Wasteland Wednesday #1

*Language and Content Warning*

skull and crossbones.jpgskull and crossbonesUnlike QE’s normal informational blog, Wasteland Wednesday will be full of foul language and post-apocalyptic nonsense.  I’m talking f-bombs, thrice-bosomed mutant women, and potential buckets of gore.

Wasteland Wednesday

Corey:  Welcome to Wasteland Wednesday!  I have a very special guest here today to talk about what Wasteland Wednesday is and what we will be doing from here on out.  He rose from the dead, destroyed entire settlements, battled slavers, and butchered an army of renegade flesh eaters!  I’m very pleased to introduce…Drake Nelson!

Drake Nelson:  Eh?  The fuck is this? 

I’m using you as a marketing tool to sell books.

You suck inbreeder balls Corey.  First you create the fucking wasteland to absolutely bone me and now this?  I refuse. 

Refuse?  You one-eyed ingrate!  I created you.

…fuck you.  

* slams door shut on Corey’s imagination *

Ugh!  Frigging useless moronic piece of—

* door re-opens * 

I want bullets.  At least fifty .45 rounds.  You give me that and I’ll help you out with this idiotic sales pitch.  

Fine!

* Corey opens manuscript and types,  “Drake springs a monumental boner as his foot kicks a box of fresh .45 rounds hidden beneath some leaves.” *

Nice!  Got it.  Okay, about this stupid book of yours, maybe you should talk about the cover art you just got updated?  People seem to either wet or stretch their undies at the sight of sexy cover art.  

That’s actually not a bad idea.  After all, you are featured on the cover.  Maybe you could explain what you were doing in the scene?

That’s such a great idea Corey.  I’m in a sharing mood right now too!  Just kidding.  Adios.

*door slams shut again*

Drake?  Are you friggin kidding me?

*sighs*

I don’t have time for this.  All right folks!  We are going to continue on without that geriatric madman here to slow us down.  The next iteration of the cover art did come in.

Many moons ago I wrote a post about how I am currently collaborating with the amazing Michail Mamaschew.  The post featured some of his stellar artwork.  You can check it out here if you missed it.

In that post I revealed how Michail (who is working from Berlin) and I have been collaborating to make the exchange of information easier.  I also shared my original concept art.  Here is my doodle.

Cover Art Concept

*door opens*  

You suck at drawing and your “doodle” is much smaller than this.   

*door closes again*

Screw you Drake!

* Corey locks door *

Okay.  So that was my attempt at the drawing the scene.  Michail recently emailed me his rough concept art for approval.  He added a superficial strip down the center of the image to approximate spine location for the print version.  If you consider the space to the right of the strip, this is what the electronic cover will morph into.

Cover Concept.jpg
The concept cover art for Wastelander: The Drake Legacy. This image is owned by Corey Truax. Any manipulation or use of this image without written permission from Corey Truax is not permitted.

*door rattles*

Yeah, we know Drake, you look badass and Michail rocks.  This is the rough creation without any details added.  I, for one, am pretty stoked about how it’s coming along.

If I fail at traditional publishing, the print and typesetting company (something I’ll talk about in future post) I have selected for the indie route will create font and set the cover text.  Once I get the final product from Michail, I will create a cover draft with temporary text so you can see what it looks like in all of it’s wasteland glory.  That’s pretty much—

* door explodes and Drake jumps through giving thumbs up * 

That is one magnificent bastard right there! 

Humble as always.  Can you share at least one thing about the scene here?  People are curious man.  Do me a solid.

Well the image shows me making my approach to Last Chance.¹  A few minutes later I obliterated the place using only wit, balls, and fucking grit.  Or did I?  Maybe I ninja’d my way in.  Hell, maybe I’m a shit bag slaver myself!  Guess you’ll have to read this ass hats book if you’re curious.  Drake out!

* Drake runs off through broken door waving a middle finger at me *

I’m really sorry about all of this you all.  Next time I’ll try to get Collins, Jim, or Preacher to help me out.  Drake’s kind of a wildcard.  I guess you learned a little though, hopefully.

We’ll see what my broken brain comes up with next week.  Until then, keep hiding, keep hoarding, and as always – stay alive.

¹ Fun Fact!  The Last Chance slaver fortress is modeled after the Moundsville Penitentiary.  In fact, the story occurs in this region of the United States.  

For giggles and evaluation purposes…here’s a poll if you are bored.   

 

Copyright Info (final)

Deadly Flowers & Cover Art

homo sapienHomo sapiens adhere to the adage, “You taste with your eyes first.”  It probably wasn’t always so.  I like to imagine there was some trial and error involved.  The kind of trial and error that left bodies in its wake.

Imagine Homo habilis in his natural environment two million years ago.  Two of these majestic half-man/half-ape bipedals prance along the countryside, frolic as they dodge danger, and gather delicious snacks to fill their bellies.  One of our hairy predecessors picks a flower and looks at it – it’s beautiful.  He throws it into his mouth and chews.

His friend sees this and his sloped forehead wrinkles.  He says, “Ugh oog errgl aggg uc chocow bop?”

flower.jpgFor those of you rusty in this forgotten form of communication, this roughly translates into, “Is that safe to eat dear friend?”

Chewing, the questioned man-ape looks over at his concerned companion and shrugs.  A tickle springs up in his throat, his windpipe closes, and he falls over dead.

The survivor looks down at his fallen friend and makes an important realization.  I went ahead and translated it ahead of time.

He thinks, “I saw Krul eat pretty flower. Krul choked and died.  Pretty flower not pretty.  Pretty flower bad.  I crush bad flower.”

We’ve come a long way since then.  At least we like to think we have.  Even though a couple million years separate us from Krul and his unnamed friend, we share a lot in common.

reading ouside.jpgFor us writers and bookworms, the countrysides we frolic in are bookstores – both real and cyber.  The pretty flowers have been replaced by cover art.  Those all-important artistic creations are our first impressions.

While there is still potential we pick a pretty flower and it kills us after eat it, we often decide to taste based on what we see.  Unless our prior knowledge of the flower overrides our survival instinct (i.e. we like the flowers creator, we enjoy flowers of this genus, a friend ate the flower and didn’t die).

So what makes for a pretty flower?  This is a hard one for me, and something I’ve been spending a ton of time thinking about and researching.  As I’m wrapping up my first book, Wastelander, and getting ready to start the companion novella, my eyes are already drifting to the horizon.  I’m thinking about re-writes, editing, more editing, cover art, illustrations, and type setting.

The Road.jpgIn regards to cover art, what is important?  Do you focus on a particular scene from the book?  Do you take the main character and make them the central component?  Do you go with abstraction, surrealism, minimalism, or some other technique?

Take The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, for example.  It’s a far cry from most of the post-apocalyptic genre covers you will see.  With that being said, there is a subtle beauty in the simplicity of it.  Most importantly, in my view, there is a whole story in the image.

Much like studying great writing makes you a better writer, studying a wealth of cover art is a good place to start generating ideas.  Here are some places I’ve been visiting to study the the pretty flowers.  I haven’t eaten one yet that’s killed me.  But a few have left a bitter taste in my mouth.

From ShortList is this article, The 50 Coolest Book Covers.

Here’s one from Flavorwire, The 20 Most Iconic Book Covers Ever.

A glimpse at more recent covers comes from The Casual Optimist, 50 Memorable Cover from the Last Four Years.

Gloria Hanlon (a fellow WordPress Wizard) wrote the post, Book Cover Design Tools and Inspirationthe same day I wrote this article.  In it, she offers some amazing insights and tools.  One example she provides looks at 9,999 pieces of cover art and examines how even the color of the cover could have some subconscious impact on the reader.  It’s a very interesting read.

email waiting.jpgI‘m still playing email tag with a couple artists for my cover.  I already have a concept in mind, but the more I research cover artwork, the less confident I feel.

Also, there are some issues with explaining the requirements (size dimensions, dots per inch for print, pixels per inch for digital, the list continues) to an artist that doesn’t specialize in creating cover art.  But hey, that’s a topic for another day.

What pretty flowers appeal to you?  What is about them you enjoy?  Are your desires based more on context or feeling?  I’m very curious, and honestly, a bit in the weeds.  That’s it for today.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

Copyright Info (final)

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