Case Study: The Try/Fail Plot

Case Study: The Try/Fail Plot

Greetings,

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The stock images are from Pixabay because I fear using too many images from The 100. The two 100 images were taken via Google search for study and review.  (Please don’t sue me.)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a case study, and since I enjoy talking about them so much, I figured it’s been long enough.

What I’d like to do is talk about a plot type and then see it in action. This plot can be used as a side-plot or a main plot depending on what type of story you want. Because I subscribe to Brandon Sanderson’s WriteaboutDragons.  He calls it the Try/Fail plot. The idea is that when a character reaches a challenge a two-pronged series of options happens.

He fails AND the problem gets worse, or he succeeded BUT something else goes wrong.  Sanderson also calls this the “No-and, Yes-but” system.

So let’s see this in action:
I’m a huge fan of The 100. My mom turned me on to the show, and I think it’s fantastic. One thing it does better than any other show I can think of is use that plot to keep the conflict going and the tension high. The whole show is a giant “no-and, yes-but” plot, and each challenge follows the same formula. I’ll go over a short example in a part of an episode, just to avoid spoilers and any lawyers looking to take the $5 I have to my name.

The episode title is Many Happy Returns. It’s Episode 4 of Season 3: Here’s the scene. A group of teenagers are searching for one of their friends. During their search, they discover someone trapped, hanging off a cliff by a thin branch. They’re already looking for someone they lost, but they can’t leave this person to die.

One teen grabs a rope and begins to go down to help the trapped teen.  Does it work?

No! The rope breaks AND the kid who went down to save said trapped person FALLS TO HIS DEATH!

So what do they do next? Trapped person is still stuck on a branch.

They scour the area (some wreckage) for things to cobble together to get some stuff they can use as a rope. (You see they lost their rope on the first attempt.)  Down goes one of the MAIN characters.  Does it work?

Well, YES…he gets to her….BUT….

The-100-2x04-many-happy-returnsTheir hodgepodge rope breaks. One of the characters has to hold the pieces in each hand becoming a human link in the rope.  Does he hold on?

(Well, lets pause for a second.  That character holding the rope? He tried to kill the main character currently hanging by that hodgepodge rope. So it’s not hard to believe the guy would just let go. So here’s added tension.  Let’s get back to this plot though.)

Does he hold on?

Yes…BUT….a group of “grounders” (savages) starts attacking!

Do they hold on? Yes, BUT one member of their team takes an arrow in the leg.

Do they hold on? Yes, BUT while they’re being attacked by grounders a horn sounds, which symbolizes that a vaporous acid is about to blow through the area. They have moments before they’re melted.

They pull their friend up. The main character realizes the kid who tried to kill him a few episodes back was the very one who was instrumental to saving his life.

help-2444110__340What about that death mist? Turns out, that was the main character’s sister distracting the enemy.

Sanderson says in his video that he usually likes three failures before the characters reach the goal.  If you look above, you’ll notice this mini-plot works in that regard too.

The try/fail plot is a great way to build tension. The trick is to look for ways to make complicated situations even more complicated. I hope this example helps you see how this plot works and is successful. I highly recommend The 100 because it’s good fun, and it’s great for studying plot structures.   I’m a bigger fan of it now than I’ve ever been, though I like it for intense scenes like the one above. When there’s a struggle of some sort or conflict or important goal, I tend to ask myself, “Now how can I make this even more difficult.”

NOTE: Beware rage quit!  The readers tend to want resolution. And if you keep delaying the issue without some sort of reward for the reader, you’re going to abandon them.  If I had to offer you a number as advice, I’d say, don’t exceed five complications for a minor plot, especially if this is a sub plot. Readers tend to be more forgiving if you have a no-and followed by a yes-but.  So yes, they get the guy off the rope, but now their party is smaller, and they’ve been delayed in finding the friend they originally went out to save.  So the plot moves forward, and the subplot provide an added degree of complication.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

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Book Review: Thornbear by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: Thornbear by Michael G. Manning
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This image was pulled from the Amazon buy page for review proposed and is used for that reason in accordance with copyright doctrine.

Thornbear is the first book of the Champions of the Dawning Dragons series, which is the third series in the Mageborn saga. My review for the earliest series (Embers of Illeniel) is here.  My review for the central series (Mageborn) is here.

Spoiler Free Summary:  In Thornier, Gram, named after his grandfather, is a young man raised in the shadow of his legendary father’s name, but he doesn’t have the opportunity to prove himself as his mother refuses to allow him to work to become a knight. Just as he gains a secret mentor, he also meets a young woman who seems intent on winning his heart. He’ll have to choose which path means more to him when his friends are threatened.

Character:  It was nice to see some familiar faces in this story, but most of the book centers around Gram. Gram is just enough of his father to be endearing. His kindness and compassion do a lot to build sympathy. His earnestness (a key trait of his father) is what drew me in. What surprised me was how quickly I grew to appreciate the bear. (Her name escapes me at the moment, but she was probably my favorite character in this particular book.)  I will say this book doesn’t hold up in comparison with others from my perspective. This book is essentially a teen romance story. It’s a well told story, and if you like the themes in that sort of book, then you’ll love this.  I just don’t, though. It’s not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. It just focuses on a plot line (relationship) that I’m not much of a fan of.

Exposition: This was pretty seamless here. The time jump in this book wasn’t as much of a challenge as the one I noticed in his earlier series. There are some scenes that slow the pace, but at least those scenes deal more with Gram’s training than his other challenge.

Dialogue: If the romance between Gram and his lady friend didn’t have this dialogue, I’d probably be less of a fan. That said, the wit and interaction of these characters carried me through a plot line that isn’t normally my cup of tea.

Description:  I enjoy the way Manning can make description a part of the action. Most authors (including me) tend to have “blocks” of description. Here, the visuals (mostly visuals anyway) are a part of what’s happening. This allows the scene and setting to add to the story rather than interrupt it.

Overall:  I hung with this book because of how much I enjoy this universe as a whole. I don’t really think this one holds up against the others, but it’s enjoyable. The ending has a few big payoffs, and there was enough interesting material to hold my attention. Fans of young-love romance will like this far better than I did. CONTENT WARNING: I won’t go so far as to say some of these scenes are explicit, but there is definitely some material in this book that might challenge some readers. As is usual for Manning, this is treated in the interest of realistic situation, and the actions characters take have consequences.  This book does a better job of setting up the saga than anything else, but it was still cool to look at this new generation of characters.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Interview with June Book Cover of the Month Winner, Shawn King.

Interview with June Book Cover of the Month Winner, Shawn King.

June_Cover_CollageLRHello everyone! As most of you know, I’ve been interview most Book Cover of the Month winners.  Click on each month to see those interviews. December. January. February.  April. I wasn’t able to reach the artist for March, but here’s the announcement for it. I never could find anyone to talk to for May, but here’s the announcement for that. Here we are with June’s winner though, the man who designed For Steam and Country!

Without further delay, let’s get right to it!

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All images used with Mr. King’s permission.

First off congratulations on your cover winning my blog’s Book Cover of the Month of June.  

Thanks, Matt! So, uh, I never received my winnings…I was told there’d be money involved. I’ve got bills, man, and a cat to feed. Just kidding, just kidding.
It was quite the surprise to see it was in the running and the support it received. Made me a very happy artist/designer.  And happy to see someone who so thoroughly enjoys cover art/design — that, obviously, means a lot to me.
When did you get in to art? 

Oh you know, the usual story of being snatched by the creatures under my bed as a child and thrown into a tiny, dank cell and forced to draw every day… Huh? Only me?
Honestly though, like most children, I was always drawing growing up…but when other kids moved onto other interests I continued on drawing. I can remember making up my own Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles characters (my mom actually painted the Turtles on my bedroom walls — she’s the one I have to thank for passing down the art gene), and then I discovered Spawn later on and began copying the art from those comics and others I’d sneak out of my brother’s room — he’d eventually give me his whole box so I’d leave him alone.
So yeah, basically I’ve always been into art.
51rSoV0BOGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_How long have you been creating covers?
I’ve actually only been creating covers since maybe the end of 2014. I worked on my first cover in 2013, but it wouldn’t be until the later part of 2014 that I secured a position with a publishing company (Ragnarok Publications) and began doing the design/typography for their covers…and the rest, as they say, is history.
So I’ve really got a special place in my heart for Ragnarok — without Joe Martin and Tim Marquitz (great author by the way, if anyone reading this hasn’t checked out his work, do that now) taking a chance on me I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t know all of the kickass authors and industry professionals I do now, and who knows where my career would be…
What got you started in creating covers?
Since becoming a bibliophile around the age of 15 I’ve wanted to work in the book industry. I used to say I didn’t care if I were the mail-boy, as long as I got to work for a publisher. There’s no graphic design jobs around here so I kept reaching out to publishers and finally one brought me in, Ragnarok Publications. I gained a lot of experience with them, and they eventually introduced me into experimenting with photo-based art, which I’m really enjoying at the moment.
Do you prefer one medium over another?
As far as physical art I’m mainly a graphite and pen type.
As far as covers go as a medium I do enjoy the character-focused pieces (urban fantasy mostly), but I’m real partial to fully designed covers as there’s just something intriguing about them, an extra sense of wonder at where this idea came from, what was the designer thinking, what are they trying to convey to potential readers, and sometimes the “Whoa, how’d they do that.”
Do you have someone who inspired your own work? If so, who? Why?
I can’t really say that I do. I gather inspiration from all over and try not to focus on any one thing too much. I will say, though, that I really like the design work on oldschool fantasy covers — even the over-the-top ones manage to hit the right fantastical mood and leave me wondering how I could work some of its elements into my own designs.
What makes you choose to work with an author or not? 
Well, I’ve had a couple horrendous clients in the past, so I know a couple signs to watch out for. One thing I’ve noticed though is everyone I’ve work with in the book industry have been fairly easy to get along with, and they’re usually very appreciative and supportive.
516b4sBesELWhat do you look for in a great client? 
I’m looking for a sugar-client (kinda like a sugar daddy, or sugar momma, but not gender-specific) who can sweep me up in their arms and deliver me from the dreadful day-job…huh…oh, sorry, wrong type of client.
For art/design clients, most times I don’t really know until I’ve gotten a little ways in, but if they’re appreciative and respect my work and opinions then I’ll do whatever I can to help them. And once I get one of those clients I try my best to keep them! heh
What are some of your pet peeves about clients?
Haha, hmm let’s see if I can think of some without pissing anyone off…
I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it when someone tells me how easy a task will be…like they think I can just make a couple clicks and *poof*.
And, should go without saying, but any type of unwarranted hostility is a surefire way to end our working relationship. I put up with that for years from one client, and I’ll never do it again.

Other than that, since entering the book world, I’ve been lucky to have very good and respectable clients. Authors can be crazy…ehh, let’s face it, they ARE crazy, but I’ve had the best time working with them.
What would an author need to do to work with you? Do you have a link to your standard rates, or do you negotiate fees by author?
Easiest way is to just inquire via my website, stkkreations.com. I don’t have rates posted anywhere as it could cause some issues if they change and I forget to update them wherever they’re posted, and depending on the style of cover it can also alter the rate, but I’m always willing to discuss that and I’m fairly easy to talk to…I think…
51ex3PMhSnLHow did you come to be chosen to create the cover of For Steam and Country?
I believe Jon heard (or saw) of me through some mutual author friends and contacted me inquiring of my interest in his new fantasy steampunk novel. I love the ideas and imagery of the genre so I was immediately interested.
Artistically, what were your goals for the cover?
I wanted to be sure I expressed the genre clearly but without overdoing it, and that I could create this character without it looking recycled (whether that be just your generic steampunk character, or overuse of stock — that last part should really be paid attention to as there’s a lot of covers out there that use straight stock photos so the end result is a slew of books with basically the same character on their covers…yikes).
How was Jon to work with?
He was a total jerk and constantly talked about my momma. Nah, seriously he was quite easy to work with. He didn’t have any excessive changes and he listened to my reasoning behind certain things I did with an appreciative and understanding ear.
What inspired the idea for this cover?
The general idea was Jon’s. He wanted to show the protagonist, a young female who knows nothing of adventure and the bravery it requires, but will quickly find out.
He gave me a few necessities, like the cape, sword, ship, obviously it has to look like a steampunk character, and other than that pretty much let me run free.
Can you walk me through the whole process of that cover? From commissioning to final product? How did you feel about it once it was finished?
Let’s see, the commissioning part is kinda boring: Jon approached me, rates were discussed and agreed upon, and that’s about it…pretty standard I guess.
Once all the financial business was taken care of, Jon gave me a description of what he was looking for, and I started gathering resources and pinning down some rough ideas of what I wanted to do. From there there’s a lot of extracting elements from other elements or backgrounds and piecing them all together into something new that you won’t have to worry about finding on anyone else’s cover.
In the end, I’d say I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I had a lot of anguishing fun making it and I think it was pretty well received.
Is it your favorite cover? If so, why?
It’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s one of the ones where I started getting comfortable with my style of character-driven covers, and the most complex one (roughly twenty photo resources were used on this one) I’ve done so far.
61S5hacOB3L._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_What can we expect to see from you next?
I actually just finished another cover for Jon, for his novella Gravity of the Game that will release in October.
I’m currently working on cover art for the sequel to Kirk Dougal’s Reset (very fun series for those who haven’t read it — detective story within a video game story). Those are a fun silhouette style.
I’m also working on design work (typography mostly) for a few different authors.
I’ve got a few projects I’m working on for Vault Books (a specialty press, look ’em up if you haven’t) for authors Dan Wells, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Larry Correia.
Basically, I’m all over the place haha.
Is there anything you’d like to say to readers?
Thanks for taking the time to read this little interview, I hope it wasn’t too boring and maybe even inspired a few of you to explore your creative side — the world can never have enough art.
Once more Shawn, I just want to thank you for spending time to do this interview. Your cover was great. I look forward to seeing more from you.
Thanks so much, Matt! This was an excruciatingly painf…I mean, uh, very enjoyable interview! One of these days I’ll get better at talking about myself haha.
(END INTERVIEW
And there you have it folks. Shawn was fun to talk to. And he’s the only designer so far with two covers in the Book Cover of the Year Bracket (He was involved in the design of The Heresy Within).  We’re so close to that bracket. I’m really getting excited about it. Until then…
Thanks for reading,
Matt

Announcing the August Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the August Book Cover of the Month!

Hello everyone,

The August Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was a slower month of voting, but I think that’s because the winner’s shock-and-awe first few days just worked for him. It’s always great to see the support these authors and artists generate. We had 3,122 votes. I want to offer my thanks to everyone who got involved.

This month was unusual in that one cover took the lead and never let it go once he had it.

The August Book Cover of the Month is…

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Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Philbrook (who owes us a jig) received 325 total votes. He more than doubled anyone else’s votes in pretty much any way you can measure.

AUG_Cover_Collage175LRBlack Ruins Forest finished second, which means she’ll have another chance to be the Book Cover of the Month for September.

That said, Philbrook is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

 

 

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Seven hundred fifty years ago, human colonists left Earth and settled on the moons of the distant gas giant Ghara.

Civilization has flourished on Ghara’s fertile moons, but humanity’s drive to colonize and explore is still strong. Detecting plentiful mineral resources and a rich abundance of alien life on the nearby planet of Selva, the Gharian Colonists mount a dangerous expedition. Young newlywed marines Dustin and Melody will find themselves put to the ultimate test as they forge a way through fierce magnetic storms into an unknown and utterly alien world.

Tensions mount at home, as not all of the colonists support this mission and its high cost of resources, and many are outright hostile towards the Marines and scientists who are setting out to colonize the new world.

As the peace the four colonies have shared for almost 200 years starts to fracture, what the expedition finds on Selva might very well be the worst thing humanity has ever dealt with.

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover,  MacNiven’s cover,  Jon del Arroz’s, and Rob J. Hayes’s. They are also on my TBR. Manning’s review is here.  Howard’s review is here. Deyo’s review is here. I’m currently reading Jones’s book.


Here’s
 Philbrook’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

I don’t know who the artist is yet, but I’ll see if Philbrook is willing to stop dancing long enough to introduce me.

The September bracket is still under development, but it looks good so far. It’ll kick of Oct. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: The Final Redemption by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: The Final Redemption by Michael G. Manning
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Image taken from the Amazon buy page for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

This is book five of the Mageborn saga. My review for book one can be found here.  My review for book two can be found here. My review of book three can be found here. The review for book four is here.

Spoiler Free Summary:  In The Final Redemption, Mordecai is in quite an awkward position because of what happened in book four (remember, I said no spoilers). He’s gained some horrific, destructive powers, and those powers have isolated him. The last dark god has set his sites on bringing the world to its knees, and Mort has to use his newfound power to take on someone many times more powerful than even himself. He has to do all of this without friends or family.

Character:  Mort took center stage here. By taking everything from him, we were able to see him in a different light. His changes did a lot to set up not just the climax of this book, but the next era in the Mageborn universe. That said, all of our favorites are back for this final showdown with the big bad of the series.

Exposition: Manning was back at full strength here. I’m more certain that the heavy exposition I mentioned in book four was more because of the huge gap between books than anything else. Here, we get what we need when we need it. Sure, there’s some dialogue loosely hiding some exposition, but at least in that manner, we don’t feel force fed information.

Dialogue:  I love the interaction between Mort and the dragon (whose name escapes me at the moment). Some of the other conversations are great. James has a bit of time in the limelight as does his daughter, who steals a bit of the show. Their dialogue was crips and fun to read.

Description:  This book doesn’t rely on description nearly as much, which is a relief to me as I’m not a big fan of it. It does a good job of highlighting what matters (and BOY does some of it matter). It helps create the visual tone and mood of the story. It’s visceral without bogging the story down.

Overall:  There was one particular scene during which I wanted to cry. I HAVE cried while reading some books, but I didn’t cry during this scene. It was sad, and it was painful. I’m just trying to create a range so you know my emotional spectrum. This is a satisfying end to a great era in an even better universe. I still feel Tyrion’s era was the most satisfying so far, but I’m still a big fan of the story as a whole. This book puts a reader through a strong range of emotions. It puts a nice bow around all the plot points and teases the universe going forward. I think fans of epic fantasy will enjoy this series.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Facing Fears: A Different Sort of Review for the Movie “IT”

Facing Fears: A Different Sort of Review for the Movie “IT”
kid-matt
This is about the right age.

Let’s start with the prologue:

I must have been between 8-10 years old when I saw the TV mini-series “IT.” From the moment that damn boat fell into the storm drain until even now, that movie haunted me. I’ll be blunt.

I don’t think I slept for a year. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a storm drain. Don’t even get me started on how I responded to clowns. My mom would put on a movie and let me fall asleep watching that (Best of the Best if you’re curious). Even as recently as last week, I had a wake-up-shouting, turn-on-the-lights nightmare involving a certain dancing clown.

However, if any of you remember a certain post I wrote a while back regarding my opinion of fear, this post is me putting a certain degree of action behind those words.

I’m always afraid. Ever minute of every day. The list of things I’d said I was afraid of in the aforementioned post is still true. So is my response to it.

So, tonight, I mustered up my courage (and a fairly high number of Facebook support for my alter ego’s page), and went to see the movie. I begged (twice) for someone to show up and watch it with me, but it wasn’t to be. So it was with a racing heartbeat and memories of a 10-year-old version of myself taking a different street if the one he was on had a storm drain, that I went into the theater, sat down, and got ready to watch the new version of “IT.”

I sat down in my favorite spot (first large isle, far-right seat. I can put my feet up, and I can head to the bathroom without stepping over or in front of anyone). I could feel my fear starting to nag at me, so I pulled out my phone and started playing a game while I waited for the movie to start.

That’s when a fucking clown walked into the movie theater holding a red ballon.

21430154_10154596722857142_281902408187726966_nI didn’t move. It was either freeze or run out of the theater. I held still. The damn clown sat right behind me.

At this point, I was strongly considering my position on telling fear what it can do to itself. I snapped a cell phone image of the event, but I wasn’t the only one. The clown became an oddly creepy, horrifying celebrity. Once the clown realized he was the center of attention, he did something cool. He stood up and walked to the side of the theater where dozens of people all lined up to get a cell phone.  (I didn’t do that….I like breathing.)

They all got their images without winding up a snack before the movie, and that all by itself did a lot to actually  set my mind at ease.

The previews ran; the music started, and the movie began.

It started out exactly like the original. It wasn’t the frame for frame rip off that X-Men: First Class was, but it was pretty much in lock step until the USS Georgie hit the water.

That’s when this movie did a thing that broke from the original at the expense of a lot of fear. It traded in goure for tension and suspense. I’ve seen the Saw films. I’ve seen action movies and anime. They aren’t scary; they’re gory. What I can tell you is the scene from the modern version could never come close to the nightmares I had when I was a kid. By showing the action, the director gave the viewer an out. It actually provided closure in a sort of way. Hitchcock was the greatest at this. DON’T show the viewer what’s going on. Let him be uncomfortable. Let his own hyperactive imagination to the scaring for you.

Which brings me to another point a friend of mine mentioned, which I happen to agree with: I think viewers SHOULDN’T compare Skarsgard’s interpretation to Curry’s. That’s unfair to either. I’m not going to talk about the acting, I’m going to talk about the other aspect of why this modern version didn’t haunt me like the original.

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No, this isn’t Skarsgard’s image, but I tried carefully, even under the protection of review. So this Pixabay image will have to be enough.

Skarsgard’s persona is clearly terrifying. He absolutely sent chills down my spine every time I saw him, but that’s what was wrong with it. The most frightening things I think (and I promise a lot of those fears come from the original mini-series) are the usually mundane things in creepy situations. The obviously evil all the time appearance wasn’t nearly as haunting as the seemingly normal Pennywise Curry portrayed.  Again, both actors did a wonderful job (in my opinion) playing the part, but twisted normalcy is more frightening to me than outright creepy from the get go.

These two things are what separated one from the other for me. The original would still give me nightmares for days. This one didn’t because it showed more and never really gave viewers that sense of betrayal. When we feel safe, and then have that safety ripped from us, fear is more powerful.

Before you decide not to bother seeing the movie, I should tell you it was a good movie. I’ll admit that it’s more blunt on certain sub plots that are honestly huge turn-offs for me. But it does some things right.

One thing I’ll say is the side characters felt more real to me. Well…I guess it’s MORE accurate to say characters I didn’t care at all for in the original were more fleshed out in this one. The original miniseries left some of the characters pretty flat. This movie gave them all more sympathy.

The lighting and shooting of this movie were great. The relationship between the characters felt more real.

In short, “IT” was a solid movie if you’re a fan of horror. Yes, I think the original was better because it had a bigger impact. But, I was also about 10 at the time. If you’re willing to wait as long as Billy had to get a second crack at Pennywise, then we can ask those who were watching it tonight how they slept the next 27 years.

people-2577929_960_720What this experience did for me on a more-cathartic level was help me move past some of those childhood fears. (No, if a clown knocks on my door, I’m getting my shotgun, but I might warn him before shooting…I might.)  I suppose the only thing left to do would be to watch the original, and see how may of those childhood issues come back, but

I’m not sure I need to do that. What I wanted to do was prove that no movie should control a person’s fear. While I’m still uncomfortable around actual clowns (I worked at McDonalds for a number of years, and I’m happy to say Ronald never showed…I would have gotten fired.), I came out of that movie feeling like I’d done what I went to do. I saw the movie, and didn’t feel the need to stay up all night. Now, I haven’t gone to sleep, so who knows what my amazing imagination is going to produce (I am a writer after all, and when I DO dream, they’re usually vivid).  As it stand though, I feel good. I feel a bit relieved.

People should never live in fear. They shouldn’t let fear dictate what they do, and this was another opportunity to deny fear any power over me. For those who were just curious as to how the movies lined up, I hope this was useful to you as well.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

August Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

August Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

With just about seven days left in this month’s bracket, I thought this would be a good chance to update you all on how things have been progressing. Things started off fast, but we’ve slowed down a bit.

2,433 votes the support has been nice to see, but some of these covers need your help.

Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook has taken the lead an run with it.

Least Voted for: Kaiju Wars by Eric S. Brown currently has the fewest votes (31). Fans of Brown should rally to help this cover get at least a bit more credit than that.

The Sweet 16 is the closest round so far. Half of those matches are within 10, but Philbrook is the story here as he’s got a commanding lead in every round, so anyone who wants to beat him needs to summon the followers by the dozens.

A quick reminder of how the tournament works. The easiest way to win is to have the most people vote for you in every round (like Philbrook). The trick is you have to have the most people vote you through in each round, all the way to the final.  As an example, 10 people (the second most) have voted Blood-Stained Heir all the way to the championship, but that’s not enough because Norman can’t get past Black Ruins Forest (though he’s only four votes away). Just remember. It’s not total votes. It’s not simple championship votes. The winning cover has to have the most votes in each round of the competition.

515dtiG8DILSo let’s take a look at the three covers that have the BEST shot at upsetting Philbrook.

Blood-Stained Heir can grab victory if he gets 23 people to vote him all the way through to the championship. (That’s assuming those 23 voters aren’t answered by voters of Colony Lost or Black Ruins Forest.)

Black Ruins Forest actually needs more championship votes than Heir. While Forest has what it needs to get to the last round, the cover is actually further behind than Heir. That said, if Forest can get 26 people to vote it all the way through, it’ll take the lead.

Lucky or Not, Here I Come is actually the third-closest contender if one looks at the bracket as a whole. It’s behind Black Ruins Forest, but not by much. That said, he’d need a massive show of overall support because he only has one championship vote so far. He’d need 33 people to vote him all the way to the championship in order to take the lead.

Getting 33 people to vote anyone all the way through would be a great start, but believe it or not, the 23-vote lead Colony Lost has in the finals is actually the smallest margin of victory he has. Anyone cover not mentioned above would need more than 40 unanswered voters to push the cover all the way to the championship, and that’s not nearly enough to upset Colony Lost in that initial round (Colony has more than 100 votes in that first round.)   

This will be the only update for this type of bracket. It’s been an amazing tournament to watch thus far, and I hope readers continue to support their authors by voting, liking, and sharing the bracket with as many people as possible.  You can vote at this address!

I’ll announce the winner is just seven days!

Thanks for reading,

Matt