HistoricalJuly20 — One Last Thing

04_short_loop

I completed my final draft for July’s Size Riot quarterly size fantasy flash-fiction contest last night.  Came in at 2900+ words.  I figured I could whittle it down today and I did.  I like the longer version, though, and it will be duly posted here when the results are announced.

What I didn’t have was a title.  Still don’t.  I often start writing with a working title, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to the end without something suggesting itself.

I spent the afternoon discarding one idea after another, and then Aborigen extended the deadline until Monday evening.  Deadlines serve a purpose and I’d really rather not look at my story again right now.  I hope I can come up with a title this weekend without having to re-read it.

12 thoughts on “HistoricalJuly20 — One Last Thing

  1. Sometimes the first thing that comes to me is the title. It’s usually one word, and it’s no different this time. I’m inclined to rethink it. I think I’ll make it longer this time.

    Maybe.

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    1. It usually comes pretty early for me too. My working title was just the protagonist’s name (and I wrangled over that for a day, so perhaps I was tired of fiddling with it).

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            1. I’ve been meaning to look into one of those name-generators Aborigen occasionally mentions. I’ve found that my instinct is to give my characters (what I think are) pedestrian names because I don’t want readers projecting too much on them. The glaring exceptions to this are when I want to indicate that a character has a particular ethnicity but I don’t want to do the work of finding an elegant and respectful way of introducing this information. This, of course, means that I’m making assumptions about who my readers are and what they might find “pedestrian” or “indicative.” In other words, I’m saying “Don’t project anything onto my characters unless I very obviously indicate what you should project.” It’s something I need to address, sooner rather than later.

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              1. Hm. Although yours seems a workable system (when you implement it), I’m extremely attached to naming my own characters at all times. The (usually) pedestrian names come to me, or I sometimes alter my first, middle, or last name, and then put it to use.

                I’m often busy projecting onto my characters (heck, that is a big part of why I write), but even when I write from a slightly different perspective, I find it almost religiously important to name my own characters.

                Why do you think your readers would project too much on your characters when you already use pedestrian names? (Or think you do.)

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                1. I think I’ve identified this as a problem for me, in that it reinforces the illusion that I have more control over how my stories are received than I actually do. When it comes to size fiction, I’m almost always trying to present one or more aspects of What Size Fantasy Means To Me, and that rarely has anything to do with specific characters or personalities. An unspoken directive for me is to make size fantasy available to anyone, to present a scenario with relatable, plausibly-motivated characters who respond interestingly (and, hopefully, arousingly) to size differential.

                  There’s nothing wrong with the foregoing, but I think I presume too much about what readers are looking for in my characters. I use “pedestrian” names to invite them to project themselves into my stories, but that assumes a cultural baseline from which not everyone operates. Similarly, when I name a character say, “Priyanka,” I am presuming I know what each reader will conclude about such a character.

                  The lesson I take from this is that I should make my characters as explicitly detailed as they need to be to propel the narrative without relying on preconceived notions about who my readers are or what they want.

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                  1. I had a first look at your directive through your tumblr. When I first saw it, it looked like an amalgam of just about every size kink in existence, and I’m sure I made some assumptions based on what you posted. So it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that assumptions might be made based on your choice of names. Names have a lot of power, after all.

                    But there are so many names in existence, presumtion feels more like a sort of crap shoot. So yeah, what you said about detailing your characters to propel the narrative.

                    My naming “gut feeling” once propelled me to name one of my characters Wenceslaus. The giantess chasing him only called him “Wen”, and once I choose a name it stays, so there was no changing it no matter what I tried to tell myself about the name.

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                    1. Oh, I wish that were true 100% of the time. Part of my recent writing difficulties involve not being able to see what the hell my characters are doing, name or no name. Relying on a story outline is a very different approach to writing, and one I’m now making myself get used to using. Here’s to managing writing pitfalls and preconceived notions. 🍻

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