Titles are hard. Maybe not the hardest part of the writing process hard, but definitely way more work than they should be. Sometimes, I just want to cop out and do what the writers of Friends did: just call every piece "The One Where (x)", because that's usually how people refer to stories anyway.
Man, I mentioned Friends in the first (and now second!) paragraphs. That's a high bar to set for this post, compadres.
I have no real strategy for titling my stories. Sometimes it's a pun on the contents, sometimes I just grab a random catchy phrase from the body, sometimes I just half-ass it (It's a story about a killer tree...I am calling it..."The Tree"...). If I spend more than five seconds on coming up with a title, I start to second-guess myself, because titles are actually kind of important when you think about it. It's the first thing people see, you have to use them to refer to the piece itself. You have to choose one that a) doesn't sound stupid when you say it out loud and b) makes people want to actually read the damn thing in the first place. Stress!
Damn, this was a fun story to write It reads like it's about something, but I didn't consciously make it that way. I'm not a preachy kind of writer. I don't really sit down with a clearly-worded manifesto and then pound out stories with an articulated moral. But sometimes they happen.
My original idea when I was brainstorming was to simply make a macho story about robots fighting. It was going to be sort of a follow-up to "Roxie Rides The Train", except on the other side of the pond where the big scary German war machines were. Instead, I started thinking about WWI trench warfare, because I'm kinda random. Squirrel!
I'd originally written about two more parts to the story. It was going to involve a lot more time with General Clay after his metamorphosis. It would explore the background of the war, what goes on in factories, how the war effort is supplied and carried out. And then they'd find a surviving village of humans and have to make a decision on what to do with them.
But I decided that the piece was probably better shorter and more self-contained. I'm going to flag the story mentally as good fodder for a book in the future, though, albeit one that's firmly in the category of "nobody's going to read this and any decent agent will have giggle fits contemplating trying to sell it to a publisher".
I really love writing these pithy little concept pieces. At the end of the day, slightly preachy/wordy sci-fi pulp is where I hang my hat.
This week's going to be another piece of flash fiction, probably by Thursday morning, because I'm flying out to Denver for the weekend to hang out with family/do some epic brewery-crawling. So, updates will be scant until Thursday next week.