February 01, 2010

The Story With Three Titles

I wrote on this blog in December about a story called The Last Foot - that was the story's second title and it's now got a third!

It began with the title "Beet Surrender" which I was enormously impressed with. I thought that was the cleverest title going and I had a good chuckle to myself as I read it. (For those who weren't following the UK music scene "Beat Surrender" was a huge hit for The Jam in 1982). But I was put in my place by the other writers who told me in no uncertain terms that the title was appalling.

So it became "The Last Foot", which while not as 'clever', was certainly more relevant. The story ended up in the sample of short stories that we sent off for our Fifty Grand project that was ultimately doomed. But it always remained one of my favourites - for reasons I'll explain shortly.

I've now expanded the story to more than double its previous length and it now tips the scales at about 2100 words. The focus has altered and its new title is The Fisher Men, its third ever title.

This story wrote itself. The initial idea for it came to me fully formed and I just needed to keep the steering wheel straight while it got to its destination. Some stories, you have to battle to the finishing tape like a bear, but this was one of those happy instances where I had a few word-choice decisions to make, but little else. I'm almost ashamed to take a writing credit for it!

The protagonist of the story is an A330 Airbus jet that has been frozen in time, just 12 inches above the ground as it plummets to its doom, hence its second title! We pass into the passenger cabin and we meet a few of the passengers who are about to get the big splat treatment, some more distraught about this than others.

In its new incarnation, we discover that there is one person aboard that is going to be saved from the crash. We discover something about why he's being plucked from disaster, but that is not really important to our story. The Last Foot was probably my favourite of the 1000-word stories I'd written last year and I desperately didn't want to ruin it.

It's being submitted to a project I should be able to speak about more in the coming week.


Harper Hull said...

Haha, I forgot all about 'The Beet Surrender'

esllou said...

I even had to change the beets to maize as I needed a tall crop for the ending! :(
"Maize Surrender" sounds even worse, a northern ireland political thriller perhaps!