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The Battle for WondLa: First Draft Completed

June 3, 2013

Fellow Orbonians, the first draft of The Battle for WondLa is completed and with my editor. While he reads it over (along with my beta-readers), I am beginning to design the third and final cover.


But first, some “First Draft Fun Facts”:

The Search for WondLa: 221 manuscript pages, 51,000 words

A Hero for WondLa: 237 manuscript pages, 61,000 words

The Battle for WondLa: 230 manuscript pages, 59,000 words

The first two books took about 6 months to write (with interruptions). I did this one in about 4. Final word count for the first two books is right around 70k words, so there will likely be a bit more added in the 2nd and 3rd drafts (usually its clarification of things and more description).

Now, the cover.


These covers have been somewhat tricky for me. My main goal in the image is to present an intriguing world with compelling characters – all without trying to give too much of the plot away. The design went through an overhaul during the first book’s transition from hardcover to paperback (which you can read about here). The second book had a large-scale scene also intent on enticing new readers.


Now we come to the final chapter in Eva Nine’s ascension to a true heroine and so I want to depict her teetering on the edge of two worlds: that of a passive character versus a character of action. Or it is the transition of an individual naive to the world around them to one who is cognizant of their surroundings. Essentially, a symbolic image of the child-Eva becoming a young adult.

I have to start with reacquainting myself with Eva. Sure, I scribble sketches of her in scenes throughout the writing process (like the sketch above done back in January in my Moleskine journal).  However, I still need to draw her portrait to mark the transformation she is going through from book to book – like this image of Eva as she appears near the end of book three:


Then I am off to find inspiration. Émile Bayard‘s iconic image of Cosette sweeping from Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic, Les Misérables, gives me a despairing feeling that I hope to capture in this third cover.


You can see Bayard’s influence on this sketch of Eva, here.


So I continue to explore and pursue the perfect cover image: one that entices readers while accurately exhibiting the mood and tone of the story and one that satisfies my artistic vision. As I said, it is a tricky act to be sure, but one I thoroughly enjoy doing.

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.