Wednesday, July 29, 2015

JUMP-START YOUR STORY WITH AN ART FACT SHEET


Starting your story with an art fact sheet?
Isn’t an art fact sheet something your editor asks you to complete once you’ve submitted the manuscript and it’s been approved? That’s the norm for authors writing for Love Inspired Books anyway.
Love Inspired authors are fortunate to have an opportunity to provide input on covers. Not that all our ideas are used, but we do get to provide insights into the story for the cover artist. LI actually has a database for this purpose that an author completes!
So how can doing an unofficial art fact sheet (known as an AFS) as you’re beginning to formulate a new story help solidify your plot, characters and scenes?
The Love Inspired AFS database will ask you to provide:
A 30-word “teaser” that will hook the reader. You know, something simple like “Drawn to a spunky woman ten years his junior, can a guilt-ridden widower overcome his fears and trust God for a second chance at love?”
A two-line pitch. This forms the introduction to a story synopsis. A 500-word synopsis. 3-5 paragraphs focusing on the conflict and its resolution, not the backstory.
Precise dates for historicals.
Story location. Seaside resort? Montana ranch? Military base? Mountain country Arizona?
Season or holiday. Autumn. Christmas. Valentine’s Day. Fourth of July. The artist may want to play up these seasons or special events.
Story themes. Friends to lovers, second chance at love, military rescue, mail order bride, marriage of convenience, woman in jeopardy, save the ranch.
What the book is about (beyond plot description). In other words, the story’s moral premise. The takeaway.
The most appealing points/elements for the reader. For instance: opposites attract, Southwestern Christmas, guide dogs, May/December romance, wagon train, a wedding, Texas cowboy.
Interesting visual elements. Objects or places that have great significance in the book, such as: An heirloom necklace. A Model T. Pottery the heroine designs. Snow-covered mountains.
Story scene details. The mood, time of day, season, weather, situation/location that would make an eye-catching cover.
Hero and Heroine details. Age, occupation, hair style/color, eye color, race/ethnicity, marital status. Love Inspired also asks for a single defining trait for each character (guilt-ridden, dreamer, headstrong, impulsive, dependable, burned out), as well as a single character type/theme (former bad boy, fugitive, mountain man, tomboy, working mother, undercover cop). These concise portrayals force you to dig out the core essence of your hero and heroine.
You’ll also be asked to provide photo images or links to images of your hero/heroine, children, pets, settings, clothing and images representing action in a scene. Currently, Love Inspired requests ideas/images for three cover options–-two with people and one with scenery only.
I always find photos of people who resemble the hero and heroine I have in mind for my story and place them in a “Wanted Poster” next to my desk to keep their faces fresh in my mind as I write. (But more on THAT in my next Seekerville post!)
Can you see how an Art Fact Sheet might serve as a magnet for drawing ideas and getting the creative juices flowing when brainstorming a new story?
Because you’re not submitting the AFS at this pre-writing point, when things change as you actually write the story, you can modify the AFS. An extra added “beauty” of using AFS basics to help you establish the core of your story is that if your publisher is one who asks for input on cover ideas, there’s no frantic, last-minute scramble. You already have a draft ready to polish and submit.
Plotters, pantsers, and plansters: What advantages/disadvantages do you see in using the elements of a basic art fact sheet to dream up that next book? What other “devices” do you use to nail down the essence of your story and characters as you prepare to launch into a new fictional world?
To celebrate a win in the short contemporary category of the 2015 RWA Faith, Hope & Love “Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award” contest, I’ll do a drawing for a copy of award-winning Pine Country Cowboy and High Country Holiday. If you’re interested in being included, please note which book (or both!) in the comments section.
Glynna
GLYNNA KAYE treasures memories of growing up in small Midwestern towns--and vacations spent with the Texan side of the family. She traces her love of storytelling to the times a houseful of great-aunts and great-uncles gathered with her grandma to share candid, heartwarming, poignant and often humorous tales of their youth and young adulthood.
A Future to Build On - All widower Luke Hunter wants is to raise his three kids—and be left alone. When Delaney Marks arrives in town to oversee the youth group's house renovation project, Luke decides he must come out of hiding. He's worried she's too young to get the job done. He'll have to keep a close watch on her—and on his heart. Because being with the vibrant girl makes it easy to forget their age difference and to start hoping for a future he doesn't deserve. As tensions rise over project pressures, Delaney tries to make Luke see that some things are just out of his control—and that he is worthy of happiness...with her. (Release: October 2015)

100 comments:

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning GLYNNA, What a great idea to start out with the art fact sheet. This would save a lot of work at the end if you already had your photos collected and could look at them while writing.

This post is a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing all that info.

SUPER CONGRATS on the double win. I am so not surprised. Your writing is wonderful.

Have a good day.

Mary Cline said...

Thank you so much Glynna. This very well might give me the spark I need.

Tina Radcliffe said...

You are spot on with this, Glynna. I find my best covers come from really soaking in those Art Fact Sheets as I write.

What a concept, lol. Instead of hurriedly putting them together when the book is done.

Terrific cover for your new release!!!

And congratulations on your IRCS win!!!

Cindy W. said...

What a great post Glynna. It just shows there is a lot more to writing and getting published then just writing. I've always been one to want to be prepared a head so I don't have to struggle later on. Be proactive instead of reactive. :)

I would love to be in the drawing for your book High Country Holiday. Thank you for the chance to win.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Glynna, congratulations again on the double final and the win in the Faith, Hope and Love contest! Wonderful!

This is such good advice, and probably one of the reasons your books are so crystal clear...

You have a clear path in mind when you start. (HUSH, VINCE!!!!!!)

What a great and wonderful idea to use the AFS as a reference guide. Thank you!

COFFEE IS HERE!!!!!

Mary Preston said...

I can see how invaluable this would be.

Count me in for Pine Country Cowboy and/or High Country Holiday thank you.

Jackie said...

Good morning, Glynna! Congratulations on your win!

I'm not published yet, but I think these points could also be used in my one sheet for ACFW conference. What do you think?

I'm not sure if I'm mentioned this on Seekerville, but I have 'secret' Pinterest pages as I plot my stories. I have pictures of my heroine, hero, her home, her dog, and whatever else is important to the story that I've researched and don't want to forget.

Thanks so much for sharing. Your book cover is beautiful!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, what a great idea!!!! I love the thought of SECRET PAGES!!!!!

Glynna Kaye said...

Thank you, Sandra! The double finaling in IRCA was shocking enough as I know the competition in that short contemporary category is intense, but a 1st/2nd place win was a REAL shocker. I had to listen to the phone message several times as I was sure I wasn't hearing correctly. LOL. I'm thankful that readers enjoyed the books. As a writer, sometimes it's nice to receive that reinforcement, to know if you're meeting expectations.

Glynna Kaye said...

MARY -- I hope that "spark" flames into a full-blown book for you!

Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks for the congrats, Tina! :) I've found it really does help when I'm writing to have a few pics of hero/heroine nearby to keep their faces / personality fresh in my mind and be thinking about scenes visually as I write them -- to give some thought, especially, to that "the most appealing points/elements for the reader" question. Sort of think along Vince's "rewards per page" concept.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, CINDY W! Yep, when the book's submitted there's still a bunch more to do -- in addition to completing an art fact sheet and digging up all those photos to illustrate it, 99% of the time they want you to submit alternate titles -- so I've started thinking about those as I write, too, so I'm not scrambling at the last minute. And for Love Inspired there's a reader letter to write, although the 12-15 story-related questions that we used to write are now a thing of the past. A lot of people thought the publisher wrote those, but it was the author.

Rose said...

Glynna,

Great post! Harlequin's art fact sheet does indeed layout the bones of a book so why not use it to plot the next one!

I really enjoy filling out the art fact sheets. None of my book covers were exactly how I described a scene, but they were very close and never disappointed.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, RUTHY -- and thank you for the congrats!

I learned from the school of hard knocks that being a pantser didn't work for me although that's the way I'd always written (And I didn't finish much despite all my efforts.) Being "forced" to write a synopsis for each Love Inspired book proposal -- which sometimes makes me pull my hair out -- has actually turned out to be a blessing. And coming up with the 'bones' of an AFS helps, too.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, MARY P! I hope the AFS method helps! I think giving thought to some of these elements when developing a story idea would help all writer types -- pantsers, plotters and plansters.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, JACKIE! Thank you for the congratulations! I probably won't believe it until I have the award certificates in my hands. :)

That's a good idea about the one-sheet. I bet you could adapt some of these ideas to strengthen it.

And the "secret" Pinterest page sounds perfect for keeping visuals close by as you write the story. A number of years ago I remember it was popular to do physical collages of story ideas -- this seems like an even better idea!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, ROSE! I think HQ does a great job of incorporating some of our ideas for covers. I've only had one disappointing one a number of years ago -- when my big, brawny, bearded ex-army sergeant showed up without a trace of facial hair and an adolescent build. I had readers write me to complain about that one -- they called the cover guy a wimp. LOL

Mary Hicks said...

Wonderful post—Glynna, I'm keeping this one!! The AFS sheet sounds like a Scrivener file. :-))

I also keep secret pages in Pinterest—everything I want to have quick access to but not bore everyone else to death!

Cindy Regnier said...

Your book cover is beautiful I have never heard of an art fact sheet. I think I keep one of these informally just to keep things straight, but never knew what it was called. Congratulations Glynna! So excited to hear names I know (especially Seekers) winning well deserved recognition.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, MARY H! Ah, another "secret" Pinterest user! I'd love to try out Scrivener--probably should take a class on-line or at a conference just to see if it's anything I'd really use. I've heard so many good things about it.

Caryl Kane said...

CONGRATULATIONS, GLYNNA!

Janet Dean said...

Glynna, thank you, thank you!! I hadn't thought of using the AFS to plot my stories, but it's a terrific idea. I'm going to give it a try.

Love your covers! And your stories!

Double congrats on your double IRCA win!!! Was such fun to be at the FH&L meeting and applaud you!

Janet

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning CINDY! Thank you for the congratulations! Exciting times. I'm still happy dancing over Debby's Daphne win!

And I'm happy you like the cover to my next book--I actually have it set up on my computer 'desk top' so I see it every time I log on. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, CARYL! Thank you for the congrats! It's such an honor to final/win in the IRCA.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, JANET! I'm so glad you like my stories & covers. :) And thank you for the congrats! It was neat to find out that even though I couldn't be in NYC for the award, I had Seekers and my agent there to cheer for me!

Pam Hillman said...

Good morning Seekerville! :)

My problem with a character sheet or fact sheet is that I feel like I HAVE to answer every question and get it right the first time. Is he 6'1"? Is his hair brown or black? Eyes? Blue? Green? How many siblings does he have? Where does he fall in the birth order?

Someone gave me a character chart once that asked all these questions and MORE. Lots more. Drove my perfectionist school-girl-answer-every-question-or-else self batty.

So, like others mentioned, I use Pinterest to post characters, but then when I actually start a new wip, I use Scrivener to add little bits of the hero and heroine as it's revealed to me. And once I find the right photo for the hero and heroine, it helps a lot. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, PAM! I gave up those lengthy character sheets a long time ago. Before I got published I tried them all, detailing down to what brand of cereal my hero or heroine had for breakfast. Those served a purpose for me at the time--to make me see that I had to think of my characters in multi-dimensions. But no more, unless I'm REALLY REALLY struggling to define my character. Which is why I really like this one-word description stuff the HQ art fact sheet requests. Saying my hero is a "disillusioned loner" fires up my imagination more than knowing what color his socks are (unless, of course, that's important to the story!).

Sounds again, as if I need to check out Scrivener!

And isn't it funny how finding the "right" picture for your characters helps? It's really weird sometimes as I might go through dozens and dozens and dozens of photos on-line and ones I've clipped out of magazines trying to find him or her. It's nope, nope, nope, nope -- then SUDDENLY I "recognize" them and that photo very, very seldom changes during the writing of the book.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Good morning, Glynna.

I'm as yet unpublished, but I think using the art fact sheet to help plot is a wonderful idea, especially since I'm seeking publication with Love Inspired Suspense.

When I write, the first thing I do is find a picture of my hero and heroine. Then I brainstorm character traits. Like Jackie, I have a couple of secret boards on Pintrest where I post pictures of people and places from the story. But having never published, I didn't have a clue what else was on the art fact sheet. Thanks for the info. I'll definitely be using the questions to plot my next story.

Congrats on the double IRCA win!

Vince said...

Hi Glynna:

Great ideas on doing the cover first! You really covered the waterfront! This information goes along well with my advice 'to build the marketing into your story' before you write the first word.

This is a little like merchandising an advertisement for a grocery store. You want to include the most attractive items at your best prices in the right categories to make the strongest pulling ad you can. If you leave out important categories, like meat, you could lose those customers to stores that included those items in their ads that weekend.

Merchandising an advertisement is a high art. With the same size ad for the same store with the same workforce, one merchandiser's item selection for the ad might produce a $10,000 sales day while an experienced merchandiser, who is marketing savvy, can produce a $40,000 on the same day.

Your cover is like that newspaper ad. Consider what features are in your story that will attract readers -- because readers like these things in a story. Get these items on your cover. What if you don't have these 'marketing vitamins' in you story? Then put some in your story before you write it.

Even pantsers can do this 'merchandising' at the start of their stories. When and how these items are added to the story can be totally up to the writer. No plot needed. Just a checklist. Pantser away with marketing's blessings!

Find out what readers like in the type of story your are writing. Find out what they like in general in all romances as well.

Go to a book store with a big romance section that has the covers facing outwards. Stand back so you can see all the books at one time. Then look for common elements that stand out. Pay attention to the best selling authors. They probably are putting the things readers love to read in a book by instinct. These things may well appear on the cover art.

Notice how many lake and seaside scenes there are. Look for kids and pets. Look for lighthouses and sail boats. Look for famous locations, popular activities, interesting occupations and holiday events. For me, pets and kids, on the seashore with a light house and sailboats in the background, and maybe a sea plane -- and I'm ready to love it, buy it. Do this at least four times a year to take in all four seasons. Holiday covers need 'vitamins' as well.

I would have loved to have done a dual cover test on Tina's "Safe in the Fireman's Arms". One cover with the heroine without glasses and one with glasses and recorded the sales of each to see which sold best. Notice the fireman in full regalia? And an adorable kitten? Priceless. (This is how a marketing person thinks!)

Build the marketing into your story before you write the first word and make heroes out of the advertising department!

Vince

P.S. Glynna, your covers sold me at once on the location and the lifestyle of living in Canyon Springs. The covers have never let me go as a reader, either! Your voice makes me feel welcome and at home. "Dreaming of Home","At Home in His Heart" and "A Canyon Spring Courtship" all have cover art scenes you just want to jump into and become a part of. And that little kid with the dog just must have brought tears to Ruth's eyes. : ) I think that cover sold the entire series!

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Did you watch the Yankee game last night? After the way the Yankees beat Texas the night before they decided to play football instead. The Yankees still beat them 3 touchdowns to a safety and a field goal. When you're hot, you're hot!

Deanna Stevens said...

Great covers! A fact sheet sounds like a very useful thing..
please toss me into the drawing for a copy of award-winning Pine Country Cowboy or High Country Holiday :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, RHONDA! Yes, all the Love Inspired books (and in fact, all series HQ books) use this art fact sheet database (it actually has lengthy drop-down options for quite a few of the fields), so that's something that when your novel is published with the LI Suspense line this is something you'll have to do.

It sounds as if those of you using Pinterest have found a perfect venue to gather your story photos!

Sandy Smith said...

Any kind of fact sheet is necessary when beginning a book. The art fact sheet sounds like it could be especially helpful. Please enter me in the drawing for either book.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, VINCE! LOVE the merchandising/marketing analogy! How you want the product and the product's packaging to take into consideration reader appeal. I think that's why it's important to read widely in the genre you're wanting to write for--read the top sellers to find out just what is it they're doing that seems to be making so many readers happy and incorporate some of those findings into your own writing.

I'm so happy you've enjoyed my Arizona mountain country books & covers! I always make a point in the AFS of mentioning that northern Arizona is woodsy and the color tones should NOT be "Crayola" primary colors.

Those are great ideas to peruse current popular book covers. Popular right now in CBA trade paperbacks is somewhat of a close-up of the hero and/or heroine, which is something that I find personally appealing, but LI doesn't much go for -- although I have noticed a few recent historicals with some like that.

What type of covers do the rest of you like best?

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, DEANNA! Try out the AFS idea, see what you think, and report back to us sometime!

The kitty dish for the drawing (or is that a Stetson I'm supposed to be using?) is very slowly filling up! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, SANDY! Your name's been thrown in the kitty dish / Stetson! :) Hope the AFS idea helps you solidify your story!

Myra Johnson said...

Great advice, Glynna! It really is a lot easier to pull together the cover art info if you've already been collecting and recording the important details during the planning and writing phases.

Like you, one of the first things I do is look for photos to represent the characters I have in mind. I keep them in a file on my computer and also in Scrivener where I can access them easily while I write. Sometimes I also collect pictures of houses, landscapes, etc., that might play a significant role in the story. And I always keep notes of whatever physical descriptions I've used in the story in case I'm accidentally tempted to change my heroine's eye color several chapters in! (Yes, this has happened!)

Congrats again on the IRCA awards! YAY GLYNNA!!!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Glynna, what a great idea to use the AFS to help brainstorm! It would be a great way to get ideas flowing. I especially love working with the themes and character trait.

Congrats again on the IRCA!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Jackie and Rhonda, thanks for the reminder about secret Pinterest boards! I've heard of doing that but had forgotten to actually go set it up. I love the idea.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, I see Mary Hicks does a secret Pinterest board as well. I must do this! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, MYRA! Yet another Scrivener user! :) Like you, I'm constantly on the lookout for potential cover ideas when I'm perusing magazines or on-line--faces, places, activities. I do a 'snipping tool' of on-line ones and drop them into an ideas Word.doc and if they're in a magazine I clip them out and drop them into a file folder--then when I'm ready to use them I take a photo of them so I can "snip" the picture and put it in my AFS.

It's amazing how those eye colors magically change, isn't it? :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks for the congrats, MISSY! I agree--the themes and character traits ARE fun!

Glynna Kaye said...

Well, I'm going to have to step out, but I'll be back later to respond to comments. In the meantime, I leave you in the capable hands of 12 other Seekers! :) Have a GREAT day!

Keli Gwyn said...

Glynna, your idea of filling out an Art Fact Sheet before writing a story is great. After I completed the AFS for my first and second LIHs, I figured out that keeping the AFS in mind as I wrote my third would be a good idea. Instead of searching for people, clothing, houses, etc. that match what I have in mind after the story is finished, which can be difficult and time consuming, I'm finding the images before I describe them in the story. I keep in mind what kinds of questions I'll be asked about the characters and story as I write. I'd thought about completing the AFS as I go along, but I like your idea of filling in as much of it as I can during the story planning stage instead. That's what I'll do for my next LIH, thanks to your great idea.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi GLYNNA, Sounds like the two of us should take a Scrivener class. I have been thinking I should for awhile, but the thought of learning a new system just intimidates me. And i usually never get intimidated. But it takes time. And that is tough to come by.

so maybe one of these days, we'll get to it. LOL

Meghan Carver said...

Glynna, you are BRILLIANT!!! I recently had the honor of completing my first AFS for LIS, and something clicked in the back of my brain about how it so neatly summarized the story and made me see themes that I hadn't noticed before. It tickled my mind, but I didn't think it through. You did. Thank you! As an aside, writing the Dear Reader letter also made me state succinctly what I thought the reader might see in the book. Wish I'd written it first. :-) (And please enter me for either or both books. Thanks.)

CatMom said...

LOVED this, Glynna - - thank you so much!
I'm always looking for different approaches as I write my stories, and this is something I've definitely never tried (but WILL!).
Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

Mary Hicks said...

Missy, recently a person ask me why I had secret boards—did I put stuff that I was ashamed of on it? :-))) I quickly explained secret boards to her! She said, "Oh, great idea!' :-)

I'm a new Scrivener user and I can't say enough good things about the program—wish I'd listened up years back. One of the best feathers for me, is being able to color code the days for each POV. I'm able to keep up with my timeline—and have my characters where they're supposed to be any given day.
It also gives you the ability to format ebooks ( print as well ) and submit them right from the program.

I should buy stock! :-)

Mary Hicks said...

Actually they asked me about secret boards . . .

Vince said...

Hi Glynna:

Some covers I loved and which sold me on the books were the Love Inspired "Lighthouse Lane" books by Irene Hannon. When I saw and read "A Father for Zach", I knew at once it would win a Carol. Irene Hannon ran very high RPP numbers -- close to Nora Roberts -- back when I was working on these statistics. Irene Hannon really knows how to reward readers.

What do you think? Do covers influence the CAROL and RITA judges? Do judges get physical copies of the books or just eBooks?

I think a great cover sets the emotion mood which helps prepare the right mindset in which to best appreciate the story. To point, after seeing the cover of "A Father for Zach" I was ready as a reader to pick up that little red pail and return it to the child and mother. Now that's a cover!!!


Vince

Julie Lessman said...

Ah, GLYNNA, what a great post!! It's sooooo fun to see what you LI guys put into an AFS because I've heard you all talk about them on the Seeker loop for years now, so this breakdown is AWESOME!!

AND very, very helpful!!

Revell actually does something pretty similar, but theirs is called a "Title Positioning Questionnaire," which deals with sooooo much more than a title. It covers most of what the AFS does, and I have found it to be invaluable as I write the story.

SUPER CONGRATS ON THE DOUBLE WIN, MY FRIEND -- YOU ARE REALLY SOMETHING!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE SAID: "I'm not sure if I'm mentioned this on Seekerville, but I have 'secret' Pinterest pages as I plot my stories. I have pictures of my heroine, hero, her home, her dog, and whatever else is important to the story that I've researched and don't want to forget."

WOW, Jackie, that is a GREAT IDEA, girlfriend, and I love the idea of it being "secret"!! I'm not too Pinterest savvy, so I do the same thing with a Word doc that. Not as fancy, but does the job. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

GLYNNA, YOU COMMENTED TO SOMEONE: "I learned from the school of hard knocks that being a pantser didn't work for me although that's the way I'd always written (And I didn't finish much despite all my efforts.) Being "forced" to write a synopsis for each Love Inspired book proposal -- which sometimes makes me pull my hair out -- has actually turned out to be a blessing. And coming up with the 'bones' of an AFS helps, too."

That's exactly what happened to me too. I was a panster on my first two books, but since each book built on the last, I found that writing a very detailed synopsis and chapter-by-chapter outline quickly became my best friend in the rest of the books, so it's a habit I've acquired that has served me well.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY HICKS!!! You're a closet Pinterester too??? Mmmm ... secret files everywhere, but I have to admit, storing anything on the Internet always worries me a wee bit ... :)

VINCE SAID: "I would have loved to have done a dual cover test on Tina's "Safe in the Fireman's Arms". One cover with the heroine without glasses and one with glasses and recorded the sales of each to see which sold best. Notice the fireman in full regalia? And an adorable kitten? Priceless. (This is how a marketing person thinks!)

LOL ... me, too, Vince! That's the first thing I noticed about Tina's cover -- the glasses on the heroine, and I was kind of surprised that I actually liked it a lot! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, that was a great story Irene wrote! I love her work.

I loved the "Pygmalion" feel of Tina's cover. What a hoot! And the hero and heroine's back-and-forth reparte dragged me head-first into the story. So fun!!!

Yesterday I was sent a sneak preview of a cover.... and last night I went into the sequel and inserted THE WEDDING SCENE FROM THE COVER so that it matches.

Oh, how fun that was! The wedding scene is after the first book, but during the second book, so having that picture in front of me (GORGEOUS!!!!) gave me everything I needed to create the wedding in Book 2!!!!

I love the Harlequin Art Department.

We should send them presents.

Myra Johnson said...

I LOVED the heroine in glasses on TINA's cover! It made her so real, so . . . perfectly, beautifully normal.

Myra Johnson said...

MARY HICKS, I also use color coding in the Scrivener binder, but I color code who's the POV character in each scene. Then I type the day/date the scene takes place in the Synopsis window on the upper right. That's also where I summarize very briefly what happened in that scene. Makes it easy to quickly look back and see what happened when!

Sarah Claucherty said...

I love your AFS idea, Glynna! And congratulations again on your recent success; I was so excited to hear about the wins you and Debby garnered!

Please don't add me to the drawing today; I've already received both these LIs from Seekerville :) I can't wait to get your October release, too! The synopsis caught my imagination right away, so I'm excited to see how the story plays out on the pages. (I'm the recipient from your late June giveaway, and I'm eagerly awaiting the day that package comes in the mail!)

Great post, Glynna! Definitely one to keep

Sarah Claucherty said...

Julie,

Secret Pinterest boards are such fun for me; I've been using them to save ideas for gifts or surprises or events coming up. I hadn't thought of using them to help create a story while I'm writing!

Myra Johnson said...

SARAH, I'm still getting the hang of Pinterest, but it's definitely a great tool for collecting research images for my stories. I pinned a lot of things about WWI and historic Hot Springs, Arkansas, when I was working on my Till We Meet Again series.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Ruthy,

Your comment about the Harlequin art department and "We should send them presents" made me chortle :)

What a creative way to figure out the wedding in the sequel! Some reader is going to notice that similarity down the road and let out tiny squeals of readerly joy ;)

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Talking about wedding scenes between books, J. A. Jance (a speaker at 2015 Desert Dreams) had a wedding coming up in her next book in a series, so for the readers who could not wait to read about the wedding, she wrote a novella with a side story mystery that ended with the wedding. So readers got a story and the wedding ahead of time while Judith was busy writing the next book. That's a whole new level of rewarding your readers!

Kathryn Barker said...

Congratulations, Glynna on your DOUBLE win!! What an honor!

Great post...I printed it out. I'm going to use it TODAY!! Finished my WIP...and while it marinates, I'll use the Art Fact Sheet to firm up any dangling issues...LOL. I like the idea of using it first...and will certainly give that a go when I start my next project. Thinking about a cover for books seems kind of difficult for me...what to include, what to leave out...and as Vince mentioned...what's good from a marketing viewpoint.

A writer friend, my mentor, introduced me to her Novel Notebook. It's a physical 3-ring binder with printed pictures of characters, descriptions of quirks and personalities of main characters and secondary peeps, pets, setting and any research information she's collected. So helpful! I, too, have tried those character questionnaires...but my characters keep revealing little secrets I didn't know about! LOL

I love Pinterest but haven't tried any Secret Boards yet.

Would love to be included in the drawing for Pine Country Cowboy and/or High Country Holiday...thanks for your generous offer.

Myra Johnson said...

KATHRYN said: "but my characters keep revealing little secrets I didn't know about!"

Oh, honey, isn't that the truth! I've never had much success with those questionnaires either. My characters are always surprising me, and usually in good ways I'd never have come up with if I'd forced myself to think everything through ahead of time.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, I love that idea! #perfect!!!!

Sarah C, that's the plan, right? Just getting that glimpse when I was in the middle of the sequel set up a whole new chapter... and it's charming.

I love sweet baby children and weddings. Little kids on the dance floor, and when they get sleepy-tired.... Awww...... :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kathryn, the Novel Notebook idea sounds delightful and old school enough that even I could handle it! LAUGHING!!!!

I will stay far, far, far away from Ms. Scrivener.

Keeping it in my head works better for me, and saves time, but I've been assured that others L-O-V-E it!

Now if it could just count my Rewards per page for me!!!!!

DebH said...

Hi Glynna
Adding my heartfelt congrats on your double wins (happy dancing for Debby as well). I think this post is wonderful and, as a visual person, I think this may help jump start me when I get bogged down trying to figure out what I'm actually attempting to write. This is so great! Thanks.

would love to have my name in the draw for either of the books. they both sound awesome.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, DebH! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Glynna, what a wonderful topic for a blog. I still remember struggling with the AFS for my first book! Didn't know what LI wanted. As it turned out, I provided the info that led to the perfect cover. In fact, the Art Dept has always responded positively to my suggestions. I've yet to be disappointed.

You mentioned the three scenes for LI stories: two with people and one still life.

For LIS, the numbers are reversed: two still life scenes and one featuring the characters.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Sarah!

Glynna, we were all cheering when your book was announced as the IRCA winner at the FHL meeting!!! So happy for you! Such a well-deserved win!

Myra Johnson said...

RUTHY, I think VINCE needs to create the "Rewards Per Page" app. Look at all the customers he'd have right here in Seekerville!

Barbara Scott said...

Glynna, congratulations on your big wins!!!!

My proposal already contains a lot of this information, but the fact sheet takes it a step further. Thanks for sharing it with us. This post is a real keeper.

Once I find my characters online, I have the pics printed at Snapfish. I'm looking at my hunky hero right now. For some reason, the guy is always easier for me to find than the heroine. Hmmmm. What does that say about me? LOL

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I think Tina would tell you I need to finish RPP first! It needs a final edit. I was going to get to it yesterday but I started reading "Lifetime Investment" again and I couldn't stop until I knew how the stock market was going to fit into the story. One of my favorite books is "The Great Crash 1929" by John Kenneth Galbraith and I had to read your day-to-day reporting of events. Wonderful. You had everything dead on just like it really happened. You did excellent research. That was a 'stand up and cheer' ending! Now I have to get back to my editing.

Vince

Julie Lessman said...

SARAH, really??? Gosh, I am sooooo behind on Pinterest, it's not even funny! Tina actually set up a page for each of the Seekers, and I know almost nothing about it. One of these days, I need to get my act together and learn about it!

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Connealy said...

I really like the art fact sheets idea, Glynna. I'm going to keep this list and use it. I think it would fill in some blanks that I sort of fill as a panster as I go along.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Myra, I haven't read Lifetime Investment yet. Now I can't wait to read it!

Maybe decades of having no money feeds my fascination with how Wall St. and funds and money management and crooks who bilk old ladies out of their Social Security works.

Money, sex and power are deadly temptations. And putting all our trust and worth in finances can be self-defeating. Myra, can't wait until my Kindle comes back home (it's on vacation in Minnesota at the moment) and I get time to read these novellas!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, Keli! Finding appropriate images "after the fact" is a hugely time-consuming endeavor. I don't think editors realize just how much time we do invest in image searches and trying to think of something that hasn't recently been done -- the old "same but different" game. So if you can spread the search out either during the writing or as you're thinking up the story, it kind of makes the "pain" more bearable rather than a last minute frantic rush. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

SANDRA -- Do they ever have Scrivener classes at Desert Dreams?

Glynna Kaye said...

WOW, MEGHAN! "Brilliant????" :) I agree, though, that doing the Reader Letter makes you focus on what the story is REALLY about. That's one thing I did like about the days when we wrote discussion questions for each book--coming up with them during the writing of the book rather than waiting to The End made me dig deep and even helped me go back and flesh out things in the story that might need clarification.

Let me know if the AFS idea works for you in your next book!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, Patti Jo! I hope the AFS idea works for you. I'm like you, I like to try different methods. Gradually, after about 10 LI's, I'm starting to find my "sweet spot" in the planning and writing of them. Debby Guisti once told me that her 10th LIS was kind of a turning point--and I'm hoping mine is, too!

Glynna Kaye said...

MARY H -- How did you learn to use Scrivener? Self-taught or did you take a class or did a friend show you how to use it?

Glynna Kaye said...

VINCE -- Yes, judges of the Rita & Carol get physical copies of the books. I'm sure the cover influences first impressions, but I trust that the judges are discerning enough to know that a fabulous cover with a so-so "inside" isn't award-winning -- and vice versa.

Irene Hannon is VERY good!

Glynna Kaye said...

Thank you for the congrats, Julie! That's interesting what Revell calls something similar to an AFS -- and great that you've already been using it to develop your fabulous stories!

I've never written a chapter-by-chapter outline. I suppose I should try that method sometime, too!

Glynna Kaye said...

That's cool, Ruthy, what you were able to incorporate the cover scene into your actual story!!!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, SARAH! I'm glad you found the post helpful, and thank you for the Congrats!

I hope it won't be TOO much longer and I'll be able to get "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" to you. Although it's an October release, I think it will actually be on the stands mid-September. I can't believe how fast this summer is going!

Chill N said...

A super list, Glynna. Thank you!

I'm intrigued by the age difference mentioned in the blurb about A Future to Build On. Guess I"ll have to wait a few months to find out more :-)

Congrats on your awards!

Nancy C

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, KATHRYN! Thank you for the congratulations! So glad you think the post may be helpful to you!

I like your friend's idea of a Novel Notebook. My October release kicks off a new series "Hearts of Hunter Ridge" and I DO have a physical binder with character photos in clear, top-loading sheets and lots of research notes & photos regarding the fictional small towns in Arizona mountain country that I write about -- 7 set in Canyon Springs and now Hunter Ridge. I like to read through it when I'm starting a new story so I'm reminded of the "flavor" of small-town life in the mountains.

Sometimes when I have a character who is "resistant" to coming to life in my mind, I find that instead of filling out those multi-page character sheets, if I start writing (not IN the story, but in a separate document) from that character's POV how THEY see their situation and view the other characters, it helps me find their voice and their true inner GMC. I've sometimes used the "interviewing technique" where I bombard a character with questions and then let my subconscious respond in the character's POV. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi DebH! Thank you so much for the congratulations. So fun to final and win on occasion! :)

I hope you find the AFS idea helpful as you dream up your next book!

Mary Curry said...

You Seekers are just determined to turn me into an organized person, aren't you????

In theory, I think this is a great idea, Glynna. Making myself do it???? Well. we'll see.

If anyone is still around, I wonder where you find your pictures of H/H. I searched Pinterest boards for my AFS, but I wonder what others do.


Congrats on the awards, Glynna.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, DEBBY! That's interesting that LIS has two "still life" and one people and LI is just the opposite. A number of years ago, LI contemporary authors actually did have to provide ideas for a true "still life" -- you know, where the cover was basically close ups of physical items -- maybe flowers or some other object significant to the story. (Ask Ruthy about the vegetables...)

Those of you who write for LIH -- what do the historicals require?

So fun that Seekers & Natasha were there for the award at RWA to cheer me on -- and that they swore all of you to secrecy until they could contact me! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Thank you, BARBARA! That's funny that the hero image is easier to find than the heroine.

I like the idea of printing the photos out in Snapfish so you get a good quality pic. Such a hardship, though, don't you think, to have to look at the hunky hero throughout the writing of the whole book??? :)

Glynna Kaye said...

MYRA -- I loved Tina's heroine in glasses, too. They gave her such a sweet vulnerability and I think readers would identify with her.

Glynna Kaye said...

Mary -- I hope the AFS idea helps! Do you get to provide cover input with your publisher?

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, NANCY! Thanks so much for the congrats!

Give the AFS idea a shot and let me know if it helps the next time you're starting or refining your story!

As fast as the summer is going, we'll blink and "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" will be on the stands! I still haven't gotten over the thrill of going into Walmart, Barnes & Noble or a grocery or drug store and seeing MY books or books of Seekers or Seeker Villagers on shelf! I mean, I've dreamed of that FOREVER and now that it's happened, it still doesn't seem real!

Glynna Kaye said...

Thank you for the congratulations, MARY C! You're having to do AFS's now, too -- what part of them do you find hardest?

I find my hero/heroine pics all over the place. Magazines. Advertisements. Catalogs. At some of the photo 'stock' websites online, too. I once went looking for a mountain man type of guy and spotted him in a hunting magazine online! If I find one in a hardcopy version, I just snap a picture, upload it to my computer, then use the "snip" tool in Microsoft to clip it and put it in my Art Fact Sheet images.

Heidi Robbins said...

Great advice! I love when I can visualize characters and the story when I am reading a book- this looks like a great method for helping authors achieve that :) Please enter me to win either of your books! Thanks!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, HEIDI! It definitely helps me to find words & pics to firmly nail down how my hero/heroine look and what their core character/personality is like as I get started. I find that working between the writing of the synopsis and the writing of the 3-chapters required for the proposal strengthens both. It takes those 3 chapters for me to really solidify who my characters are in my mind.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

GREAT info here, Glynna.
I'm about to this point where I need to have all the info in one place.
Looks like now's the time to get-er-done.
As usual, Seekerville to the rescue!

Karen Hadley said...

Thank you for your articles. I don't write but I enjoy seeing what the authors do when publishing a book. I'm just a book lover. I would pick High Country Christmas.

Betti said...

I would enjoy either of the books, I'm sure :)
It is very interesting to read about what goes into the books I so enjoy. Thanks for sharing.