I'm going to take a page out of Alex's book (blog?) and just talk about random stuff.
Blank page-itis- Just started a new project last week. In some ways, there's nothing more simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying than that blank page is there? All of the possibilities are there—the story just waiting to be told. But... it's also a blank page meaning you eventually have to start. And then once you do, the possibilities immediately narrow—the characters, the story, they start taking shape and in some cases, taking over. The minute you put that first word down, that's it—you're cooked, one way or another. But is it going to be perfectly sautéed or burned to a crisp?
Trends and timelessness- I read earlier this week where the Broadway musical Rent was going to be closing in June after a twelve-year run. I've never seen the show on stage although I'm familiar with the music and the general premise (modern reinterpretation of La Bohéme) and I've seen the movie, which oddly, didn't do a lot for me, mostly because it felt dated and not in a good way. I think it was a case of we're not quite far enough removed from the era in which it's supposed to take place to feel nostalgic about it, so it simply comes off a bit stale. Which made me think about publishing and YA. Other than the heyday of chick lit, I can't think of another genre that can be so much a product of the time in which it's written. I know I've picked up some YA titles and they toss around brand names and slang and reference music and movies that were very of the moment when the book was written, but given the glacial speed at which publishing moves, by the time the book actually makes it to a shelf, might already be dated. I know for some types of books it doesn't really matter, but that's a personal pet peeve of mine. I want, in so much as it's possible, for my stories to have a timeless feel to them. So I try to either use slang that's stood the test of time or make up my own—I might reference a current musician, but I try to balance it out with musicians who've been around forever. It's not completely foolproof, even for the best of books. I mean, you read Judy Blume's Forever and there's no denying it was written in the 1970s—however, it still maintains a timelessness. What about you guys? Any particular tricks you use?
Title stasis- I'm in the same boat as Jenn, sort of. I need a new title for my '09 release. We haven't gotten to the list-making stage, but I'm fairly sure it's not that far off. It's a modern reinterpretation of the Carmen story and its original working title was A Thin Line, truncating the phrase, "a thin line between love and hate." Problem is, it doesn't really evoke the Carmen feel very much. Right now, my favorite title possibility is Roses in My Hands which plays into the performance aspect of the story and also evokes an important plot point. To me, too, it also gives the visual imagery of a fiery gypsy with a rose tucked behind her ear. But maybe not so much with the Carmen thing, however. We'll see.
Okay, I'm sure I could blather on forever—haven't even talked about how jazzed I am that Mad Men took the Golden Globe for Best Series, Drama and Best Actor, Drama (Jon Hamm), but I've got people coming to replace carpet in my house. Carpet that they should have put down right the first time, but didn't. Feel my joy. No, really, feel it.