As a writer with more than a decade of martial arts training/teaching experience, a black belt, several books on weapons & guns, a ridiculous library of Eastern and Western fight movies and a penchant for dissecting fights in every movie I see… I am here to help you figure this out. I’ll be referencing author Rayne Hall’s book Writing Fight Scenes (Writer's Craft Book 1), which I’ve found to be an excellent resource for writers looking to get more information. After you read this piece, I highly recommend you pick it up.

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Crafting Characters

One of the main things we as writers do is get our audience to invest in our story through the use of character. While a cover, blurb, concept and reader interest are all necessary concepts to get our readers interested, if said reader cannot connect or invest in our characters, then the story will not work. Conversely, if the characters are interesting or compelling enough, then readers are able to overlook story elements that they might not like.

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“Can you hold this for me real quick?” The stranger slides a black package in my lap before I have a chance to respond. It jostles on top of my nervous knees as I hear it start to tick.

What are you feeling right now, after you’ve read that line? Think about the emotion on your mind at the moment. Chances are, you’re curious. Maybe a little nervous. After all, who wouldn’t be - in that situation. This is what opening lines are all about. They set the scene and ideally, put your reader into the story right away. But I want to set the tone of the story first, the classics never tried to start ‘in medias res’, they took their time, you might say.

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File Set Up

File set up is not the most glamorous step in designing a cover, but it certainly will be the first step. You might not think there is a lot to file set up, and you would be correct most of the time. But, one day something could come up that you didn’t expect. If you didn’t know to prepare your files properly then you could be forced to do hours more work, or even worse not be able to use your cover at all and have to restart!

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