Procrastination central

And on this 90F+ day, I have chosen to bake bread and do laundry. Because I am insane. However, I've also chosen to cope in the manner my mother always coped with New England summers: with iced coffee. Make one pot of extra-ferociously-strong coffee. Put into fridge until cool. Pour into pint glass with ice & milk. Sweeten if desired. Drink. Ah.

And now the fic wittering portion of your daily misery. Nearly 10K words of story for the current project. You can all expect to read it on July 11 at summer_of_giles. Assuming I finish it. If not, you'll read the first part next Wednesday and the rest later.

I spent yesterday outlining and not writing directly much at all. I was completely stuck, up to my knees in the thickening concrete of miserable confusion. So out comes the secret weapon: the conversation with Mr P. Every specific suggestion he makes is wrong, almost always. (I've regretted every single one I've taken. Stop sulking, D!) But what he has got is a great sense of story. When I describe the right thing to him, he knows it and can say so. So I had the conversation with the husband, spent a couple of hours with Omni Outliner, Best Tool Evar, and came up with something I could believe in.

The payoff is that today I'm writing with some amount of confidence that I'm moving in the right direction. My protagonists are bickering nicely, but they're also working together when they need to. And they'll pull together when the bad stuff starts happening. I am happy with their character arcs, which go in quite different directions in reaction to the same events. And I have some neat stuff happening that I don't think I've read before. And I think I am mean to them at least a little bit, though I'm never mean enough.

Uh oh. I'm too cheerful about it. It's going to suck utterly.

Title-based procrastination. Today to procrastinate I read that quality source for quality wank, metafandom. painless_j wrote this thing on titles that I sort of agree with and sort of don't. The writer disses titles in languages other than English, but there are tons of great ones of those; perhaps they're a problem in Potterficland? The writer disses long titles, but they can be perfect for comic stories. And are a bit of a tradition in a certain kind of comic story, in fact. The writer disses one-word titles, but there are lots of those that work as well. Somebody in the comments singles out A. S. Byatt's Possession for insulting, but man, mileage varies. I think it's a wonderful multi-layered title for a wonderful multi-layered book.

I would second one part of the poster's advice, though: Dude, you kinda aren't the first to think "Little Gidding" lines are cool, you know? There's nothing as painful as yet another reference to an over-read poet. I feel sorry for Robert Frost. And alas, most of Shakespeare is off limits for similar reasons. Go for it and quote the obscure plays, though. Yay, Troilus & Cressida!

Vague titles suck.
Overused titles suck.
Obvious titles suck.
References often work (when not overused).
Titles that pick up something specific from the story and call it out often work. Especially if that something is obscure to the reader.

I find choosing titles hard, most of the time, except when it's easy and a title smacks me in the face. Too often I end up posting with my working titles, which are usually painfully prosaic. I kinda like the one-word titles: Breathing, Blackmail, Thusia (ooh evil pretentious Greek word!), Emergence. I like them because they're easy. The original poster may now mock me.

title working title my opinion
Apples, Oranges, and Pears Buddy Flick great
Tradition & Protocol Claim Bond decent, picks up quote from series dialog & themes in the story
Thusia Thusia good; Greek + sacrifice == lots of stuff in that story
Dust On His Hands From the Sky Train meh; pretentious bullshit
Gas-Ring Alchemy January Weekend decent; points to the story's underlying structure, which is something a reader probably won't notice otherwise
Breathing Post-Grave h/c meh, gave me fits, but picked up a repeated image
Ars Draconis Ars Draconis forced by the prompt system; decent
Reconnection tagfic #5 crappy
Emergence Emergence crappy
Hazy Solos Hazy Solos crappy

I have no clue whatsoever how to title my current story. I am not going to give the working title here, because even that is terrible.
Mmmm...iced coffee. I'm about to have some. So good. It's just about the best excuse there is for summer heat...that and strawberries, which we're having for dessert.

Coming up with titles is one of the worst things about writing, as far as I'm concerned. I prefer not to overthink it once I've committed. Otherwise, I'd probably cry.
You have both made me drool talking about iced coffee. I shall now go and have some myself. Yes.
I like the name "Dust On His Hands...". It's very artsy and I like that. I also like one word titles for the simplicity. It's an interesting idea, what the title is used for and means in writing. I use titles as a promotional tool mostly. I try to give the reader a chance at a couple word summary and I love drama or humor. Most of my titles are rubbish but there is one that holds a special place in my heart and always will. Old as Dirt and Just as Filthy which is a Dawn/Ethan coming of age, smutfic. I think it sets the mood for humor. Sometimes I think folks concentrate on the story and just throw any title on their which doesn't do the work justice. It can be hard to come up with something that you see as fitting but its worth effort, I feel.
I like "Dust on his hands" a lot but feel guilty about it.

I like that Dawn/Ethan title! It totally told me what to expect from the story. I think my real opinion is that so long as the title isn't something horribly bland like "Shades of Gray" (usually with "gray" misspelled), it's fine.
Man, as if the writing weren't torturous enough, now I'm going to be fretting about the sodding title. Dude, you are tough! I worried my title was too hackneyed, but I got it from listening to the Cole Porter song, and it kind of fit. Decided not to explain it. Figured those who knew Kipling would get it and think, That was contrived, and those who didn't? Oh, well. Mostly, I could give two figs what the title is. Give me the damn story. And I loved the title Breathing, btw. It was perfect.
I think I'm nearly converted on titles not mattering all that much. Except when they're awful. Maybe it's one of those "if not sucking, is good enough".
Titles give me fits and yet there are some stories I cannot write unless I have a title in my head. What's worse is when I come up with a title for a story and then go, "But what will the story be about? How do I have a great story to go with this title that my brain loves?"

That really makes my head hurt.

Iced coffee > everything (well perhaps iced pearl teas)
Iced coffee again today! Though it's cooler. You're in San Jose, right? It's usually a bit cooler where I am, up on the peninsula. Ah, the Bay Area and its microclimates. 90+ in Vallejo and 70 at best in SF!

I have never started with a title first. I've always had the hook or the key plot event first. Huh!