Monster Needs A Face
Shadows dance on the ancient stone walls of the castle with each flash of lightning. Torrents of rain soak the scientist’s ancestral home, seeking to wash it away before the evil within its womb tastes life. Struggling against the storm, yet drawing upon its power, equipment created from the mind of a madman hums. Blue electricity climbs and descends Jacob’s Ladder, building power then regulating its release into insulated copper wire. Charged chemicals flow hesitantly into rubberized veins. There is a clap of thunder—a final, desperate, attempt by the storm gods to halt the scientist’s progress. Power surges and everything goes dark. The faint bursting of multi-colored bubbles is the only sound. In the silence, a man waits and listens…hoping, but not praying. He knows prayers for this endeavor would never be answered. God would not bless the creation of a monster.
A sound is the scientist’s reward for his patience. Its faintness causes him to question his own imagination. He strains to hear the sound repeated. A second, then a third—laborious, at first—until a steady tune begins to play. It is the beating of a stolen, once-dead human heart.
Shouting for his assistant to begin lighting lamps, the scientist navigates the darkened laboratory effortlessly. The wicks of more and more lamps ignite, filling the large room with the faint scent of whale oil. A massive, linen-covered shape, the source of the beating heart, rests on the operating table before the scientist. With tender caution, he lowers his ear near the creature’s head. Lungs begin to pump air in and out of the thing’s chest, causing a low moan to cross its lips. Taking a deep breath of his own, the scientist slowly pulls the sheet from the creature’s head to reveal…
Even though the mood is set, and the scientist, his assistant, and his unholy creation have been introduced, it is an incomplete scene. The monster still needs a face, preferably one that is disfigured and frightful, allowing the reader to gasp and recoil from. It needs to be memorable.
In an earlier post, I mentioned a project with a fast-approaching deadline. The writing phase of the project has come and gone (with a few minor setbacks) and editing has begun. As we read and correct and read again, we have also begun discussing a cover for the book. We are deciding on a face for our monster. I am fortunate enough to have a writing partner who has many of the same ideas I do. We debated on whether to show a few of the characters from the different stories in an action pose, or go with something a bit more flair. As of now, we seem to have settled on something that is a combination of the two.
When you are in control of your book from start to finish, designing the cover can be both a joy and a curse. The key is to make it memorable.
Just thought I would jot this down.