Encouraging a Readers Imagination

The Stars Were Right

I have had a few readers email and ask me if I will ever include a map or show any character art for The Stars Were Right. It’s been asked enough times that I think my response should be explained in it’s own blog post. Funny enough my answer is a big reason why I went with a more mysterious direction with the book cover rather than stepping in line with traditional urban fantasy cover art.

In short, the answer is: no.

That’s not to say in other books in the future I won’t make a different decision, but with the universe of The Stars Were Right I have specifically chosen to not add my own artistic interpretation into the world. I want to let readers imaginations run wild and encourage them to create on their own. I am a firm believer that anyone’s imagination can be hampered when you are presented with imagery.

Take Tyrion Lannister from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. In the books he is described as “an ugly little dwarf with mismatched eyes.” Yet, you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who after watching the HBO series doesn’t picture Tyrion as the handsome Peter Dinklage. A significant departure from the written character. That representation, even innocently, has affected the imagination of many readers.

On the opposite spectrum we have the world of Night Vale. Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the creators of Night Vale, have never shown what Cecil, the host, looks like. Likewise they haven’t provided a map of the town. When asked they have remained silent. So the Night Vale fan community has ran with it, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

I like Night Vale‘s approach. I like how it encourages creation and builds it’s community. (Subsequently this is why I love fanfiction as well, but I’ll save that for another post.) I believe the Stars universe is rich and complicated, it’s full of wondrous new races and strange cultures in what is a pretty spectacular setting. What I described is exactly what I wanted to be told in that first book. If I’m doing my job right the pictures swimming about in my head will have been communicated effectively in my prose.

The imagination is powerful and when it comes to The Stars Were Right I don’t want to get in the way of that. Instead I try and encourage fan art as much as possible. I find it both flattering and humbling when I see how readers interpret my characters, what they think the races of the territories look like, and how they picture Lovat’s nine levels. I occasionally call attention to fan art submitted to me. You can check out my collection of The Stars Were Right fanart over on Pinterest or you can check out one of the links below:

Have your own fan art? I’d love to see it: send me an email or contact me on twitter.

(Oh, and I’m doing a secret giveaway for a few more signed copies of The Stars Were Right. You can sign up here. Tell your friends, but make sure they know this is a secret.  Shhh!)

Friday Link Pack

Friday Link Pack
It’s Friday so I figured why not take the time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. (I will fully admit I am stealing this idea from Swiss Miss.) Some of these I mention on twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do!

Writing:

Baiting Your Characters
Setsu Uzume shares a handy tips to flesh out and fully understand your secondary and minor characters. (Would work on main characters as well.)

The Hidden Key to Creativity
Lauren Sapala writes a quick article about how to get out of your head and refresh yourself creatively. For me it’s reading, designing, and hiking, what works for you?

50 writing errors that make you look like an amateur
Charlie White compiles a list of things authors need to look out for in their writing. It’s good stuff. He has another list of 25 more errors here.

Art:

Peter Bellerby – The Globemaker
Great short about Peter Bellerby an artisan globemaker in London. It’s really well produced and shows the outcome of dedication and hard work.

The Monsters of Ray Frenden
My buddy, illustrator and and Harley Davidson spokesman, Ray Frenden was featured on Juxtapoz’ blog. Go check his work out, and give him a follow on the Twitters.

Random:

Welcome to Night Vale Podcast
I will probably do a Reading—er…Listening Recommendation for “Welcome to Night Vale” in the future. However in the meantime go subscribe (it’s free) and immerse yourself in the new weird world that is Night Vale and join me in hating on Desert Bluffs.

USGS Animal Congregations Terms
What do you call a group of fox? How about magpies? Okay smarty pants what about herring? If you don’t know the answers click the link and see the USGS’s list of animal congregation terms.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Rats in the Walls
Do yourself a favor if you have never read this: go in blind.

Farewell Gif(s) of the Week:

Have a good weekend everyone! I’ll leave you with a couple of animated gifs for your enjoyment. I absolutely love the old guy:
dance1 dance2

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