Author Topic: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story  (Read 5095 times)

Offline *Lorraine*

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Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« on: January 30, 2008, 10:42:41 AM »
I'm usually ok at thinking up titles but I'm really struggling to think of one for this so any suggestions would be very welcome, please feel free to use those wonderful imaginations of yours!

 :)

Plus I'd be grateful for any general comments.

Many thanks.

Lorraine



At one month short of his twenty-first birthday, Jake Hooper was too young to have wasted any of his precious time thinking about heaven and what it might be like.  If asked, he may well have mentioned nubile women, rock and roll, pizzas and an endless supply of alcohol, so discovering that it resembled a swanky gentleman’s club gave him a bit of a shock.  The sort of shock that was second only to finding himself dead.

His leather wingback chair was surrounded by rows of books which lined the walls of what appeared to be the type of library seen in the finest of country houses.  A dim half-light struggled through a gap in the heavy curtains and was supplemented by table lamps that sat beside the numerous chairs, the glow from each bulb shrouded in a blood-red shade.  Jake had only ever seen photographs of such rooms.  He left membership of the National Trust to old people, like his parents.

Just as his hazy mind was trying to piece together the manner of his death, what he assumed to be a member of the seraphim slid alongside as if on castors.  The man was dressed immaculately, like an actor playing the role as Jeeves.
   “Sir,” said the man, proffering a tray that radiated a silvery sheen, “amuse-bouche and an aperitif.”  With an almost imperceptible nod of his head he placed a plate of delicate morsels and a cut crystal sherry glass on the table at Jake’s elbow before gliding away as silently as he’d arrived.  It was then that Jake became conscious of the silence, dense and heavy, broken only by the tock of a clock on the mantelpiece above the smouldering fire.

Something elemental told him that he wasn’t used to such an annihilation of sound.  A memory began to stir.  It was his student digs, surrounded by the constant hubbub of London, he remembered it as being alive with noise, the top floor flat struggling to contain five young men whose vocal and physical presence vied for attention above a perpetual soundtrack of music.

Jake popped a miniature cube of something resembling omelette into his mouth, it was strangely tasteless, but thinking about music brought back the far-away echo of something he’d been listening to when he died.  The distant throb of a drum mixed with the complex notes of a guitar; it was a track from Abraxas.

It had been a stifling hot afternoon.  He’d taken the girl back to his, they’d risen with the increasing heat to the fourth floor, he’d slung the large sash window open and put Santana on the deck of his Dansette.  They’d stood inches apart in a room cluttered with the debris of student life. The girl had smelt of musk, she’d been dark and slim with luscious buttocks and Jake had planned to be gyrating hip to hip by the time the seductive Samba Pa Ti filled the air.  Like a magician he’d pulled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s from his carrier bag.

Sherry.  Something his Nan drank at Christmas but Jake reached for the glass anyway, holding the frighteningly fragile stem between finger and thumb he took a sip of the pale liquid.  Somehow it managed to taste of less than nothing.  Over-rated, he thought, and certainly nowhere near as good as the fierce Tennessee whiskey that he’d shared with the girl, the flavour of which was fading fast from his memory and his taste buds.

The girl, Zoe or possibly Zara - (Congratulations Hooperman, his flatmates had said, you managed to get from A to Z before the end of term) - had thrown his duvet out of the open window and climbed onto the small area of flat roof where the sun blazed down and the noise of the city rose up.  There was a chimney stack of soot-stained bricks, a drunken aerial and a sheet of neatly fitted blue-grey lead that lapped up the edges of the shallow parapet.  They’d stretched out, talking and drinking and had taken turns to roll Rizlas.  Hers, a neat but modest spliff; his, untidy but generous.  They looked across the rooftops at the bar graph that was the City of London skyline.  She’d said it was ugly enough to be truly beautiful.

Jake was recalling the physical weight of the heat that afternoon when he became aware that the atmosphere in the library was also heating up.  Logs had been added to the fire and they were well ablaze, crackling and spitting angry embers onto the hearth.  He tried to run a finger between his neck and the tight starched collar of his shirt.  The uncomfortable waistcoat had a grip on his ribs.  Perspiration gathered like an army along his hairline.

The square bottle was standing empty on the window sill as the notes from Carlos Santana’s guitar tumbled through the Incident at Neshabur.  The girl had gracefully twisted her long dark hair into a loose knot, she sat cross-legged, reading from the album cover: “We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it.  We called it Mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas.”  Jake listened to the smoke in her voice while his eyes followed the angular lines of her long limbs.  He’d stood up, knocked back the last mouthful in his tumbler, held it to his eye and looked through the pattern on the bottom of the glass.  The world had been distorted, shapes and colours swirled, they broke up and were rearranged, like a kaleidoscope.  It was enchanting, enticing.  He’d taken a step forward.
   “Hermann Hesse,” quoted the girl, then she looked up, squinting into the empty sunshine.

Jake was sitting in the plush depths of the wingback chair but felt himself plummeting as if he were in a speeding elevator.  He looked suspiciously at the flavourless food and drink but decided that it was the oppressive heat that was to blame for the unpleasant sensation.  It took all his strength to stand up, his body felt heavy, as if it were filled with wet sand.  He struggled to negotiate a route through the maze of chairs then he stepped out of the library into an immense hallway.  The geometric pattern of black and white floor tiles made him dizzy, there was a high domed ceiling and lots of dark mahogany panelling.  A sign in gold italic script read Demian Club - Gentlemen Only - No Ladies Admitted.  Jake needed fresh air, he staggered into the open wedge of the revolving door and pushed against the wood, imagining the real heaven that must be waiting for him outside.

It was when the door spat him back onto the black and white tiles that Jake Hooper began to think that maybe he hadn’t gone to heaven after all.
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Offline ma100

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 11:09:15 AM »
Hey Lorraine I thought this a very good read. The tech of it I will leave to those who know. As for a title I'm not good at that either so all I can think of is "Hell caught me," Not good I'm afraid any way well done.
Mairi

Offline *Lorraine*

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 11:41:08 AM »
Hi Mairi

Thanks for your suggestion, there's nothing wrong with 'Hell Caught Me'.  It's an interesting idea to put the word 'hell' in the title, I hadn't thought of that. 

I've been trying so hard to think of a name that my mind has gone blank.  :-\

I'll wait and see what other folk might come up with.

Cheers Mairi!  :)

Lorraine
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Offline Omni

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 04:17:17 PM »
I think Hell Caught Me gives away too much. I'd figured the ending long before I got to it, from the title. Without the element of surprise at the end the story is very limited.

The title you choose might depend on your target audience. Maybe something lighthearted, such as Wot, No Pizza? Something suggestive like Waiting for Nubiles in the Gentlemen's Club, or a phrase from the story such as Smoke In Her Voice, or Goodbye, Carlos Santana. There's a lot to work with within the story.

Omni

Offline Christopher Silva

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 04:38:55 PM »
Lorraine,  I enjoyed this short. As for a title, how about: A Soul-fool Retreat

Good work and I hope to read more soon.


Chris
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 06:08:06 PM by Funwriter »

Offline sune

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 05:29:26 PM »


Beautifully written inner dilemma..breaking the conditioned patterns and theories of the so called World..
The obvious illusiory painting that seems so REAL with all it's never ending dilemmas, attractions..that seduced us to believe in it..
You've done a wonderful job, breaking inertia to step out of the BOX to No-man's land that has
 no limitations or boundaries or man made rules or thought patterns....
Well done..Lorraine..
You're so brave..!!
How about "Journey through the tunnel?  journey through the illusion?..Step out of the obvious?.....
Step in  to the No-man's land....oh, gosh..just some ideas..!  ::) ;D

Offline Don

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2008, 09:03:07 PM »
Lorraine - Since you've made poor Jake's eternity a gentlemen's club, why not entitle it just that: The Gentlemen's Club.  It's apt, it's descriptive, and it doesn't give too much away. 

Oh, one more thing.  I liked it.  Very well done.
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Offline *Lorraine*

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 04:37:27 AM »
Hi and thankyou to Omni, Funwriter, sune and don86usa for your kind comments and imaginative title suggestions.

Thanks also for the advice about not giving too much away.  ;)

I like the idea of keeping it simple, working with something from within the story and perhaps alluding to the 'journey' or 'step' taken by Jake.

So much to think about!

Any more ideas out there?

Thanks again for your help everyone.

Lorraine

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Offline Symphony

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2008, 09:29:02 AM »
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.

Loved every minute.

I'm rubbish with titles, too. All I can think of is 'To Hell with Gentlemen' - it's sort of ambiguous, but maybe it still gives it away?

Fab. (have I said that already? LOL)

Symphony

Offline *Lorraine*

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2008, 12:00:53 PM »
Thanks Symphony, I'm really chuffed that you liked it.

I'm glad I'm not alone when it comes to thinking up titles.  I tend to dodge the problem by using just one word but I know that's a bit of a cop-out really.  Without help I'd probably call this piece 'Jake' which means I'd lose out on an opportunity to 'sell it' to the reader.

But with all your suggestions coming in at least I feel as if I'm getting closer!

Any more?  :)

Lorraine
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Offline fwright

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2008, 12:14:08 PM »
Hi Lorraine,

Very Nice job.  I enjoyed your story.  Noticed this one omission,

Quote
He’d taken the girl back to his flat, they’d risen with the increasing heat to the fourth floor, he’d slung the large sash window open and put Santana on the deck of his Dansette.

Titles are so important, and I agree you should avoid giving anything away, because the surprise ending is key.  There's already been some good suggestions.  I've always been a Samba Pa Ti fan.  Since it plays an integral part in your story, and is somewhat mysterious in itself, you might consider using that as the title, or as a part of the title.  Like  Samba Pa Ti, a fading memory or something.

fw
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 09:56:30 PM by fwright »
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Offline Dragons Quill

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 05:22:21 PM »
Really enjoyed your' piece.  I think it's very interesting that Hell would be a Gentlemans' Club with no
women, but now that I think of it, that would be HELL!!  ;D

How about the title:  "No Heavan for Jake Hooper", or "No Heavan for Mr. Hooper"?

Keep up the good work!!

Dragons' Quill

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2008, 06:41:19 PM »
Hi nice bit of work. what about 'Time Gentlemen Please' or 'Last orders' or 'One Mans Heaven...' or 'Cherry Forever'
whatever you decide let us know.
Bye.

Offline Symphony

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 03:19:46 AM »
Oooooooo Teller - I love that Time Gentlemen, Please!   You can read so much into that.  Very clever.

Actually, there've been a few really interesting suggestions and you know what? The whole discussion has actually given me a few ideas for short stories of my own! Brilliant.

Lorraine - don't stress over it. When that title comes to you, you'll KNOW IT! A bit like a character name, I think.

Symphony

Offline ladylaughalot

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Re: Help needed! Suggestions please for untitled short story
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2008, 06:44:03 PM »
I really liked the title "To Hell with Gentlemen" but I think it might give the impression that the story is going to be quite funny.

I thought "A heavenly afternoon and a hellish night" might suit, but it probably also gives FAR too much away! lol! I'm not particularly great with titles either  ;D
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