This is a practice I’ve been doing almost since the beginning. Bestowing every chapter in a written work with its own title helps to give it some context, methinks. The few words that comprise it can be used to comment on the general vibe of the chapter or give supplementary information, in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the narrative.
My chapters frequently go through several working titles before they settle on a definitive appellation. The chapter I’m editing now sees our heroes visit the top-secret lair of a powerful warlock on the island of ₪KLAVERIOS, who after several rewrites has evolved into someone vaguely like a hybrid of Morpheus (of The Matrix) and the character Q of James Bond fame, with maybe just a smattering of Glinda the Good Witch thrown in. This exhibition-heavy whopper of a chapter’s original working title was:
…AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT
After fully digesting this chapter’s innards and melding my consciousness with its innate atman throughout the editing process, the old title found itself abandoned like an outgrown shell. Replaced with the (somewhat) more cozy WHO IS THE TRAINER? It’s possible the original title might be claimed by another chapter down the road; it would probably fit the next chapter after this one like a glove.
The microscopic saber-toothed tiger currently prowling the earth has disrupted what would’ve been normal activities for most of us, no doubt. This decade is only a few months old and it’s coined a few buzzwords and catchphrases already. Whodathunkit? From my experience, most decades take at least a year or two to shrug off the aura of the previous decade and find their own groove. But these Not-So-Roaring Twenties did it in a fraction of that time. Now if we could just get rid of that racism crap too, that would be great. Like somebody once said, we’re all in this together.
I continue to edit SILVER BROWN when I’m not willing web apps into existence. This chapter I’m working on now is a complete rewrite of a passage from an earlier draft. It dawned on me the other day that said passage would better serve the narrative if I put it earlier in the story than it was previously. As a result of this literary reconstructive surgery, the new rewrite features two characters that weren’t in that scene in the first draft (one of which is an artificial intelligence). A wondrous new dimension to the whole dynamic has consequently taken root.
Ah, wonder. Something that is in tragically short supply these days. That sense of wonder I derive from these Lutherans is a much-needed boost to personal morale in the face of this surreally dark period of human history. I could spend my time in social isolation flailing my arms running around like a headless chicken, but I’d rather just write.
The earliest drafts of what would eventually become SILVER BROWN came into being solely because I needed an outlet for my creativity. An outlet I wasn’t getting from my job. I went to college to train in the field of digital media. A line of work normally associated with creating things. But I was seldom allowed to actually create anything. The corporate culture of the firm I ended up working for was extremely hostile towards any semblance of creativity on my part. Particularly during those last few years, when my boss’ mental health had deteriorated to a point where she started engaging in unlawful things. There was only room for one creative genius at that firm, and it wasn’t me. My job was just to follow her orders.
Prior to entering such a suffocating work environment, I loved building websites. Then that love was kindly shown into a black sedan somewhere and garroted from behind like Luca Brasi. So I found a completely different craft to put my passions into – writing. I have no regrets about taking up this noble and ancient art, a craft I’ll continue to practice for as long as the Fates will allow me to. Writing is good for the soul, without question. Seeing your own words right in front of your face has a way of illuminating certain truths in ways that Enlightenment philosophers and pleasant conversations with friends simply don’t.
Even so, one cannot live on writing alone. Every writer needs fuel for their creative motors. With no experiences outside of writing, what will the writer write about? So after some hesitation, I dived into the Hudson to find Luca Brasi and pull him out to shore, reanimating his skeletal remains by immersing myself in the Old Craft, with a focus on learning about this fancy newfangled middleware and how to use it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg; I am fully intent on furthering my education in this technology in the coming months (I tend to catch onto these new technologies in short order – hell, even my psychopath former boss once described me to a few of her contemporaries as a “quick study”). But the grand adventure on the side that is SILVER BROWN is and never was a waste of time. I know it doesn’t go unappreciated, hence the reason why I continue to write. A more detailed report of the progress of the book will come at a later date.
In the meantime, I should mention that I connected with a writer over the holidays who has published over sixty books and is a Master Mason to boot (if I ever get the itch to join that ancient brotherhood, I know who to call). In the first week of the new year he presented me with a printout of the first chapter of SILVER BROWN I had emailed him on New Year’s Eve, which was augmented with his editing suggestions and commentary. His only real complaint was that there was too much jargon used in the text which might get in the way of audience comprehension of the story. But his overall impression was favourable. To use his exact words, he found it “interesting”.