At the Writers of the Future panel at BayCon, Tim Powers mentioned the fact that some themes, settings or words become rampant in the many manuscripts that come through the contest. He mentioned the word "smirk" as being a current favorite among new authors. Also, beginning a story with waking up screaming, waking up naked, waking up in a white room, waking up naked and screaming in a white room. You get the idea.
I'm currently reading a book by a fellow Broad (Broad Universe), Pauline Baird Jones, entitled The Key. It's a great book so far (60 pages in). Love her sense of humor. While at Bay Con, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was fortunate enough to hear Kage Baker read from Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key. Yesterday, I heard of another book with "Key" in the title. Then I started seeing them everywhere. So I did a quick, less than exhaustive search.
Published in 2008, we have:
Duma Key by Stephen King
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Key to Redemption by Talia Gryphon
Key to Conspiracy by Talia Gryphon
The Gaudi Key by Andreu Carranza and Martin Esteban
The Stone Key by Isobelle Carmody
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich
Cathy's Key by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman
Bone Key by Keith R A DeCandido
The Blackstone Key by Rose Melikan
The Golden Key by Dan Lee
Or Else my Lady Keeps the Key by Kage Baker
The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle
The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda
The Other Key by Dave Hartman
The Three Keys of the Three Thrones... and the Storm by Anthony Scalici
In the Key of Death by Robert S Levinson
In late 2007:
The Key by Pauline Baird Jones
The Dagger-Key: And The Lost Treasures of Kebadon by Daniel L. Ferguson
The First Key of Kalijor by Paul Lell
George's Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking
Okay, so if you have a great novel you're working on now, just don't use the word "key" in the title. That ship has sailed. And please, no smirking. I've also noticed the word "darkening" a lot all of a sudden within the text of recent books.
Now on to my good news. I have a date for the appearance of my flash SF story, "The Heist", at Every Day Fiction. Mark your calendars for June 9th! That's next Monday as I write this.
I'm reading a Kage Baker Company novel, The Children of the Company right now, at the same time as I'm reading The Key. I finished the previous, The Life of the World to Come, before BayCon. I'm hooked. I just read the story, "Let the Word Take Me", by Juliette Wade, whom I met at BayCon and have since corresponded with. It's in the July/August issue of Analog. I highly recommend it. She delivers a thought-provoking piece on bridging the (alien) culture gap to break the language barrier. That's a gross over-simplification. Just read it. Trust me. :)