Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thoughts on Thieves and Social Costs

This month has not been a very productive one for me.
Not only have I lost a lot of writing time to two
conventions and major non-fiction writing projects,
but I have also had to deal with a thief who broke
into my car and tried to steal it. Not only did I have
to give up the time necessary to have what they broke
repaired, and deal with the cops, but I've had trouble
concentrating and thinking straight, which means a
major slow-down in everything I do.

It's certainly given me plenty of experience in just
how crime affects its victims, even if the victim
never actually encounters the perpetrator. We tend to
focus on violent crimes like rape, murder and armed
robbery, since they are so frightening and immediate.
But the loss of security which results from a break-in
like this are very real, and painful.

I know this is going to be coming out in my stories
soon. At the moment I don't know exactly how, because
I'm still processing the experience. I just know that
there will be effects in my writing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Like I Need Another Story Right Now

So I'm neck-deep in a contracted 10,000-word non-fiction project, and what should I get but a cool new idea for a novel. Like I need one more thing to distract me when I'm trudging through a project that is Duty, Duty, Duty the whole way through.

This one is sort of parallel with Jan-Pawel Trzetrzelewski's sequence, dealing with his colleague Eigun Eiderveyen. I'd originally visualized Eigun as a relatively minor figure, a personal connection who would help him get around an immediate supervisor who was stonewalling him out of spite. But I soon had a feeling that there was more to Eigun that this simple, defined role.

And now I know at least some of his backstory, and the cool adventures he had while still a roving diplomat without portfolio, throwing sand in the gears of the bad guys' machinations. And of course I have absolutely no time to write it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

For Want Of A Title

Giving my stories a proper title is often the most frustrating part of writing. Often my stories go through most of the writing process with nothing but a descriptor like "Nadine's Story" or "Amanda's Story." But while such a descriptor is good enough for tracking a work in progress, it simply won't do for anything that purports to be the finished product.

Ideally, a title should evoke the story without giving it away. At the same time, one should avoid an overused title, since it has effectively lost its power to touch the reader, simply because it already has too many associations.

And that's what I'm facing with the entry-point novel to the Jan-Pawel Trzetrzelewski sequence. Originally I was going to title it In the Presence of Mine Enemies, which simultaneously gives the sense of the way in which Jan-Pawel is surrounded by enemies, both obvious and not, while at the same time, being a quotation from the Bible, helps give notice that he is a cleric. However, not only has a friend of mine used that title for an unpublished work of hers, but the noted alternate-history novelist Harry Turtledove has used that same title for his work of hidden Jews living in the cracks of a world taken over by the Nazis.

So while I may keep it as a working title, I really need to find something else as a final title.