Highway to Visualization

file2431291017257My fourth book is done and going through the final stage of polish and makeup. It’s getting a final edit and a glamorous cover so it shines. I’m super excited for you to read it in September. My characters in this one have really come to life.

In honor of my new title–Between Hope and the Highway–I thought I’d take you down the highway I take to visualize characters, scenes, and cover. This highway has lots of routes and learning curves, but I’ve found it so vital to writing believable scenes and characters.

Route 1 – Photo Finding

First, I looked through Shutterfly and other photo sites for picture ideas that might work for my cover. I also tried to find pictures of people that had some similarity to the characters I wanted to write about. Here are a few samples:

Route 2 – Pinterest Boards

After finding pictures that helped me visualize my main characters and settings, I made secret Pinterest boards to keep them organized. As I wrote each chapter from various viewpoints, I’d click over to my Pinterest boards to imagine my characters better and stay true to who I thought they were. It also helped with dropping in setting details to see actual pictures. I keep these boards secret until the book is close to release; then I clean them all up and leave only the images I want to make public. You can see some of my public boards from previous novels HERE.

Route 3 – Outside Photo Help

I had several good ideas from other photo sites, but nothing that fit my book exactly. So I enlisted outside help (in the form of my awesome sister who is a rockstar with her camera) to obtain some photos with details I wanted to use for my eventual cover. Here’s a few of those results.

Skelton Photography

Route 4 – Canva Exploration

At this point, my story was fleshed out and I began to think about cover ideas. I grabbed photos from my Pinterest boards and began playing with ideas that might hint to the truth of my story in a pleasing way. Canva is super fun to play around with; it’s also great for making visuals for social media when you need them. Here’s the LINK if you want to experiment with it. Here are samples of ideas I cooked up at Canva.

Route 5 – Cover Formation

At this point on the visualization highway, I get an expert to transform my ideas into a professional cover. I need a Kindle cover and a Print cover (which has the front, back and spine on it). My daughter is doing this part for me since she knows her way around Photoshop and is super creative. Here is her teaser cover that I can use to market the book before release. I’m UBER excited for it!

Between Hope and the Highway_TEASER

Route 6 – Marketing for Release

For the next couple months, I will work to market my book for release. Traveling along this part of the highway is difficult. I have to make sure the final version of the covers are ready and get to enough people so I eventually gather interested readers. This is the end…and the beginning.

There you have it. All six routes I take on the visualization highway. I’m not saying this works for every writer, but I’ve found it very helpful for me. Have a great weekend.


23 thoughts on “Highway to Visualization

  1. I love the cover choice, and I think it fits the story wonderfully. I just finished my ARC of it. Enjoyable with fun characters. Thanks for giving me a sneak peek! I’ll get a review up when it’s out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Carrie. I reworked the last section so it didn’t jump around so clunkily (is that a word? I just made it one). How’s your summer going? Are you moving now or later in the year?

      • Our house is listed, so we’re in the get-the-house-clean-quickly-for-showings phase. That’s always fun. When we move depends on when we sell it. Good times, good times. Given your recent move, I’m sure you can relate!

        • It’s not my favorite thing to do. We’re working on finishing our basement, so there are boxes still everywhere down there and I can’t find anything when I need it. Good luck…and happy cleaning. I remember those phone calls when the realtor was right outside the house–it usually was when the house was in chaos.

          • Fortunately we’ve been given at least a couple hours heads-up so far before a showing. I keep the house pretty clean, but it’s the teenage boy rooms and bathroom that are tough to keep up. I know you can relate to that one too!

  2. Okay,,,this was such a cool post! You may have just reinvigorated me!!
    I loved reading about your process and the care you take with each step. I’m a firm believer in the power of Pinterest, but I hadn’t thought about keeping the character profiles private – great idea! I don’t have many followers, but the thought had crossed my mind a few times, “I bet these people think I’m crazy posting all of the steampunk costumes!”
    I can’t wait to read your new book – September will be here before you know it. I have a few ideas for promotion from the work I did with the book I was a part of. I’ll drop you an e-mail next week.
    Keep on writing, sister! We need your words ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Michelle. Yeah, I’d be embarrassed by all my character pics if the public saw them. They’d think I was crushing on other men besides the hubs when really I’m just trying to get an idea about a new character. I’ll look forward to your email. I could use all the help I can get in marketing.

  3. OK, yeah, lovin’ the character idea for Rawson! ๐Ÿ™‚ And your cover is fabulous. I love working with Canva, but it is so fun I sometimes forget I have an actual project with a deadline!!

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