing the other like a crown

3. i am a universe where you kissed me the day you met me
eye to eye without a hello, just how i asked you to
you are a lifetime where you never know my name
and something always feels off
i am a vowel at midnight that just doesn't sound right
and you are nobody's favourite colour
(i saw you in shades of green)

4. i chose not to grieve for you
and that's all i want to do

5. we are what i said we would always be:
and desperate
              - s.c