Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thank Goodness for The Zamboni

Happy March. It's about time it showed up.

I have the Junior Worlds Figure Skating Ladies (or as I think of them- Little Women) competition on in the background, but they're on a zamboni break before the final two flights (Go, brilliant young Americans, go!), so I figured I'd throw in a fast blog entry to bring you up to date on Possible Third Book.

I adore it. I love every word of it. I love its words so much I have to go back and add some more.

What I'm doing these days is throwing all the bleakity bleak in, and then thinking about how much of it I can remove when I come to my senses. It's become kind of a game for me- put it in and figure out how to take it out. It's a good thing I keep going back and adding more words, because once I edit out the excessive bleakity bleak, the book will only be 12 pages long.

It turns out that when characters refer to the time before that nasty moon/meteor encounter, they call it the Time Before. The book is dividing itself into three sections. The first is called Probation, the second Since The Time Before, and the third (which I'll start when the skating ends) will be The Power. I've already written the ending of the book, since it's a little different than what I originally planned.

The second section starts with the 5th year anniversary of the moon/meteor, and includes Jon's visit with the troupe and Gracie's confession to Caitlin of her past. I love the book's structure; everything just seems to fall into place so easily.

All right. When do I not ask something of you, my beloved slowly gained readership? I'm going to set up a non-binding resolution poll over on the left side of the page concerning the book's title. I'd always planned on calling P3B Starry Night, but the book just hasn't gone in that direction. My friend Christy, who is very very smart, says I can't call it Story Of O Without Sex, should Harcourt ever agree to read it. So I need a title.

I've come up with two possibilities- After The Time Before and Since The Time Before. The latter is more euphonious, but it's also more ambiguous, so I'm ambivalent. That is, by the way, the classiest sentence I've ever written. Anyway, a quick perusal of Amazon seems to show both titles are available for the taking.

So I'm going to ask you to vote on which you prefer. Fool that I am, I'll include a none of the above option. This won't necessarily be a majority rules situation (and, of course, even if P3B becomes 3B, Harcourt will have the final say on its title- maybe it'll want Story Of O Without Sex), but I am curious as to your preferences.

All right. The skaters are warming up. I'll post this entry and the non-binding resolution masquerading as a poll and return to the world of triple lutzes.

Thanks again for your help and imput. You're all champions to me!

PS- Ooh ooh, what if Harcourt decides to call it Story Of O With Sex? I'd better go back and add a whole lot more words, just in case.


bottle-of-shine said...

For reals, ma'am, I laughed out loud at this whole entry. Brightening people's day with subtle comedy! Thank you. :D

Librarina said...

Personally, I think you should go for all the bleakity bleak you want... But I tend to gravitate toward those types of stories, in general, so I may not be a good judge for what would sell to the masses! Though, an awful lot of my YA reading has been very bleak -- takes Werlin's The Rules of Survival, for example -- so it may very well be a YA trend. I don't care what you call it so much as the fact that I get to read it someday. ::fingers crossed::

Jen Robinson said...

I really like After the Time Before as a title. Something about it resonates. It makes me want to read the book (which I already do, of course, but even more so).

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi to Bottle-of-shine, Librarina, and Jen Robinson-

Thanks for all your comments.

It's been interesting for me, as always, to follow the progress of the non-binding resolution poll. I am a little nervous though that neither of the above seems to be such a popular choice.

The bleakity bleak and I continue to tango, with it leading. But I sure am enjoying writing P3B, even though I think I'll have to spend more time doing rewrites, should Harcourt ask to read it, than I'll have spent on the first draft.

Well, if you cut a book down to 12 pages, those rewrites are bound to take a while!

Marci said...

Whatever you pick, there is a 50/50 chance Harcourt will change it.

Here are some tongue in cheek suggestions;

The Quick and The Dread
Bleaker House Without the House
Little Martyrs
Darkness at Daybreak
If You Wanna Know What Happens Five Years After the Meteor Hits....Read This Book!

Okay, Okay, I'll go vote.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what you call it, but could you please stop using the phrase "bleakity bleak"?

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Marci and Anonymous-

Thanks, Marci for your various suggestions. I think the last one is best, although I've improved it slightly. Now it's: If You Wanna Know What Happens Five Years After The Meteor Hits...Buy This Book!

A writer's gotta eat.

I'm sorry, Anonymous, that the term bleakity bleak irritates you so. I don't blame you; it is kind of on the cutesy side. The problem is I've started the process to have it trademarked, like "Threepeat" and "American Idol," so I need to use it as much as possible to increase its marketing potential.

A writer's gotta eat!

Anonymous said...

It is irritating because it sounds sophomoric, and your writing is fine, intelligent stuff for a fine, intelligent, readership.

(I agree with librarina's encouragement to be as bleak as the story warrants).

Mr. Cavin said...

Hey, did you see this (discovered via Gwenda's blog)?

Marci said...

Susan Beth Pfeffer wins the YA Agony Award! Get out the red carpet! Buy that dress!

Wait until they read the other two books. You'll have three Agony Oscars or whatever they call them. They may even decide that LAWKI was a light read, given to levity and frivolity.

So now the title becomes "If You Wanna Know What Happens Five Years After The Meteor Hits...Buy This Book! by the Agony Award winning Author Susan Beth Pfeffer. Harcourt will love it, no room for art work so the cover will be very cheap.

Anonymous said...

I've always enjoyed using the word 'angst' although 'angst ridden' sounds like you need an exterminator.

'Ankh' is another favorite, but I don't think that can be worked into the book.

And when is the movie 'Inkheart' coming out anyway?

Anonymous Glen

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anonymous (again) and Mr. Cavin and Marci (again) and Anonymous Glen-

It's a pleasure to hear from all of you.

I love the word "angst" and have been known to sing "Agnst For The Memory" in public and private. But it doesn't begin to do justice to the suffering that is P3B.

I am currently thinking of calling the book The Agony And The Agony.

Easy to spell and to the point!

Anonymous said...

Titles: The Bleak Times


Dead But Not Gone

However -- After the Time Before does resonate.

Anonymous said...

After the Time Before sounds like a movie with cartoon dinosaurs.

Glen Anon

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Anonymous and Anonymous Glen-

I will never get over how many people are named Anonymous. Did you have nicknames as kids? Nony, maybe, or Mussie?

Meanwhile thanks to Anonymous Glen's comment (negative though it might be)I discovered that this blog entry is called Thanks Goodness, rather than Thank Goodness.

I am totally mortified. However, thanks to the miracle of the internet, I can correct it (and will).

Thanks all of you for not making fun of me where I could see it about my glaring mistake.