time in a bottle

With no context, just which appeals to you the most.

Time in a Bottle

Sympathetic Magic

Of course, neither may work for you, and if that’s the case, feel free to comment as such.

I’ll be honest. I don’t like Time in a Bottle as the title of my current WIP so I’ve been casting about for another title. It is, however, more accurate than the other title. It may be more intriguing? I dunno. That’s why I’m asking.

In other related news, I’ve been working on the opening chapter of the novel currently called Time in a Bottle. When I posted chapter one on OWW, I got two common complaints: people wanted to know more about Molly’s background and her quest sooner, as well as the specific nature of her magical gift. So I’ve been dutifully filling in her background.

If I may be frank, Frank, I had only the essentials of her character down when I wrote the exploratory first chapter. It showed. So now I’m filling in the gaps, excessively, obsessively, even including a genealogical chart. Which isn’t just about blowing hot air out my *** or wanting to make pretty! charts! Molly’s family history is vitally important to the plot of this here book, so.

But being me, I am worried that I have tipped too far into the opposite direction and am now including too much damned detail. (An old and repetitive failing.) Only time will tell, whether in a bottle or not.

Being a character-based writer means that generally plots tend to accumulate around who my protagonists are rather than the other way around. So I usually have the illusion of knowing a great deal about my people before I officially commit them to the page—officially being when I actually type “Chapter 1” at the top of the file. Every once in awhile I get a surprise.

That seems to have happened with chapter one of the new novel, Time in a Bottle. (Really dislike that name, really need to think of another.) As soon as the protagonist, Molly, spilled onto the page, she came across much perkier than I’d originally envisioned her. Younger. More a creature of sunshine than I would have made her out to be. I resisted this pull, even typing a note to myself at the top of chapter one: “Age her up, serious her down.” But she refused my admonition. She persisted in being who she was.

I’ve long since learned that when a character pulls that hard in a certain direction, I really need to shut up and follow. I’m just along for the ride, after all, and most times they really do know best. If I analyze this in that light, I see that the story which is going to unfold might actually work better with this personality. She’s going to be dealing with the shadow world of the subconscious, helping to dispel some of those shadows, so it really doesn’t make sense that she’s as serious as I tried to make her. She’s going to need that sunshine to get through this, to even buy into this mess in the first place. She’s something of a rescuer, after all.

Of course, sometimes I’ve been fooled in this regard, too. Sometimes a character pulls me off in an unexpected direction and it turns out to be a dead end. Generally, this means I haven’t gotten to know them as well as I thought I had before starting out on the journey and they turned out to be tricksters, having their teasing way with me. This can be painful and require much rewriting.

But hey, writing is rewriting, right? There’s always going to be a lot of that in my future.