Monday, September 13, 2010

Best Title EVER!


I was working diligently on C&C, but then I got distracted and I reread The Rainbow Serpent. Sometimes I get bored and I enjoy these adventures and quirky characters so much that I read them over and over. Note: I have never reread C&C with the same joie de vivre I read TRS and Treacherous Tumbles with.
Laying in bed one night, unable to sleep I was thinking about NaNoWriMo. Fifty-three thousand words in 23 days last year. Easy as pie. FYI, pies are not easy. Whoever said that is a moron. Unless you buy the already made crust and open a can of filling, it’s not that easy. Don’t forget, you still have to cook it. Even if you buy a frozen pie, you have to wait for it that thaw out. Easy? Puh-lease. Back to the point: I don’t need to tell you the story was passive, underdeveloped and well, pick something wrong with beginner’s writing and it was probably wrong.
I’m hesitant to commit myself to NaNo this year. I want to. I want to feel the excitement of watching my numbers bar rise, the fear of not getting those next words down, of not meeting that set goal. It’s wonderful and frightening all at the same time. I still love Jacob’s Harvest, even though it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of hell in the publishing world. Jacob was a great character, all wounded by his past, but noble in saving Cassie. Beautiful stuff.
Some of my fear of commitment comes down to I have written nothing, big fat nothing over 30,000 words this year. C&C doesn’t count. Two separate novellas, but neither reached 30k. Novellas are easy. Last year I had the basic idea for JH down in a matter of weeks. I did change it, but by October it was set in stone more or less. This year… I don’t know. I want to write historical romance novels. I want to write them set in the old west, but when you go to the bookstore or even the magazine aisle at Wal-Mart, there are next to no western romances on the shelves. Contemporary cowboys, yes. Not my thing. I did one contemporary cowboy and that’s it for me. He was a great guy, but I’m done there.
So… I turned my thoughts to steam punk. Ooooo, I like writing steam punk. It’s sassy and adventurous. TRS has it’s punky moments. The ladies in crit said they loved the story and I jokingly asked if they thought I should get to work on the sequel. I wrote TT instead. But… with NaNo looming, I thought why not write a sort of sequel? Not about Romy and Abel, but one of the other characters who has often made me think. Alwin van Buren. The airship captain Romy constantly referred to as ‘sky pirate’.
He’s a huge man, 6’5”, built like a Mack truck–not that they have Mack trucks in 1889, even in the steam punk world. BTW, TRS is set in 1886, so this would be three years later–with bushy eyebrows like caterpillars. A very obvious airship captain because of his build. He’s sailing 10 to 20 ton ships through the air, the man is strong.
What if Captain van Buren fell in love? He’d need a capable heroine, someone with as much grit as Romy. The good captain and Romy never saw eye-to-eye on anything because she stowed away on his ship and she planned to sabotage Abel. So the last scene in TRS is Romy and Abel… oh, wait. I can’t tell you what they’re doing on the ship. Buy the book. Right now, I will sell it to you for the low, low price of $1000. That averages out to about 2.8 cents a word–can you say installment plan? I knew you could–and you can do whatever you please with it. Notes, crits, entire MS, the whole she-bang. Or, in lieu of that, I guess you could crit it and save a $1000.
Anyway, what if, three years down the road, van Buren is a success. In some circles he’s a sky pirate and in some circles he’s a hero. However–oh, don’t you love a good however?–his ship, the Ursula Ann, which if you’re familiar at all with TRS–don’t kid me, you aren’t–you’ll know is this broken down, patched up, termite-infested boat with a lousy cook and a woman-hating crew, is no longer functioning. Now, I have to do some thinking here, but I think it might have blown up. We’ll see. And because of his status as this hero/sky pirate guy, he’s running his own flight school.
Enter the heroine. Sophie Barnsworth. Whose dream it is to fly airships. A rough job, because you have to be physically strong to do this. To battle the wheel in turbulence, to land one in a slip. To wrestle it in high winds. Sophie, not unlike Romy, is a rich girl. But totally unlike Romy, Sophie has never been allowed the freedoms to explore her adventurous side. Soph stows away on the Ursula Ann II –original, no? Hilarity and romance ensue. I’ve decided to call it The Sky Pirate’s Wife. And then as I was reading over TRS, I thought geez that title sucks compared to this MS I haven’t even started yet. So, I wracked my under-stimulated brain.
How about Snakes in a Cave? Abel Courte and the Chamber of Secrets? Hmm, not working. As I read, one line stood out to me.
Romy and Abel are discussing the rainbow serpent. Abel gets a little frisky. Romy takes offense. She accuses him of being kind one minute and a total jerk the next. I’m paraphrasing, it’s way more eloquent in the story. So it goes, “Crude cowboy and treasure hunter,” he reminded her.
Suddenly, lights swirled, bells clanged, whistles went off, fireworks exploded, Ed McMahon showed up with a giant check, balloons, confetti and TV cameras and I thought: The Treasure Hunter’s… something-something. The Treasure Hunter’s Woman. No. The Treasure Hunter’s Honey. Um, not even. The Treasure Hunter’s Bride. No, because they don’t get married at the end. The Texan Treasure Hunter’s Snooty Posing Sexy Virgin Sabotaging Explorer Bride. Oh, you know what I’m making fun of, don’t you? I could do that all day.
Then it hit me. What was Romy’s big thing all through the story, right from the very start? She was trying to be a lady. Ding, ding, ding, give the kid a solid gold Kewpie–I’m secretly afraid of Kewpies, please don’t give me one. So I changed The Rainbow Serpent–lamest title ever–to The Treasure Hunter’s Lady. Super! Even though it obviously has several chapter one issues. I’ll deal with those. Give me time. I have to finish C&C. Again.

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