Encouraging a Readers Imagination

The Stars Were Right

I have had a few readers email and ask me if I will ever include a map or show any character art for The Stars Were Right. It’s been asked enough times that I think my response should be explained in it’s own blog post. Funny enough my answer is a big reason why I went with a more mysterious direction with the book cover rather than stepping in line with traditional urban fantasy cover art.

In short, the answer is: no.

That’s not to say in other books in the future I won’t make a different decision, but with the universe of The Stars Were Right I have specifically chosen to not add my own artistic interpretation into the world. I want to let readers imaginations run wild and encourage them to create on their own. I am a firm believer that anyone’s imagination can be hampered when you are presented with imagery.

Take Tyrion Lannister from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. In the books he is described as “an ugly little dwarf with mismatched eyes.” Yet, you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who after watching the HBO series doesn’t picture Tyrion as the handsome Peter Dinklage. A significant departure from the written character. That representation, even innocently, has affected the imagination of many readers.

On the opposite spectrum we have the world of Night Vale. Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the creators of Night Vale, have never shown what Cecil, the host, looks like. Likewise they haven’t provided a map of the town. When asked they have remained silent. So the Night Vale fan community has ran with it, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

I like Night Vale‘s approach. I like how it encourages creation and builds it’s community. (Subsequently this is why I love fanfiction as well, but I’ll save that for another post.) I believe the Stars universe is rich and complicated, it’s full of wondrous new races and strange cultures in what is a pretty spectacular setting. What I described is exactly what I wanted to be told in that first book. If I’m doing my job right the pictures swimming about in my head will have been communicated effectively in my prose.

The imagination is powerful and when it comes to The Stars Were Right I don’t want to get in the way of that. Instead I try and encourage fan art as much as possible. I find it both flattering and humbling when I see how readers interpret my characters, what they think the races of the territories look like, and how they picture Lovat’s nine levels. I occasionally call attention to fan art submitted to me. You can check out my collection of The Stars Were Right fanart over on Pinterest or you can check out one of the links below:

Have your own fan art? I’d love to see it: send me an email or contact me on twitter.

(Oh, and I’m doing a secret giveaway for a few more signed copies of The Stars Were Right. You can sign up here. Tell your friends, but make sure they know this is a secret.  Shhh!)

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