Monday, February 14, 2011

What's in a name?

When I was young, I was lucky enough to get to see Billy Joel when he toured college campuses for "An Evening of Questions, Answers...and a Little Music." During this--do I call it a performance?-- audience members had the opportunity to go to a microphone and ask Billy Joel one question. I, being a rather shy child, didn't dare go up to the microphone, but I loved listening to the questions people asked... and, of course, the music.

There was one question that stuck with me in particular, and it wasn't "Will You Marry Me." (Incidentally, in answer to that question, Billy Joel took out a pair of binoculars to see who it was that asked, but then made some comment about being "over" his supermodel phase.) Instead, the question that stuck with me was when someone asked him which he wrote first, the music, or the lyrics. Turns out he writes the music first because, as he put it, when he writes the lyrics first the music turns out like this: and he played a few bars of "We Didn't Start the Fire."

This moment was playing over in my head today as I try to affix a title to my work in progress. Often I have a title in mind when I begin a story, but sometimes, as is the case here, I write the story without a title. This poses a problem for me because I am really bad at naming things. Whether it be stories, characters, or cats, I agonize over names for far longer than should be necessary. (Xander was nameless for several days when we first adopted him).

In this case, I have spent the afternoon going through dozens of titles, trying to find the right one for this project. I still haven't settled on the answer. Sigh.

On another note, one project of mine that does have a title, my recent short story Felicity and Fortune. is available to read for free here. I would say this was my Valentine's Day gift to you, but you might think otherwise when I ask you to vote for said story here. Top prize in the contest is inclusion in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It so this is a contest I'd really like to win. In order for my story to reach the editors, it must survive the first test in the competition, public opinion. Voting will be open until February 28th, and only the top ten stories will go on to the next phase and the chance to be included in the anthology.

Felicity and Fortune is the story of young Laura Charles who must decide whether to marry the highly unsuitable Mr. George Bingley, or please her parents by marrying nobility. Those familiar with Jane Austen's work will surely know by the story's end exactly how these characters are related to some whom we both love and despise. I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment