I was asked a question this week about whether putting the year in a timeline was a good idea. And at the time I was asked that question, I happened to be critiquing a book that did just that. The coincidence reminded me of the forum page, and I thought this might be a good subject for some discussion. The experts recommend that we don't date our stories. That we leave them more timeless. We want the reader to feel as though our story could be taking place right then (at the time their are reading it), whether they are reading it today or twenty years from now, allowing them to feel more a part of the story, almost as if they could step right inside. But if you think about it, with the way the world is changing so rapidly, I'm pretty sure that if you are writing contemporary anything , something in your story will give away the basic timeframe in which it was written. That all said, in many cases, the year could, and probably is, playing a significant role in your story if you've chosen to stick it in there. I think it depends largely on your genre and your particular story. For instance, if you're writing historical-fiction, fantasy, or sci-fi, adding the year can actually help to make the unreal feel more realistic. So, how do you decide what's the better choice for your story? And what do you think?
My first novel was a WIP for almost a decade. What was most surprising to me was how hard it was to make the cover! I am a professional photographer, and a fairly decent graphic designer, so I thought "the cover, piece of cake!" I posted it onto a group on Facebook and they tore it to shreds! It was merciless! Everything from someone insisting I had to change the title of my book, to a mock up using my whole name despite that fact the image of my cover clearly showed I have a pen name. That was when I realized I needed professional help. Choosing a cover artist was not easy. It's like finding an editor. Weeks I searched, but it was when I met Jake, and he said, "Your cover is like a handshake to your readers." I knew he was the one. His attitude toward me, his potential client, along with his portfolio and wait list being 6 months out made it clear, he was not just good but great. Surprisingly he squeezed me in for typography. After that I reposted to the same two groups and it was like they had never seen it before. Praise galore! The funny thing was that even though I had the exact same artwork, the only difference being Jake's typography and placement. What I realized was that to some degree professional help like editing and formatting was as important outside the book as it was inside. PS. If my grammar sucks, it's because I didn't have Gina look this over first. Sorry!
I have got to give a big shout out to author S. Behr (a/k/a Stephanie) who recently got word from Kirkus Reviews Magazine that the review for her debut novel, Power Divided, Book One of The Evolutionaires series will be featured in their February 15th Issue. A honor that less than 10% of their indie reviews earn! How's that for a killer debut? Stephanie, if you're listening, I would love it if you would post your Kirkus review here to give us all something to strive for and to relish. But in all seriousness, congratulations and well done! I knew Power Divided was a jewel by the time I finished the first chapter, and to see you get that recognition gives my heart a special thrill. You go, Girl!