Cover Graphics and How They Grew: How to Trash Your Writing Career

by Brenda Clough

A really popular blog series calls for compilation in e-book format.  In theory you can recycle one of the blog graphics, but for How to Trash Your Writing Career we went for a new picture. 

I do so adore it when ideas come easy.  A writing tool in a trash can, what could be easier or better?  And luckily I do have a number of writing tools on hand.  Unfortunately I don’t own a laptop, and my husband did not cotton to the notion of my borrowing his.   A large monitor is really too 20th century a look, and no one wanted to risk breaking a flat-screen.

So I moved on to the idea of a keyboard.  The world is full of outdated keyboards, but a white one would show up better in a picture than black or gray.  This means an Apple product; our own Maya Bohnhoff has an in with Apple and undertook to find me a junked Mac or Apple keyboard.  The only problem with this was that she lives 5000 miles away.  I drafted the unlucky Simon to pick it up at her house and drive it back to the East Coast for me.  This is not as cruel as it sounds, since his college is close to her place and he was driving back anyway for the summer.

However, before all these elaborations could get moving, someone on Freecycle offered a non-working Apple keyboard.  Whew!  I instantly closed on the offer and moved straight into photographing.

A good striking image would be a broken keyboard, the halves sticking out of a trash can.  (This is why my husband refused to loan me his laptop.)  And it turns out this is impossible.  I must congratulate Apple on the durability and toughness of their product!  Laying the keyboard over a cement step and jumping up and down on each end had zip effect.  Hitting it full force with a sledge-mattock sent a few keys flying but didn’t break the device in half.  (It really is too bad that no one was on hand with a cell phone — I am sure the YouTube video of my struggles would have been very funny.)  I considered laying it on the driveway and driving my car over it, but buying a new tire would be expensive.  Finally I threw in the towel.  It would have to be a slightly-battered but entire keyboard in the trash can.

The other items in the image — the trash can, the trash, the garage — were easily found around the house.   Unfortunately I can’t find any of my raw images, but you can see that the photograph is fairly unmodified.

My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Press.

I also have stories in Book View Cafe’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies.


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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Cover Graphics and How They Grew: How to Trash Your Writing Career — 3 Comments

  1. I think the keyboard works just fine. And as a Mac user, I am not surprised at its durability. The interiors may sometimes flake on you, but the exteriors were, I think, contracted out to Samsonite and tested by gorillas…