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| Designing a Web Site - part 2
THE MAGIC OF LITERARY VOICE
The next thing you need to remember when designing a web site for an author is the importance of voice. In writing, author voice is the deciding factor between a good book and a great book. Voice is how the words 'sound' inside the reader's head. A writer's use of narration, from word choice to metaphor, helps him to establish theme, tone, and setting. It upsets the balance when you're client is providing a dark, ominous voice, but you've decided to smear the page in cream colors and delicate scrolling. Be aware of the 'sound' the text makes and use your judgment about matching shape and color to it. Accent it; don't overpower it.
YOU DID SAY 'RED HERRING', DIDN'T YOU?
Everyone loves a good mystery and all 'who-done-its' have one thing in common: the 'red herring.' No, this isn't an odd colored fish, it is a clue thrown into the mystery mix to give the story flavor. Sometimes red herrings are legitimate clues to the answer, and sometimes, they are not. When building a web site for an author, use the idea of a red herring to advertise the client's writing product. Spread out different blurbs on each page you create. Link the internal ads to the theme and make the reader associate the web site with the writer. The author will appreciate the subtle references to his work. He'll probably want a red herring on every page!
MAKE SURE THAT FIRST SENTENCE BREATHES FIRE.
The front page you design for your client should be like the opening sentence of a book or short story. An author knows that the first sentence is the most important one he will write. It must whollop, entice, and jostle the reader into proceeding further into the story. If the writer doesn't get that first sentence right, he will lose his audience.
The designer of a literary web site needs to pay special attention to this. Make certain that you begin announcing the web site theme immediately. If you use a special splash page, then make sure it combines some of the important elements discussed in this article. Your client will have an easier time relating to an entrance that stimulates the interest in products immediately. In fact, take that first sentence from his book, if at all possible, and use it like clay, molding your ideas around. You will get some fascinating ideas this way.
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| THE CLIMAX OF THE STORY
Writers might as well stay home if they don't understand that every story needs a climatic event. This is the situation that is the pivotal point of the novel and the moment when the theme either becomes illuminated or it doesn't.
An writer thinks about this one point of his book. It consumes him, because the climax of the story is everything. That's the way he's going to think about his web site. He's going to want that one page, that one section, to be the fireworks on the Fourth of July. He's going to want his message repeated on this page and repeated strongly. Give him a page that literally sums up everything he's trying to do with his writing.
ENDING--I NEVER SAW THAT COMING!
Every writer knows that without an unexpected ending, his story can fall flat. It's as important as that first sentence, but in a different way. The ending must draw the reader back to the next book. If he feels cheated with the novel's ending, it's a guaranteed outcome that he'll move on to a new author.
When designing a writer's web site, make that final closing page something that the reader doesn't expect. It can be a surprise in concept, artwork, color, and theme--just make sure that it's memorable! Imagination is paramount in this process. You are dealing with a creative individual. Will the internet persona you devise label him as a funky author with a cool product, a stuffy scholar with a university degree and the need for adventure, or a sci-fi top gun with a virtual universe of exotic delights? Learn to create a site that reads like a book and you'll get that special literary client asking for more.