Over the next couple days I'm going to be building the cover for Burning Daylight and I might as well share the process in hopes that it will help some of you or spark some ideas for others.
Bad Apple Book 2. Okay we probably don't need fruit this time. Why did I choose the apple instead of oh, say a gun, for Book 1? Because the apple is a motif through the book.
What's a motif?-- 1) a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., esp. in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
In the beginning, we see Aunt Maude making cider from the apples and Neal is helping her. Neal learns from Maude. There is a family history entwined with apples. This tells the reader (it should, I'm sure it doesn't for anyone blasting through the book reading for plot alone) there is something about history that's important. The farm at Kent Mountain used to be a working apple orchard. It used to be a vibrant farm, productive, nurturing. Now there's no farming, the family sits in the house figuratively rotting while the land has gone fallow, literally rotting. In Joe Kent, we see the fruit of the new orchard. Isn't this what his mother, Janie, has produced? He has become a bad apple. Is he the only bad apple? Discuss among yourselves.
Now we're at Book 2. We're not at the orchard, we're not at Kent Mountain, altho we do eat apples and pears quite regularly because they are good. What's a visual motif in this book? They're musicians, so music. What instruments do they play. All strings. Tru is a pianist but also has an affinity for the violin, he plays the guitar as well. Neal started her musical journey with a fiddle (violin but not classical music, as in just fiddlin' around). So some kind of image that suggests music. Piano keys? That leaves Neal out and she's theoretically our main character. Violin then. Wouldn't a guitar be better? Maybe for a customer who comes to this book without reading Book 1 first. But let's go with a violin for the moment. Maybe it'll work.
I came up with this as a piece of interior illustration.
The more I looked at it the more I liked it. I thought maybe there's a way to use it as the cover. It's perfect for what it is but totally doesn't work as a thumbnail. It's not LOUD enough (no, you'll see some things really stick with me). So how am I to enlouden the image above so it can be understood as a thumbnail.
Let's think about the title. Burning Daylight. What the heck does that mean? It's generally meant literally, tick tock, you only have so many daylight hours to do your work. You're wasting time. We have the sense of time passing. It must be going faster than we expect or we wouldn't have mentioned it. Time is passing quickly, there's a rush. To burn through something suggests speed. Is there anything to be gotten from literal flames? Do we burn the violin? Do we put flames in the background? How about going with the image above, pretty much but making the text burn.
I gotta admit this does nothing for me. I'm glad I did the tutorial and now I can create flames in Photoshop, but by itself I'm not seeing its usefulness.
I need to find something else.