I managed to get up a bit earlier yesterday, and that meant I arrived at my desk a bit earlier too. It was too cool to sit and have breakfast in the conservatory, so I was able to do the social media stuff while I ate. Aside from being a device-free zone, the conservatory is also a bit too bright for anything other than the Kindle Paperwhite. Saying that, the poet has conceded that the Kindle Paperwhite is the same as a book and not really a device as such, even though it is. But 99% of my reading is on there now, so he made the concession.
When I did hit my desk I had all good intentions of doing the proofreading, and then I realised it was almost the end of March, and that meant it was almost April, and that means Camp NaNoWriMo.
For the past four years I’ve been working on other jobs during NaNo and my creative writing has been hogged by the ghostwriting for the past three years. This year, I don’t have the ghostwriting (yay!), so this year I might actually have a decent go, and with a clear conscience. I’ve still managed to do it, but it’s been hard work with everything else.
I’ve been planning a revised, improved and updated version of The Fool thanks to feedback I’ve received from submitting partials to various bookish folk, including a couple of publishers. But that has drifted by the wayside in recent weeks due to one thing or another. So I decided to spend the tail end of March finishing the new planning work.
The original story, which I first wrote a version of for NaNo 2021, did run to just over 50,000 words, but there was a load of waffle in it and the story started about 5,000 words too early. Most of those 5,000 words have now been stripped out and are being turned into a short story, The Two of Wands. I still have the short stories The Ace of Swords and The Ace of Pentacles to write for the other two main characters, but The Two of Wands is going to be the rest of Stevie’s backstory.
The Fool itself is now not a Tarot tale, because there wasn’t really enough of the Tarot appearing in it to justify the tag. It’s now a Horvale mystery. Between us, the poet and I have been planning out the geography for this new, fictitious community (he might be making a proper map and everything), and he’s been helping me associate each of the major arcana Tarot cards with each of the mysteries without it being so Tarot-in-your-face.
Book 1 is still The Fool and it’s still Stevie’s journey into her new life. She’s just already there and quietly minding her own business when it all kicks off.
So yesterday I was looking for potential images for the cover and I researched what the best-selling mystery covers look like on Amazon at the moment too. Using two images of the poet’s, and possibly a graphic he created, here are some options I’ve been playing with:
At the moment I’m leaning towards no. 2, but I also like the ones with the model’s face in the middle. It was looking for a model I could use for several stories that took a lot of the time, and I found loads of them. (Model images by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay.) If I go with the Tarot cards, the poet’s still recreating them all for me.
One of the photographs is Ladybower Reservoir (7, 8 and 9), which isn’t in Yorkshire and the series is set in Yorkshire. The other image is a really unusual shot of Scout Dike, which is in Yorkshire. The story opens with an almost dried-up reservoir created out of a former quarry, and Scout Dike was very, very low when this picture was taken.
As an alternative, I could drop the ‘Stevie Beck’ tag from the cover and keep it as just ‘a Horvale mystery’, in which case No. 2 looks like this:
If I decide to carry on with the covers like this, I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun going out and getting more dramatic photographs that will reflect the storylines in the books. (I haven’t created a cover for No. 1a because the reflection is a bit of a faff and I’ll only do it now if I think I’m going with it.) (I might also add an extra font colour…)
This story is going to do the rounds, but if I end up self-publishing, I need the cover, and if I use the model, I’ll check with the image creator that a model release form has been provided. For now, though, please *meet* Stevie Beck. (I dropped the S off the end of her surname as well.)
For Camp NaNo I’m going to aim at 40,000 words. This isn’t for the entire book, it’s just for Camp, and afterwards, I want to add up to another 40,000 words, unless the story is told before then.
I’d just about dragged myself away from all of this work when a phone call came in from the poet. He’d ordered his repeat prescription on Friday and it was ready on Tuesday afternoon, but he was currently stuck on a motorway in a 4-mile tail-back that was going to keep him for at least another hour. So I got changed into wet weather clothes, walked down to the doctors to get his prescription, which they handed over because already they know who we are, and I came back. It didn’t take long at all, thankfully, now that we’ve registered locally, but it did pull me away from my desk.
I let him know that I had his prescription, but he rang back a bit later because one of the gantries over the motorway was saying that another motorway he needed to use was closed. I checked, and I think it was closed from 8pm, so he was all right for now.
I wrote up today’s blog post and finished it just as the poet walked in through the door. I do feel a bit like a stuck record but… today needs to be better. Again.
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