Friday, May 8, 2009

Heavyweight Title Fight

Finding the right title for a story, or even just the chapter of a story, is both my favourite and least favourite part of writing. I still have a rather good story (in my own humble opinion) that languishes in my drawer with 'Untitled' written on it. It resists having its true name revealed. Until then I have no power over it.

Titles have convey something to a potential reader, yet be true to the story they represent. In the case of Straitjacket Ninja chapters they also have to be funny, or at least odd, and have a foot related theme. The most recently written episodes have been named Foot Fetish, Twelve Steps, Feet Geeks, Stray Cat Strut and The Foot Maiden.

The titles for SN often come before the story. Bad feet puns often suggest the odorous tale that goes with them. The current script is called Cement Shoes, and deals with a mafia-like group of crooks. Box Step, an unwritten episode, is a story where the Ninja's box is discovered by his enemies. I have a long list of foot puns to work through. You should all be afraid.

Over Christmas I wrote three 28-page issues of a potential comic I was going to call Eternal Death: The Adventures of Gabriel Harland. It has vampires in it. My wife convinced me that the extra bits of the title made it sound too Boy's Own, which was not the feel of the tale. So it's just Eternal Death now.

However, the idea that the extra bit made it sound old fashioned inspired another story--an adventure romp in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a real Boy's Own Adventure style. Its working title was Hollow Man: The Adventures of Adam Seabourne, but last night an unrelated comment in an email from Simon inspired me to change it to Hollow Victory: The Adventures of Adam Seabourne. Our hero, you can guess his name, must make his way to the alien world inside our own Earth, and fight to save his adopted alien tribe by uniting others to face an evil empire. There are dinosaurs, aliens, a romance with a princess, sword fights, tiny cannibals, and ray guns.

The silliest title I've come up with so far? An episode of something called W.A.S.P. (World Animal Space Patrol) entitled Fish & Chimps. I haven't written that one yet, but just knowing the title makes me think of it from time to time -- once a story has it's true name it is never far from being penned.

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