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Title Meme - Mo's Journal
February 17th, 2006
06:58 pm

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Title Meme
Gacked from marag. This is the post that answers the question: So why did you call that story by that title, mofic? For a few of my series:

I Know What You Are - This was my first series. One of my favorite scenes in the first movie was when that huge thuggish guy says to Logan "I know what you are," trying to shake him down for money. I loved the queer subtext. A number of readers have told me that they thought the title was used because Logan knows Scott's secret - that Scott is gay. But I really meant it ironically. The driving force behind the rather dysfunctional relationship the two of them develop in the series is their complete misunderstanding of each other's motivations. They don't "know what you are" but they think they do.

We're Not What You Think was the sequel to I Know What You Are and it's also a line from the film. Charles Xavier says it to Senator Kelly, saying that he doesn't need to fear mutants: "We're not what you think, not all of us." I liked it for my second series because of the "we-ness" of it. Scott and Logan are developing a real bond in this one, and I thought the title reflected that.

Canadian Nights is my favorite series title, I think. I usually come up with titles at the end (I always have a working title, so I can call the series something while I'm writing, but it usually doesn't last). This time I knew right away that I wanted to connect it to 1001 Nights (also known as Arabian Nights) and since much of the action takes place in Canada, the title seemed perfect. It's a long series, close to novel length, and it's got a lot of stories in it. There's the overall plot, but within that, Scott tells a lot of stories, as do some other characters. Scott compares himself to Scheherezade at the beginning of the series and Logan acts a bit like King Sharyar at the end. The individual stories in the series all have titles that sound like those from Arabian Nights.

Taking Chances was called "the risk series" when I was writing it. It turned into a different story from the one I'd originally imagined. I'd very carefully not written a 9/11 story in late 2001 and early 2002 when others were. I never planned to write one. The risk series was supposed to be the intersecting stories of a bunch of people who were taking emotional risks - Hank goes to work for the NIH, after a previous bad experience there; Billy comes out to his mother; Jean decides to risk marriage to Sasha, in spite of his emotionally fragile state; Adam chooses to adopt a baby, not knowing how that will affect his relationship with Jean-Paul; Scott pushes for a more committed relationship with Logan. I wanted some of the chances they took to work out well and some of them disastrously. What I didn't realize was that my characters - like the folks who went to work at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 - would find out too late that the greatest chance they took was just living their lives, getting up and going to work. The terrorist attacks took me by surprise as much as they did my characters. I guess I still had a 9/11 story in me. Once I realized that the series was going to be about the interplay between the conscious chances the characters took and the accidental ones they didn't know they were taking, the title was obvious.

Foreign Correspondence is a title that makes me smile, although I think some might think it too clever, with all its layers of meaning. There's a lot of email correspondence in it and a lot of the story titles refer to letters; Adam Greenfield, who is introduced in that series, is a foreign correspondent. And, of course, the other meaning is that what's happening in a foreign country (Belarus) corresponds in many ways to the plight of mutants back home.

I wrote a short short recently for xmenflashfic called "A Fine Romance." It tells the story of a gay Scott and a straight Jean falling in love. The title is the title of a song I always thought sounded like it was about a woman in love with a gay man (sample lyrics: "I never mussed the crease in your blue serge pants; I never got the chance; this is a fine romance.")

I'm working on the third and final series in my version of the Phoenix saga. The first series was called After the Fall, comparing Scott's loss of Jean to the expulsion from Eden. But I liked the pun of "fall" to mean autumn and used seasonal titles for many of the individual story titles. So, when I wrote a sequel, I called it Returning Spring, picking up with the seasonal theme. The third one will have "Summers" in the title, to keep up with the seasonal pattern and to show it focusses on Scott.

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