Avoiding Annoying Titles

So I wrote most of the Zo stories and called it Zo White and the Five Orphants.  Then Toni and I started on Monday Street about three years ago, and since Monday Street follows Zo, I thought maybe they should be place names, so I changed Zo to Paradise Park, which is the park across from the house they take over.   Only now we’ve got three books and the place names are not working, unless we do Monday Street: Catarina, Monday Street: Sophronia, and Monday Street: Keely.  Is that annoying?  If feels kind of annoying.

What’s your pet peeve about titles?  What should a title do?  Feedback, please.   We’re only going to be working on this for the next couple of years so . . . uh, no rush.

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Big Book

This thing is huge.  I’ve got so many plots running here with so many people, it’s Game of Thrones with demons.  Actually, I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, I just know what I’ve read about it, so maybe Dickens is a better comparison.  The odd thing is, this time I know the major plot, it’s the details that are kicking my butt, which is the opposite of the usual progress.  Also I keep losing pieces that I’ve written and put somewhere.  

Writing books is hard, she whined.  

Anyway, it may be quieter than usual in here this week because I am writing and then on Tuesday getting a houseguest (YAY) so you’ll have to talk amongst yourselves.  Or whatever.  Good Book Thursday and Cherry Saturday will go up as usual, however.  Now I must go finish painting the floor in the guestroom.  One damn thing after another.  

So how’s by you?

Names. Argh.

So after three people said they had a hard time keeping the names Dag and Rab straight, I knew I had to change them.  Rab was too much a character for me already to change, but Dag was too non-Korean a name to work, so that was the one to change.  Then I found out that most of the Korean demons were damp women, so I co-opted a Korean supernatural entity named Jeoseung, which made him Jeo.  Jeo and Rab.  Not the same.  

And then I started rereading the first act and remembered that my murder victim was Joey.   Jeo and Joey?  No.  So Joey had to change (he’s now Jimmy, close enough) but all of this is, of course, shifting characterization for me.  Jeo seems smarter than Dag for some reason, and I always thought Dag was smart, so that’s odd.  And Jimmy doesn’t seem as big as Joey was, although of course he is.  Names, do not mess with them. Continue reading

The Unknowable Patience of Readers

 

 I’m looking at Nita’s book in big picture mode now, and frankly, the fun stuff starts in the second act.  Well, it always does because first acts are slow because you have to do some set-up, and you have to tell the story while you’re doing the set-up, and the set-up becomes a weight penalty for the story.  And right now my first act is over 35,000 words.  Since I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to come out over 100,000 words, that’s not the end of the world, but I do worry that’s too long before the Good Stuff starts.  

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Nita Question: Mom

Okay, here’s something that’s been bothering me: Nita’s mom.  I was swinging really wide in the first drafts, which is what you’re supposed to do, but I think I may have swung too wide on her.  For those of you who remember Mitzi, was she a deal-breaker in believability?  I need her nuts and lethal, but . . .  

Bookending Nita

I’ve often said that you can’t write a first scene until you’ve written the last scene, at least not a final write.  You have to know where you’re going to know where to start from, know what happens in the final scene to introduce it in the first scene.  So now that I’ve written the final scene (not finished the book, I just wrote that scene), I can go back to the first scene and do some of the massive cutting and shaping it needs.  I’m looking at it in several ways, but the one that’s most crucial, I think, is seeing how it  bookends..  

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Taking Over the Island

First, thank you all very much, you gave me a LOT to think about.

One of the best ways to focus an idea is to argue with somebody about it.  I’d read through your comments and think, “No, not that,” and then think, “Wait, why not that?”  Some of the time there was a good reason, but just as often I had to stretch my plot to discover that there was a good reason to include that.  My background plots suddenly got a lot deeper not just because you all had good ideas, but because I had to think about them all.  All of which is to say, thank you very much.:

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Listening to Nita

Or in this case, Nita’s soundtrack.

I do soundtracks for my books for the same reason I do collages: to look at the story in a different way.  I start by making a playlist of any song that seems right–Chesney’s and Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” songs were a no-brainer–and trying to find new things–that would be Lenka’s “Trouble is a Friend” recommended by CateM here–and then putting them in a rough order.  Then the soundtrack usually sits for awhile as I write.  

(Image/Poster is by James Gulliver Hancock.) Continue reading