One of the challenges that confront all writers is how to bring about a fundamental change in a character. As very many writers will know, at times a character takes on a life of their own; that the presence of an agent in a story can become so robust that it is hard to get them to cooperate with the inevitable twist and turns the writer’s imagination weaves in the telling of a tale.
The title writing about evil is somewhat misleading because I’m not sure that it can be achieved, at least not directly, in a meaningful way. I’m not even sure it exists as a category that is separate from any other description of the things we do as human beings. Cruelty is everywhere, either through neglect, disregard or intentionally as a source of dubious pleasure. And we might not be alone, it has been said that chimpanzees occasionally enjoy killing and maiming in the way that some people apparently do. Violence can become intoxicating, either as a participant or to watch. We can kid ourselves that boxing or cage fighting is a supreme form of athleticism, but if no one got hurt, it wouldn’t be the same.
Although as writers we spin tales with words, we still rely to some extent on the power of images. Not least in the case of book covers, but also with illustrated books, children’s nursery rhymes, poetry and graphic novels. Matching words and images produces a powerful medium, and I suspect many writers would relish the idea of working closely with a artist on such a project. It might not be suitable for all literary work, but anything that conjures powerful visual images within the imagination would gain a lot from an illustrated edition. It would be great to be able to afford to have both Sangian and Spaceship over Vancouver illustrated.
Have you ever noticed how some people can never do anything wrong, while others don’t ever seem to put a foot right? You can see examples on any social media group, forum and in life outside the internet. For some reason one person can write a very ordinary book, or post a very average painting or photograph and get dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of accolades, while another can produce distinguished work and get ignored. It seems strange, but this trend can be seen everywhere, and mostly it relates to what is known as the “halo effect”, and its opposite, the “devil effect”.
As soon as you get into book publishing, whether with a major corporation, a small independent company or self-publishing, you will learn about the importance of book cover art. Writers like words, but almost everyone you talk to, each blog you read, and any guides to writing and publishing you come across, they will all tell you that the world does, after all, judge a book by its cover. And so, at some point you are going to have to start thinking about how you can attract readers even before they’ve opened a single page of your book.