So I thought I was done with this new novel, a first draft, but yesterday I suddenly realized I had left one character hanging. He isn’t a major character — all his action is in the past and off stage — but he needed to be brought to justice. A new, final, truly last chapter popped into my mind, fully formed, and I’ll write that soon. Then I’ll reread the book from start to finish and quickly fix whatever sticks out. I figure this editing will take a week or two — it’s not a full rewrite.
I also realized the novel needs a catchier title. I’ve been calling it Stella Vero (the name of a central character), but that’s not going to get anyone’s attention. My brain is coming up with silly titles, as well as a few not so silly ones. So far I have on the list (and every idea makes the list — there’s no weeding at this stage):
Shocking Tale of A Madhouse Poetess
Jezebel At The Window Considers Her Options
She Looks Like Theda Bera
Shameless Hussies Of The Bible
Anthony And Other Trollopes
…and I’m sure I’ll think up others before I land on one. Last night, leaving a Mexican restaurant, I discovered why the image of Theda Bera figures in this book. There’s a giant mural of silent film stars, with Bera in the center, on a wall in downtown Salem, that was painted in the 1970s by (I think his name is) James Mattingly. I’ve been staring at it and loving it for years, and as this story is set in a fictional town somewhat like Salem, it makes sense that image would play into it. Stay tuned for further title ideas.