Note: this is just my opinion on writing, and while some of you may disagree, it has worked wonders for me. And "book" in the post refers to any part of my fictional writing -- it's just easier for me to think of each piece as a standalone book. Intro I always find that nothing jump starts my writing more than creating a concept of a book cover. Maybe it's because I enjoy the nature of art, or maybe its because I like putting myself in the reader's shoes and capture that first moment they experience when they see your book. A great cover can jump out at readers, feeding their first impression of your book. It sets the tone and atmosphere for the story, and is the first thing that your readers (if you're courageous enough to share!) will see. For me, a cover also narrows my focus and helps set the tone of my book. The process My process of writing is fairly predictable, at the start. When I have inspiration for an idea, I write down as much as I can about it. I try to get all my thoughts out in this initial burst -- who the characters are, what their relationships to each other are, what paths they took to get into their current situation, etc etc. The next step, however, is a bit unconventional. I start thinking of the overall feel of the book, the atmosphere I want to convey to the reader. Is it a lovey dovey romance? A mystical fantasy? Or a fast paced thriller? Once I figure that out -- the feel of the book, that is -- I go about creating a cover for it. I try to capture the feel of the book in piece of art, which then helps drive my storytelling forward. It's like a self-reinforcing cycle, in a way. For example... For example, I had this great idea for a thriller the other day. The story came to me as I was falling asleep, and I put down as much as I could on paper before dozing off. The next day, I fleshed out ideas for the story some more: who were the protagonists/antagonists, what their circumstances are, and how they're dealing with the challenges they face. At the same time, I start brainstorming and sketching ideas for a cover. This comes before I start writing the actual book. I also work on the book description at the same time, so I can feed off it when I'm actually writing. If I have the same description in front of me while I'm writing that my readers are going to see before they read the book, it puts me into their shoes again - I can make the story fit the description as much as making the description fit the story. That's it. That's my description. And I'm going to start writing from that point. But before I do that -- I need a cover! So, what do I want to convey? Well, the book is a thriller, and about a detective chasing a serial killer who's terrorizing a small community. What colors are good for depicting that? Red and black, maybe, and any darker, shadow-y shades. At the same time, I don't want to give a direct image of any of the characters on the cover -- I want to leave that to the reader's imagination. So the task in front of me is thus to create a cover that will stay true to the fell of the book, while not intruding the reader's imagination. So I open up Photoshop, and get started. After a few hours of work, I end up with this: Ah. Very nice, I think. It fits the feel of my book, and matches the description. What are the first impressions you guys get when you see it? I think concepts like mystery, murder, uncertainty, danger, etc. are what I'm really trying to convey. From here, I can now start writing. In fact, I'm getting to work on my first chapter as soon as I hit "Submit New Thread". Having the description and cover done beforehand helps narrow my focus and really inspires me to write. What do you think? What do you guys think? Do any of you use a similar process to jump start your writing? Or to get a clearer idea of the book you're working on? And what do you think of the cover I made for this project? Does it match the description well, or is something off? Is it maybe too "horror-ish" compared to the thriller I'm striving to create?