Well, the short story is finished, and firmly into novelette territory. It’s a strange thing that when I set out intending to write a novella every word has to be squeezed out, and when I set out to write a short story it ended up about three times as long as I’d intended.
The villain has been identified, the heroine has moved on a little. I enjoyed it, and I just about figured out who did it.
And now I’ve realised I don’t have a title for it. It had a working title, which was the name of the heroine, as a label for the word file. I have no idea what to call the finished story. It’s a murder investigation, set in the supernatural druids world I’d previously come up with for the novella (and steals one setting from that novella, which will never see the light of day otherwise!). It’s based in London, and has a private investigator, who mostly works for the druid clans. Hair is key to the plot. Any ideas? No, me neither.
I’m putting the story away for a couple of days now, so I can come back to it with fresh eyes for editing. I’m wondering whether I should try to follow Stephen King’s advice on editing (2nd draft = 1st draft- 10%) or stick with my usual approach, which is to add words in the second draft because I usually don’t write long enough. Let’s hope that by the time I’ve made that decision, a title will also have suggested itself.
Last weekend was one of my favourite yearly-if-I-can treats: a double bill of my favourite Shakespeare company, Propeller. They are an all male company, but that isn’t, I don’t think, the main thing about them: they have a very physical, committed approach to Shakespeare. Their key focus is on the clarity of action and words. They make each play a theatrical event. That sounds like it’s obvious, but it really isn’t, and it’s not true of all Shakespeare productions these days.
Anyway, that was a fun day – a gripping production of Taming of the Shrew that I didn’t like/ agree with the interpretation of, and a fabby production of Twelfth Night which I previously saw in Coventry during its first week, and loved, although it had got even better by this weekend. So, in summary, if you can go see them, do.
Shakespeare carried on being on my mind though, when I saw a comment on the Kboards discussion forum, on a thread about how to promote indie published literary fiction. Basically the consensus was that literary fiction just isn’t going to make you the big bucks. One commenter, the indie author J Gordon Smith, had the canny idea of getting a title for your novel by simply reading through Macbeth until you’d found a short quotation you could use or adapt. I loved the cynicism of this – after all, I thought, it worked for Faulkner. But I wondered how many other people it had worked for. Turned out, more than you knew. Just try to avoid ‘the seeds of time’ and ‘all our yesterdays’. I was quite intrigued to see, however, that one of my favourite authors, Diana Wynne Jones, also had a book title attributable to Macbeth – Charmed Life. Shakespeare had all the good lines, apparently!