Kaye George, the author of four mystery series, has been nominated for Agatha awards twice. She writes short stories, mysteries, and a bit of horror. She also reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog. – AP
What is accessible?
What do I mean by that? I picked up that word from a fellow musician. When our string quartet would attempt to play something that we had a tough time with, she would say that the piece was not accessible. I guess that means it’s too hard. Very accessible pieces are very easy.
How does that translate to literature? Some writing is accessible for the reader and some isn’t. I’m sure you’ve read things that you had to slog through, maybe for a class, or maybe because you’ve heard it’s a worthwhile work of literature and you should read it. Life’s too short, now that I’m out of school, for that sort of thing!
On the other hand, I don’t like music or reading that is TOO easy. Our church choir recently performed two pieces, Mozart’s “Te Deum” and Puccini’s “Credo”. Our choir had to work hard on both of them and I thought it was great fun. I get tired of singing things that take no thought at all. I also like reading books that teach me something. If there’s a word I don’t know, I like it best when I pick up the meaning from the context. Then I feel I’ve learned a new word on my own. I’m not above looking up rare, obscure words, but I don’t like the text to be full of them. I can’t get anything out of reading a bunch of words I don’t know and can’t derive!
Do you think this book title is accessible: Eine Kleine Wassermusick? OK, I thought it was really, really cool, but was told that it wasn’t. This book started life as Eine Kleine Wassermusick. The series features a sleuth who is a classical musician, as I am. To keep to the theme, I came up with that title as a cross between the names of two pieces of classical music, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart and “Watermusic” by Handel. The German means “A Little Night Music.”
No one liked the title. It was inaccessible.
So I changed it to Song of Death. My publisher wanted to change that name, so I cast around for something they would like. They vetoed every title I thought of that contained the word “death” so I twigged to the fact that many of their mysteries contained the word “murder” in the title instead. My clever daughter came up with Eine Kleine Murder. They say each generation gets smarter than their parents. Thank goodness.
People who know a little about music, and who know Mozart’s piece (or least the name of it) like the title a lot. I wonder, how does this title strike other people? If they don’t understand it, I hope they’re curious enough to check out the story and see if they’d like to read it. It IS a standard murder mystery, just enhanced by a few musical references that I hope enrich the work.
Eine Kleine Murder
Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find some peace and quiet so she can finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree in composition. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake. The authorities dismiss the death as an accidental drowning, but when Gram’s best friend drowns in the exact same spot, Cressa just knows something is off-key in this idyllic setting. Convinced that her grandmother’s death was anything but an accident, she fights her instinct to flee and starts looking into things herself. There are lots of people and facts to consider, from the self-important property manager and his brow-beaten wife, to their salacious son, to the elderly widow who may be lacing her home-baked cookies with a dash of poison. As the body count rises, Cressa doesn’t know which will be finished first—her symphony or her life.