Last year, when I signed up on NaNoWriMo.com for the first time, the site encouraged me to upload a cover. The idea was that “coming up with a cover can also help you finalize your idea a little more.” Fair enough.
At the time I had a decent idea of what my story was going to be and no graphic design skills or programs, so I bopped around on Google for a bit with phrases like “dark forrest,” because one of the central locations of the story is a magic forrest where anyone who goes in tends not to come back out again.
My focus then was on the forrest because the main character’s father was last seen walking into it before he disappeared when she was thirteen, and the end of the story takes place there as well. To be honest, I have more of the backstory for the forrest worked out than I do the rest of this world, so naturally I thought it should occupy a prominent place on the cover.
Of course, when I wrote the first draft that I never quite finished, I barely even got them into the forrest. I never wrote the final scenes because there was so much I had to go and figure out before I could wrap it all up. So how important is the forrest, really?
It’s still pretty important. But it’s not the ominous, forbidding thing hovering in the back of all the main characters minds that the picture implies.
This year, I still don’t have any graphic design experience or programs, but after being in that camp professionally for the past three years I’ve learned to (sorry graphic designers…) make do with PowerPoint.
I didn’t really have anything specific in mind, but I like how it turned out.