Monday, January 24, 2011

Shakespeare versus Popeye

“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Or something like that. I think I got that from Shakespeare… or a Miracle Grow commercial.
Anyway, what it means to me is that a rose is a rose is a rose—there I go sounding like Shakespeare again.What I mean is that a cat is a cat, a tree is a tree, a cloud is a cloud etc. And if you called a cat a tree or a cloud a cat or a tree a cloud it wouldn’t make any difference at all…except the cat probably wouldn’t come to you when you called it.
You see, it doesn’t matter what a thing is called…usually. The story Becky and I are writing needs a title. It started out just being “our story,” but when we talk about it, it could be any story we are writing, but it isn’t. It’s “our story.” So Becky suggested using, Happenstance as our working title, that’s working out fine, and everyone at the critique group knows what we are talking about when we say Happenstance.
But it doesn’t really fit. It was discussed at our critique group, and another title was suggested: The Case of the S*** Plant Shooting. Okay, that’s more descriptive of the actual story, but still not there yet. And there is the chance that the title might repulse some readers before they even start reading.
The Case of the Excrement Facility Shooting doesn’t do it either. The case of the Decatur Sewage Treatment Plant Shooting?
I’m not sure Mr. Shakespeare would approve of any of these titles.
Besides, a picture of a big turd on the dust cover might be a little off-putting, too. The more I’m talking it down, the more I like The Case of the S*** Plant Shooting. The part that I don’t care for is the “The Case of…,” part. That makes it sound like a PI mystery series. It does have detectives in it, and it has been a mystery to us how it will end but “The Case of…” just isn’t right.
Even though a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, we’ve got to get this rose smelling more like a rose. It’s early yet, we have time to come up with the perfect title, but it’ll take some serious thought. It’s not often I have serious thoughts, so the matter of the perfect title will fall to the fair damsel, Becky—and she’s a goofball sometimes.
But that’s the good part about writing with a partner—when I’m stumped by something, I just play dumb (well, I’m not really playing, I guess), and Becky will take over, and come up with something brilliant.
It’s really unfair that we have to put so much thought into the title of our story because it is what it is and that’s all that it is…
So much for Shakespeare. Now I’m starting to sound like Popeye!

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