Sunday, August 6, 2017

Homegrown Teaser: Reader Insight to a Story

As I sit down to write this, I realize this may be a very weird journey for me to get from the start of my point to the actual point in the title of this week's blog post. However, since you all follow me, I am secretly hoping that you also can follow along my thoughts. 

Not sure how this is going to work. But, let's try shall we. 

First, some may know that I have whole other world I interact with: Graphic Novels.  How I got immersed in this world and what I do in that world would be a complete five part blog series as my life has been there longer than here in romance world.  The appeal of graphic novels is different than the romance story for me.  First, I see graphic novels as an art form. Something that I share with select friends and my family that has created a much larger but closely guarded circle. Now the reason I bring this up is the big difference between the two worlds.  With graphic storylines, it's the art, not the words, that bring the story together. To illustrate my point is one of my favorite one panel stories from Sinfest:

There are a few words and the art speaks the story. With romance novels, it's the words that are presented that have importance. So, then starts the war of the 'teaser' in my head with romance novels.

Maybe I'm the outlier. I have an overactive imagination. When I am images of the hero or heroine are presented as representative of the story, my brain sometimes balks. Remember for romance, it's the words that conjure the image not a book cover or teaser campaign.  So that makes me a fan of the subtle teaser.  Give me soft lighting, blurred, backgrounds, incomplete or no images. Allow me to 'fill in the blanks' and my overactive imagination is happy. See, I bring my own experiences, hear a different version of the song, or maybe the hero's hair color is a bit more honey than chestnut in my mind. This could also be why I'm never happy with book to movie translations. Again another blog post.  

This is what makes me seek out the 'homegrown teaser'. 

What is a homegrown teaser and why do I like them if want the words to drive the images I visualize as I read? Reader created teasers give me insight visually to what another reader saw, felt and touched by a story.  It can be a simple as a quote from the book on a plain background to an elaborate artistic rendition of what they 'saw'.  It's a visual review from another reader. We may see it differently and I can relish in those differences. These homegrown teasers give me impact on how this reader experienced the story rather than someone telling me how I should experience it.  

So, for shits and giggles, I thought I'd go through the process by walking you through one of my own homegrown that I created. Coolio... But first, a side story.  I hear you groaning, just give me a minute.

Above statement - my wide graphic novel circle involves tattoo artists. I'm happily married to a highly sought after, very expensive sketch artist.  Not all tattoo artists can draw to scale. My best friend realizes his short coming and has my husband do transfer art. For a nominal *cough* fee, they take a picture and my husband will show how placement and size of your tattoo will look on a photo editing program.  Now, since I'm married to him, I got him to do this one time teaser work for free.  YAY ME! Back to my process:

The above teaser was made for the Wicked Horse series book by Sawyer Bennett: Wicked Bond.  There are very specific tattoos on both his stomach and back described in the stories thus enters my husband to create those representations.  Along with nauseating long discussions on greyscale. Then came the body to put the tattoos on resulting in a week long search of my Shutterstock/Adobe accounts. I mean in my mind, this wasn't a muscle bound gym rat.  He's sculpted physic would come from hard work in part time ranching. He'd be lightly bronzed because men in Wyoming just don't sunbath in my mind. Then comes the quote. There are so many layers to that quote that you will only understand by reading the story.  I layered the subtle image of the context of having sex standing because he was unconventional. Then came the font color choices.  It would have been easy to pick white or blue. But I saw the story in shades of stormy blue with the hope of yellow sunshine to cast aside the issues dealt throughout.  

That is the single snapshot of what I read and my visual review of the story. 

Granted there are some very talented readers who create teasers for their blogs that will consistently amaze me.  I love those visual reviews.  Personally, I don't do many because my graphic novel brain often is at war with romance novel words.  But sometimes I will get a sudden rush of creative energy that I see visually that spews out to social media. (See my Eight by ES Carter campaign on Instagram.)  Below are my two favorites.

Yes, so now you know. I'm addicted to finding visual reviews on stories - after I've read - to see how others see them. Keep up the creative work! I'll find you.

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