Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And she's off!

Some of the best book ideas come to me very quickly. That happened last October with The Taste of Magic, which went from "hey, that's a fun idea" to "THE END" in about seven weeks. It looks like I may end up with the same schedule this month.

A week and a half ago I got an idea for a story. Of course, I couldn't do any work on it, right, because I'd finally started writing again on the untitled swashbuckling fantasy and was enjoying it, and I'm not one of those writers who can actively work on more than one story at once. So I set the new idea to simmer.

Then I went to DragonCon, and not only did ideas start pouring in from different directions, I nailed the main character's profession during lunch on Saturday. At which point, my brain was off and running and I was just hanging on to the reins trying to stay in the saddle. Which is a really weird metaphor to use for a brain.

Yesterday I worked out the main plot points, named and renamed the characters, and started writing. It's all longhand so I'm not sure how much I wrote, but I'd say I'm only about 1,000 words in. But I like the main character, Cassandra Key (who goes by Cassie), and I think the world's interesting. It's an urban fantasy, although it approaches it from the other side, so to speak: Cassie lives in a steampunkish world with elves and fairies but no humans--humans are imaginary monsters called bell-men--until Cassie witnesses something that draws her into the dark side of the elves' caste system, blah blah blah, and she ends up visiting the human world to try and save an abducted high-born elf woman. And the book has two kinds of vampires!

As for titles, I'm thinking something like Blood Key, although not Blood Key because that's awful. Any suggestions? I'm always more comfortable if I have a working title early.

13 comments:

Aaron Polson said...

Man. I really want to read this one. I love the idea of humans being imaginary. I'm pretty sure they are.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I think that it's interesting that the elves have a caste system...and two types of vampires... Sounds like it's going to be a great ride!

K.C. Shaw said...

Aaron--I don't think I've met any. I've met clever fakes. :)

Alan--I got the idea for a caste system a long time ago and never had a project to fit it into until now. I think it'll be interesting to write.

Cate Gardner said...

Bell-men - I went all shivery when I read those words directly after imaginary humans. Sounds fantastic.

Lertulo said...

Cooool; I love the premise. And I'm with Cate that "bell-men" is a fantastic term.

For working titles: when doing software projects, I always try to pick non-sensical phrases--things that can't possibly be mistaken for the actual product name, because there's otherwise a tendency to get attached and not want to retitle. At the same time, the working title is a great opportunity to solidify a theme.

In the Making Of documentary for Prince of Egypt, they mentioned that one of the first things they put together was the opening song--and that it was so powerful that the rest of the project fell into place because of it. That's how it can be with the working title: if you pick something thematic--dark and loamy ("Soul Pumice"), or light and joking ("Kitten Souffle")--then that can color the rest of the work, leading you in the direction you want to go.

My point being, to pick the working title, you have to start with how you want the book to feel--and completely avoid using any terms that will appear in the book itself.

K.C. Shaw said...

Cate--Ooh, thanks! I'll do my best to make them totally freaky in the book.

Lertulo--I definitely see where you're coming from. Then again, I still have stories on my harddrive with working titles like "Cinderstory" and "four." (Actually I did finally name four.) My titles are all so awful I don't have a problem changing them, although I'm rarely convinced I've changed the title to anything better.

Soul Pumice, hehe. I actually kind of like that, in a weird way.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Good luck. Sounds like a great ride.

K.C. Shaw said...

I'm hoping I can write it fast enough that I won't lose interest before I'm done. :)

Danielle Ferries said...

Sounds like a great story. And I love hearing how people get started with their stories. Ditto about the bell-men too.

Lertulo said...

Okay: bell-men, and both human and elf civilizations. How about "A toll of Two Civies?"

Yuk yuk yuk...

K.C. Shaw said...

Danielle--I'm going to have to make the bell-men way scarier than I'd originally planned.

Lertulo-- *groans*

Carrie Harris said...

The Bell-men concept is so cool that it deserves to go in the title; that's what I think.

K.C. Shaw said...

Actually, when I started typing up what I've handwritten last night, I saved the file with the working title "Bell Men." So I took your advice before you'd even given it, thanks!