Title Confusion

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polymath
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Re: Title Confusion

Post by polymath » August 12th, 2011, 4:34 pm

I appreciate the complex dynamics of foreign affairs between the Confederacy, the Union, and European nations. Global statements like Britain sided with the South are, indeed, open to interpretation. My bad. My point is that the public who might be aware somewhat of the political forces of the time might tend to balk at a British operative allied with the North without adequate context. During the Civil War, the U.S. was still wary of British political interference in domestic affairs.

As to public stakes, one role they play in plot is a basis for thematic unity, as do, equally, private stakes. They go to proactive motivations and inciting conflicts and outcomes. The flawed nobility of a woman insuperably striving for retribution due to a personal harm are wonderful personal motivations with personal stakes and outcomes. However, I see from the query and your additional explanations a disjointed dramatic action sequence. Julienne witnesses the ruin of her family farm, turns to espionage to address her grievances, becomes embroiled in a contentious romance, suffers imprisonment, flees into exile to evade further incarceration, acts as an agent to build up her family farm's livestock, meanwhile wary that she's being sought for her war crimes, meets up with a new love interest, returns to her farm and lives happily ever after.

There's several complications there that seem at loose ends and occur by happenstance chance. They make me feel like the second half is a different story than the first half. Like the new love interest comes along late in the plot by coincidence. The espionage angle is causal and causes effects, but seems to fall away later and doesn't seem resolvable without public stakes and motivations and outcomes, which in my estimation go to thematic unity most importantly, and subtly but profoundly, reader empathy for the protagonist, Julienne. That's public stakes' purpose in terms of present-day relevance, to make readers feel as though a protagonist is fighting our battles and we are vicarious participants who root for her for our ends.
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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Title Confusion

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 16th, 2011, 9:17 am

polymath wrote:There's several complications there that seem at loose ends and occur by happenstance chance. They make me feel like the second half is a different story than the first half. Like the new love interest comes along late in the plot by coincidence. The espionage angle is causal and causes effects, but seems to fall away later and doesn't seem resolvable without public stakes and motivations and outcomes, which in my estimation go to thematic unity most importantly, and subtly but profoundly, reader empathy for the protagonist, Julienne. That's public stakes' purpose in terms of present-day relevance, to make readers feel as though a protagonist is fighting our battles and we are vicarious participants who root for her for our ends.
This is something that's troubled me from day one. There are two distinct plot lines...divided into two pretty distinct sections. It's like those long novels that are divided up into books. Book I, Book II, etc. Only there are two books. I do resolve all the plot threads but as you mention, thematic unity is important. The espionage angle, I feel, is resolved. The leader of the spy ring is captured and bargains with the male MC for amnesty by turning over all of the names of the people involved. Of course, the caveat is that he "forgets" Julienne was ever involved. That thread would make for a good sequel! I see blackmail, of course...

As female spies were generally not executed (just incarcerated, often for very short periods, the exception being Rose Greenhow), Julienne getting away with no ramifications is pretty plausible. Julienne splits town because she doesn't want to deal with the fact that she married a guy that was working for the enemy--nor does she want to know exactly what he would do.

I just picked up another beta reader yesterday, so I'm hoping to get more feedback on how to bring things together. I can't imagine re-writing the whole last half, taking out the second love interest, etc. He contributes to a fairly dramatic conclusion--and I like him, even though he goes BSC.

And as I have wrote this out, I just had an idea that struck me about that rogue spymaster. I will admit that he is a dangling thread (pesky those are) and this "new" idea would effectively give Julienne a reason to return to the States for more than just doing the whole happily ever after thing. **runs off to story board**

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Re: Title Confusion

Post by danielle100 » August 16th, 2011, 11:23 am

Haven't read all the responses here so I may be a bit redundant, but I say don't scrap the title yet. Case in point: I went to order MAKING WAVES, Tawna Fenske's debut novel, on Amazon and found there to be SEVERAL books of the same title and genre! The title was, I believe, the editor's or publisher's idea. So, don't worry just yet, but you may have some other options to throw out there in case they find the title is a problem. Good luck!

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polymath
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Re: Title Confusion

Post by polymath » August 16th, 2011, 2:43 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:This is something that's troubled me from day one. There are two distinct plot lines...divided into two pretty distinct sections. It's like those long novels that are divided up into books. Book I, Book II, etc. Only there are two books. I do resolve all the plot threads but as you mention, thematic unity is important. The espionage angle, I feel, is resolved. The leader of the spy ring is captured and bargains with the male MC for amnesty by turning over all of the names of the people involved. Of course, the caveat is that he "forgets" Julienne was ever involved. That thread would make for a good sequel! I see blackmail, of course...
Seems logical enough if the two distinct plotlines converge as they unfold. For thematic relevance they ought best correlate to the main dramatic complication. I see that as Julienne's need for retribution for the injustices she encounters that compel her to action.

By logical I mean the plot movement that thematic unity provides from logical causation. If something happens in the beginning and something else happens in the middle and something else happens in the end to no meaningful end of it all, that's the dread happenstance chance plot of the logical fallacy known as non sequitur, it does not follow, often a consequence of post hoc ergo propter hoc: believing that temporal succession implies a causal relation (after this; therefore, because of this), or cum hoc ergo propter hoc: believing that correlation implies a causal relation (with this; therefore, because of this), (Wikipedia: Logical Fallacy).

For sequels, a larger complication looms but isn't in the forefront until later finalization when those larger forces come into direct contention.
oldhousejunkie wrote:As female spies were generally not executed (just incarcerated, often for very short periods, the exception being Rose Greenhow), Julienne getting away with no ramifications is pretty plausible. Julienne splits town because she doesn't want to deal with the fact that she married a guy that was working for the enemy--nor does she want to know exactly what he would do.
Again, credible and logical. I presume at some point Julienne divorces Alex, or vice versa, just so that complication is finalized as much as possible.
oldhousejunkie wrote:I just picked up another beta reader yesterday, so I'm hoping to get more feedback on how to bring things together. I can't imagine re-writing the whole last half, taking out the second love interest, etc. He contributes to a fairly dramatic conclusion--and I like him, even though he goes BSC.
Consider, rather than rewriting the second half, introducing the second love interest in the first half. Preposition him so his significance poses a promise to be realized later on, somewhat like foreshadowing, but not quite necessarily to that degree of dramatic significance for the first half. He's more than an auxiliary character, occasionally remind readers he's looming, but his significance doesn't come out until the second half. It's the corollary to Checkhov's Gun. If a gun is fired in the last act, it better be prepositioned in the opening act, or at least by the time of the middle act.

I don't know what BSC means.
oldhousejunkie wrote:And as I have wrote this out, I just had an idea that struck me about that rogue spymaster. I will admit that he is a dangling thread (pesky those are) and this "new" idea would effectively give Julienne a reason to return to the States for more than just doing the whole happily ever after thing. **runs off to story board**
Ah, yes. I hope your epiphanies lead to tying up those pesky loose threads, ones with dangling ends and ones with happenstance chance coincidental late arrivals. Best wishes for a successful outcome all around.
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Re: Title Confusion

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 18th, 2011, 5:13 pm

polymath wrote:Consider, rather than rewriting the second half, introducing the second love interest in the first half. Preposition him so his significance poses a promise to be realized later on, somewhat like foreshadowing, but not quite necessarily to that degree of dramatic significance for the first half. He's more than an auxiliary character, occasionally remind readers he's looming, but his significance doesn't come out until the second half. It's the corollary to Checkhov's Gun. If a gun is fired in the last act, it better be prepositioned in the opening act, or at least by the time of the middle act.
That's flippin' brilliant, Polymath. The main male MC knows the secondary male MC/love interest (they're neighbors...although Julienne doesn't know this until the second half) but I never thought of introducing him earlier in the plot. I could build some real animosity between the two, which will only exacerbate the complication in the second portion.
polymath wrote:I don't know what BSC means.
"BSC" means "bat sh*t crazy." :-) It was the easiest way to describe the character!

Thanks (as always) for the thoughts!

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polymath
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Re: Title Confusion

Post by polymath » August 18th, 2011, 5:37 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:
polymath wrote:That's flippin' brilliant, Polymath. The main male MC knows the secondary male MC/love interest (they're neighbors...although Julienne doesn't know this until the second half) but I never thought of introducing him earlier in the plot. I could build some real animosity between the two, which will only exacerbate the complication in the second portion.
Outstanding, oldhousejunkie. That's the kind of stuff that builds tension to soaring peaks: exacerbating complications. And nothing like animosity to show true character: traits, behaviors, personalities.
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