A Wordless Song (part 2)

Cover art activity

This is a writing workshop involving a hand-made mock-up cover, two failed cover roughs and an updated image of the same story produced eleven years after the book was first published.

I have divided the workshop into three sections. Depending on the time available and the desired focus for your students, you can choose to present just one, two – with a short break between them – or all three sections.

Section 1

First cover of what became The Watching Lake by Elaine Forrestal

Download, or show on a screen, the above image.


What do you think this book will be about?
How many horses can you see?
What are these horses doing?

A synopsis (or summary) of a book to suit this cover.
A story to suit this cover.

Section 2

Download or show on a screen these two cover roughs. (Illustrators make roughs in much the same way that writers make drafts.)

Look carefully at these two cover roughs.
List three things that are the same and three things that are different about them.
Which picture do you prefer and why?
Give the boy a name.
Give the horse a name.

Write a story about a boy and a horse.

Section 3

Download or show on a screen these two covers which were published ten years apart.

If these two books were side by side on the shelf, which would you choose to read?
What sort of techniques might these two different illustrators have used?

A paragraph about what the boy and the horse are looking at in the image on the left?
Make up your own story about the eyes in the image on the right.
Who do you think they belong to?
Why are they shown in that way?
Or write a story about the scene on the left.


(or did you  guess?)

All the artwork in this activity belongs to the same story!
As you can see, the title of the book changed three times before it was finally published.
What title do you think you will put on your story?

Now think of two alternative titles. Write them down and keep them somewhere safe. When you have finished all the drafts of your story, decide which title suits it best.
Remember that the title needs to appeal to your readers.