And they’ve sneaked themselves into my cover art.  *heavy sigh*

One thing I’ve been working on learning over the course of this last year is identifying, and then in cold-blood, killing my ‘darlings’. For those of you who aren’t writers and don’t get the lingo, this just means cutting out stuff in the manuscript that isn’t important and screws up the flow of the story.

The thing is, writers are oftentimes hoarders of words.  We don’t like to take what we’ve written out of existence – even if we know that the flashback of our protagonist in the second grade eating a PB&J will stop the flow of the story.  Because this is important, dammit.  How else will the reader fully understand my protags aversion to crusts on his sandwiches??  Forget that it’s not really important to the big picture…it’s a detail I worked really hard on, and I don’t want to lose it.  I mean, what if I want it later??  I can’t throw it out.  I won’t.  You can’t make me.

I’ll say it again:  WRITERS ARE HOARDERS.

This last year I decided to put a halt to the sick cycle of word-hoarding, and planted my butt in a chair, mercilessly hacking away at my manuscript.  I can’t explain to you just how hard it was to do this – to hack away at something I’d put so much time, effort, imagination into.  But, not a whole lot that’s worth doing is easy, and in the end SHRILUGH ended up being leaner and meaner for it.  That’s a good thing.

But I was glad to be done.  Thought I was done.

Enter cover art.

In a perfect world, I would hire the freakishly talented people at Howerton+White to do my cover art and marketing materials.  What they did for my hubster’s company – online and in their store – is beautiful.  But, to say I’m on a shoestring budget is a generous statement.  I’m working on more of a Used Piece Of Scotch Tape From Last Christmas kind of budget.  That doesn’t bother me at all – I’ve always been a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of girl.  It just means that a bunch of this stuff I’m having to wing, to learn on the fly.  But I’m pretty creative, and while I’m no Photoshop expert, I’m not afraid to mess with stuff ’till I get it figured out.

Wouldja eat the moon if it were made of cheese?

I’m curious like a cat.

Anyway, I spent a few hours Saturday working on what I thought were pretty damn good options for a novice.  When the Hubster woke up from his mid-afternoon snooze, I pounced on him, sure he’d be bowled over by my graphic arts prowess.

Oh, woman, the higher the expectation, the harder the fall.  It went a little something like this:

HIM: These are great, Myn.

ME: (to self: I know) Which one do you like best?

HIM: Well…  (he’s quiet a second.)

ME: (I look over at him, needy as ever.  Writer’s aren’t just hoarders.  We’re needy, too.  The look on his face – the one that says he’s not really sure how to answer – immediately makes me defensive.)Wait, you don’t like them?  You don’t like them.

HIM: No, they’re good.  I just don’t see how they go with the story.  What’s the little girl for?

ME: (To self:  How can he not know?) What do you mean?

HIM: I don’t understand what the girl’s for.

ME: Because (here I went into a lengthy explanation of why I used that image…you’d be bored to tears, so I’ll leave it out.)

HIM:  But that’s all backstory, right?  You took that out of the book.  You know, ‘darlings’. (Eyes me cautiously.)  Right?

ME:  Yeah, but…(to self: Oh, crap.  He’s right.  Crapity-crap.)  Oh, man.

HIM:  They’re good though.  I just think you can do better.

ME:  (yanking laptop off his lap)  Shut up.  (to self: Crap.)  You’re a turd.  (Which he knows is Myndi’s-Bruised-Ego speak for I Love You, Thank You For Being Honest, I’ll Get Over It And Apologize For Calling You A Turd In About An Hour.)

And of course the Hubster has it right.  I see it now.  Somehow those pretty little darlings that I’d killed all those months ago came back like literary ghosts to haunt my attempts at cover art.  Which means I get to start the bloodshed all over again.

Who knew writing was so violent?

This, however, is one of the reasons why I’m so in love with My Guy.  He tells me like it is.  Even though he knows it might put me in a ‘mood’ for a good part of the day, he’s not afraid to tell me when he sees my feet straying off the path I’ve chosen for myself.

He’s so good for me.

So, no cover art concepts to show you today, BUT, I’ve created a Pinterest board for my beta-readers to contribute to.  There are some fun and fabulous images there of how the book looks from their perspective.  It makes me so happy that (a) there are folks willing to read SHRILUGH and (b) they enjoyed it enough to want to talk about it after.  Click here to take a look.

That’s it for today, lovely reader-lings.  May the road rise up to meet you on this lovely Monday!


p.s.  I’ve had several folks ask me about this, so here it is.  SHRILUGH is pronounced SHREE-loo.  😀


12 thoughts on “MAKING IT HAPPEN: The DARLINGS are back…

  1. EllieAnn says:

    oh, writing is SO bloody! Those bloody darlings must be cut out with no mercy. And I NEVER catch them until it’s too late. Well, almost never.
    This whole conversation made me laugh, and nod my head in empathy.

  2. Natalie Hartford says:

    Love the Pinterest board – so cool! And gotta luv a hubby that tells it like it is, even when it’s hard. Gotta respect it even though HE SUCKS at that very moment! Can’t wait to see the new concepts when they are born….

  3. Ginger Calem says:

    Aw, poor Myn! {hug} In reading that, I could picture William when I show him something ‘for his opinion’ which really means, ‘tell me how awesome this is’ and he’s super quiet and he sort of tugs on his lower lip in contemplation. I move straight to, “fine, give it back. You don’t get my brain.” 🙂

    I LOVE your Pinterest board I can’t wait to add to it. But the images that the others have put up are so evocative, it puts me in a certain mood already. I’m totally stealing this idea for Ninja and can’t wait to see what my betas find.

    • Myndi stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Hey girlie! I’m actually using Pixelmator. If you have a Mac you can buy it in the app store for $15 bucks. It’s nowhere near as powerful as PhotoShop, but it’s got plenty of bells and whistles for a girl like me. It’s pretty simple to navigate. After spending a few hours clicking (ooh, what’s this do?) and dragging (can I put this here?) etc, I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on it…and when it comes to stuff like that I’m as dumb as they get. If you have the time to spend on it, I’d def recommend it! 🙂

  4. Sheila Seabrook says:

    Myndi, designing a cover is hard, so kudos to you for being willing to put in the work — and take the crap when it’s not quite right. I love that your husband is so honest with you and that you value his opinion so much. I can’t wait to see the final result!:)

  5. Tameri Etherton says:

    Awww! Your hubby’s a great guy! Those pesky darlings just don’t know when to stay gone. You are so right ~ we are total word hoarders.

    Well done on tackling the cover art yourself! I took Photoshop twice and still don’t remember anything useful. Every mistake they say not to do on covers, I’m pretty sure those are the things I’d be like, ‘Oooh, pretty’.

  6. Anne says:

    “Would you eat the moon if it were made of Cheese” cracked me up! Seriously, for logo design, embroidery and screen printing, please check out US Logo. Thanks! Cool blog post

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