On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Girl in the Tree

When I was entering college, some student committee asked all prospective freshmen to submit a yearbook photo so they could compile a "New Student" booklet for us newbies to recognize each other. Well, I went to a small high school and sadly did not have a formal photo (I still regret this, Mom), so sent a snapshot of me standing beside a tree.

During our first week, I was surprised that so many people recognized me as I walked down the sidewalk to class or met students in the dorm or did other freshman-type activities.

"You're the girl in the tree!"

"Umm, yes."

Thinking back on this now, I recognize a valuable lesson for writers, book cover designers, and others in the arts. This is the lesson:

Do something different from everyone else.

For example, I'm working with an author now to publish her book. Her genre, YA spec, shows multiple books all with a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing girl in the forefront, with a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing setting in the background. What does this tell me?

I DON'T want to have a mysterious or beautiful or otherwise intriguing girl in the forefront.

Going through the book, I'm thinking of putting three characters on the front, and have them in some sort of action pose. I'm playing with how I might include a recurring item in the book as a symbol. The book cover will have the same-ish *feel* as the other YA spec covers, but will be different enough that it will stand out.

Yes, just like the girl in the tree.

I'll let you know when I've got it nailed. But so far, I'm happy reflecting how to do this. I hope you also can work to recognize differences to make your work stand out.

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