Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends Write Titles While on NyQuil

Eva Parker and the Elephant of Doom (Source)
After nine blissful months since my last bout with ill health, I succumbed this weekend to my husband's cold. While my body focused on important things like white blood cells and mucus and consuming gallons of liquid and handfuls of vitamin C, I was left in charge of all forms of passive entertainment. In a snot-induced stupor, I attempted to sit through Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. Even sick, even drugged on Sudafed, I couldn't handle the bad character development, terrible plot shifts, and faulty camera angles that interrupted story flow. Fortunately, I was able to wash away the bad taste of Michael Bay's trash with reruns of How I Met Your Mother and The IT Crowd, and new episodes of some of my favorite shows, like White Collar, Warehouse 13, and Downton Abbey.

There is, however, a finite number of days and hours my muse will be hampered by sickness. On the second day, when I was too exhausted from sitting to remain upright, unable to regulate my body temperature long enough to fall asleep, and NyQuil was failing to meet all its promises, I grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote down all the titles for Eva I could think of.

As you may guess, drugs, a fever, and muggy thinking don't produce the best of titles. Even on my good days, titles are hard. Sadly, here are the top five:
  1. Love in the Time of Elephants (blatant ripoff)
  2. Handcuffs and Tiny Elephants (sad ripoff of Arsenic and Old Lace)
  3. Electrical Malfunction (because that tells you everything you'd want to know, and it's enticing, right?)
  4. Feng Shui for the Elephant in the Room (it's not a title that tags the book as a screwball paranormal adventure when you hear it, but I still kind of like it)
  5. Apparitions Gone Wild (because what female author doesn't want her fans to associate her book with all the other classy "Gone Wild" products out there?)
  6. Bonus: Eva Parker and the Elephant of Doom (ripoff, but it cracks me up)
Fortunately, Eva is temporarily off my plate. I'm taking a break from the book while friends read it over and I await critiques (and hopefully some really good title suggestions). In the meantime, I've been editing Conventional Demon (remember Conventional Demon? the book I was going to publish, then self-publish, then abandoned?). The critic in me proclaimed the novel to be lackluster just four months ago. A dud. Good, but not good enough.

I was in a darker place than I realized, being harder on myself than I should have been. The book's good. Not New York Times Bestseller good, which I think was the problem. It's got potential to be a mid-list title, which has never been my ambition. But I'd cornered myself into thinking it was launch with something brilliant (read: perfect) or nothing at all.

That's a horrible strategy. So I've been polishing the book and prepping it for Harper Voyager's open submission in October for novels for their eBook line. I think that will be the perfect home for Conventional Demon. I hope they agree.

I've also learned something new about myself today (other than not to trust that dark voice of doom): Along with the words simply and just, which top my Words Used Too Much list, I need to add definitely. It's simply out of control. How did I just not notice before?


Cody said...

It's simply just a definite good book and I'm loving it!

Rebecca Chastain said...

Thank you. You simply don't know just how much your praise means to me! I definitely don't tell you enough how much I cherish your support!

Kate said...

I really like Feng Shui for the Elephant in the Room. It DOES convey screwball comedy, but also does a good job of tying together the energy and the elephant plots. I vote for it!

Rebecca Chastain said...

That is one of my favorites, Kate. It doesn't scream supernatural anything, though.