It happens all the time: I come up with a title that I feel is catchy and rife with possibility, and I can’t decide which story that has budded from it to go with (for the armchair pedants in the audience, I do end sentences with prepositions if they sound more conversational). And today is one of those times.
It’s not a particularly good time to be stuck with this dilemma either, as I have to take another story out of treatment phase and into screenplay format. See, that’s another thing I tend to do: hold off a project in the “chamber” until I have one ready to go in the “magazine”. I’m not entirely sure why I do that, really. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that I work faster knowing there’s something I’m looking forward to on hold, or that I tend to work with more confidence, knowing that I’ve got another project loaded with potential up ahead that will give me another shot at hooking some representation. I don’t generally work on two projects at once, preferring to submerge into the tone of one without the danger of inhaling the fumes of another. In my experience, that can get confusing, and possibly, contaminating.
The projects that are dueling it out in my head couldn’t be any more different from one another either, yet both utilize the title both in theme, and in a really juicy story element. One is action-oriented, with a sort of mystical sci-fi theme that could also get pretty scary. It’s something I would normally love to sink my teeth into, and my main character taps into a few personal issues of mine that would give him a little more depth, in my opinion, than most action heroes that I’ve run into recently. You know, at the Action Hero Mall. In the Action Hero Food Court. Eating…erm…heroes?
Anyway, the second idea involves a very hip, urban character whose raison de etre involves a very popular illegal activity that not only presents a host of visual possibilities, but allows me to imagine that activities’ evolution about 25 years in the future. Sort of like the way Back to the Future gave us floating skateboards, only my concept is far more subversive – and classically demonstrative. Oh what the hell, I’m talking about graffiti. Go ahead and run with it, if you like. Through its use by our main character, I imagine a revolt against an oppressive future society that gives me nervous tics just thinking about it. I guess it could be described as Turk 182 updated for the subcultural elite of this and the next generation. What’s more, I love to scratch that Art v. Homogenous Society itch so much, I could easily have the outline to this one done long before the other one is past a loose dramatis personae.
So which direction I take might depend on which one begins to overtake my mind the most in the next few days as it develops faster and begins to take on a vibrant life of its own. Sure, I could just change the title of one of them, and add two fresh files to my story folder, but these two words match both stories so well, and are so hook-filled, that I’ll always regret changing it more than I’ll regret giving up on the other story, which may recycle in some way later. Yep, one must win the duel to the death for The Name. I mean, how else do I attract representation who will undoubtedly demand I change it?
Funny world. And no, that’s not it.