Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chapter One

Okay so I've been reading through my new book, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, and here is what I learned from Chapter One:

Using my first book, currently published under the title, King by Right of Blood and Might, as my guinea-pig, it has already gone through some evolving, and I haven't typed a word of it yet.

About the first thing I learned when I got internet and started looking into all the writing blogs I found, was that the title was too long. I also learned from more than one conversation about the book, that the cover was all wrong. There was also one review, from a writer who knows more than I do about writing a book, which said that the writing was amateurish and rough. So republishing it has always been in the plans.

According to Blake Snyder, before you write your very first word of your script, you have to answer one very important question.
"What is it?"
And of course, you have to consider that the title of your script will be in a pile of probably hundreds, so it has to grab the guy by the tie and make his eyes bug out with excitement. It needs to blast into his brain the entire movie, or at least plausible parts of it.

So, what is King by Right of Blood and Might? Does that title do anything at all for you? It's very lyrical, but that's about all it has going for it. Quest to Become King, its original title while I was writing it, is no better, at least not in answering that question. I've been hashing over titles for forever, something short and to the point, and most recently I'd chosen The Riddle of Steel. You guessed it - that doesn't answer that question either; it just reminds me of that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Conan, where the boy Conan's father tried to explain it to him. I didn't understand that explanation, but I did like that title so I did a little research about it so I could apply some of that concept to my book. That concept will stay, but once again, the title had to change. Currently I have Crown of Steel.

I came to that decision because irony is the best gripper (according to Blake anyway). I chose that because it wasn't gold that gained these kings their lands, it was the strength of their steel and the skill in their arms. I don't know, as I read on, the title might evolve farther. We'll see.

Another thing covered in this chapter, equally as important as the title, is the log-line. The log-line is the one liner that also has to answer the 'what is it?' question. I came up with two - one longer than the other, which also might be used on the book's blurb (maybe)
If he was to believe his father, the crown would be his - no question, but what he didn't tell him was that he'd have to retake the country in order to be king.
The actual log-line (so far) evolved to this:
A crown does not make a king.
That leaves the cover, or the movie poster as the case may be. I'm toying with a sword leaning up against an oak tree with a heavy crown hanging on it. I'd thought of the sword poked into the ground, but that reminded me of rifles poked into the ground with helmets hanging on them - a grave. I also thought about the teepee thing where soldiers would lean their rifles against each other while camp was set up, or whatever the task was, but that was more an army scene and though Harris does return with an army, it is a loaner.

I don't know. That's only Chapter One. Things may still evolve. What do you think?

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1 comment:

William Kendall said...

The sword and crown image you have in mind seems to work. And that title, Crown of Steel, works nicely.