by Lillian Csernica on July 23, 2013
Once again, I think I’ll go for the alternate prompt:
I am not good at titles. Sometimes I get lucky and they spring to mind. Other times I have to work at it, trying to pull a central concrete image out of the story. I think titles have a significant impact on a reader/editor’s first impression of the story, so a strong title is very important. Brainstorming, reading from books of famous quotations, pinpointing a key line of dialogue and asking my primary beta reader for input are methods by which I try to find the ideal title.
I can fall down the rabbit hole of research and stay down there. It depends on where I am in the project. If I have a specific piece of information targeted, then I’m in and out. If I’m going for the ambiance of a period, the general mood of the women’s quarters, or how daily life really smelled in the lives of the stable staff, that’s going to take longer.
I am surrounded by notebooks and printed pages and research texts and handwritten memos and who knows what other related miscellanea. I have Scrivener. I will be using it to convert SHIP OF DREAMS into an e-book. I may well plug the ongoing adventure of SWORD MASTER, FLOWER MAIDEN into Scrivener as well. I have to do something to ride herd on the organic chaos that is my creative process.
I don’t do nearly as much of the physical side of writing as I hear prescribed all the time. My diet is poor. I don’t get anywhere near enough regular exercise. I usually manage one dose of sunlight per day. I have a terrible sweet tooth, which is aggravated by depression. My sleep patterns are erratic. My stress levels are turning my trapezius muscles into steel cables. God knows what my blood pressure and cholesterol are like. It’s time to take this aging body in for blood work and annual exams and the mammogram and all the other poking and prodding that will result in the doctor telling me to get off my ass, go outside, and walk for at least 30 minutes a day.
I’m way behind the learning curve when it comes to self-publishing, e-publishing, all the software and technology and who to know and where to go. My husband is a software engineer, but I’d rather handle educating myself with the help of my agent and other industry experts. I want to learn how to do the file conversions and make my books and stories come out the way I want them to be. This might be a bigger challenge than I realize, but so be it.
Sometimes the depression gets me and I think it’s all just so much recycled fairy tales crossed with all the bad horror movies I’ve seen. I’m just grinding it all up and spewing it out through one of those disgusting sausage-making devices. It’s already been consumed and digested and excreted by better writers and readers than me. Why should I presume to think I can do any better than all the other people out there scrambling to see their names in lights? (Or whatever the Internet equivalent is.)
Today the light fell harshly on my mirror, to paraphrase “The Bolt Behind the Blue” by Dorothy Parker. I saw the beginnings of crow’s-feet. Time is passing and I’m not where I wanted to be in my career at this age. I feel compelled to make up for lost time and keep ahead of the panic that threatens to eat me alive. Will it all amount to nothing in the end? Will history measure me as nothing more than a wannabe that made a little progress before the demands of real life crushed her?