Have you heard of the four personality types: choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic? No? Perhaps you’ve heard of Gary Smalley’s revisioning of the four personality types: Lion, Otter, Beaver and Golden Retriever, which are way more fun to pull out at awkward social occasions. I do so enjoy diagnosing people as animals.
The Lion is the “get on board or get out-of-the-way” leader who sees the big picture but tends to trip on the details. The Otter loves to make a party out of every gathering, even funerals. The Beaver is busy, busy, busy calculating the best way to do anything at all, and the Golden Retriever just wants to love you and make sure you’re OK.
Well, I’m a Beaver (yes, I’m a turtle, too, but Smalley doesn’t use turtles in his analogy). Technically, I’m a Beaver-Retriever, but the Beaver generally runs the show unless you break into tears in front of me. After I’ve gotten you a box of kleenex and a comfy chair (Beaver things to do, btw), I’ll find out what the problem is and how I can best serve you at that moment. I’ll do it all in a methodical fashion and only within the parameters previously set by our relationship or as prescribed for this unique situation, but my heart will be in the right place.
Yeah, I’m mostly Beaver.
I’ve been working with the Gungho Iguana, aka Keven Newsome, and Grace Bridges this week on the cover art for Star of Justice. I never expected to be a part of that process. The big publishers rarely let writers help with the cover (or with the title, in case you didn’t know, so don’t get too attached to yours). This has been as enjoyable as it was unexpected.
At one point, I gave my opinion and followed with “I’m no diva,” meaning this wasn’t a “make or break” issue. None of it is, really. I’m thrilled to offer any input.
But it got me thinking. I’m no diva, but I am a “Beava.” That Beaver part wants things to be “right,” and “right” for a cover happens to be “technically accurate.” I hate it when cover art has little or nothing to do with the story inside. I hate it more when artistic license is taken in areas it doesn’t need to be taken, like hair color. What possible reason is there to change an MC’s hair color from brown to blond or vice versa? Drives me crazy when it happens.
Fortunately, I’m working with another Beaver who’s just as concerned about “right” as I am, and a Golden Retriever who is pretty laid back about the whole thing as long as it comes in on deadline. In short, I’m in good paws, er, hands. And it’s got this Beaver-Retriever looking like this:
Thanks, guys. You’re awesomeness on toast.