Saturday, 18 August 2012

Milestone!

As I mentioned, I've been letting things slide a little and struggling to get on with any writing. But no more. The breakthrough was a resurrection of the old solution of a ban on the things I want to do. My Minecraft shortcut is now titled 'not until you have a title'. And within half a day of the ban being enacted, I have a title. Kinda.

I have an overarching title for the trilogy. A Lonely Road. It's a wee bit clich├ęd and like all titles and names I actually think about instead of coming up with in a flash of blinding inspiration, I alternate between being totally sold on it and convinced it's terrible. It could change, but at least I have something.

I got it from a song lyric (prizes for guessing the song). It's a song I heard for the first time a couple of years ago, when this novel was still in its idea stages - although it wasn't a new song then - and immediately I both liked it and noticed that nearly all of it was remarkably applicable to Alexis, my long-suffering MC. I spent much of last night googling for tips and ideas on how to come up with a title.

There are any number of articles on that subject out there, but sadly most of them say the same thing, which is to not sweat it, a title will probably just come to you, and if all else fails sell it as 'untitled', or 'working title:_', since the publisher will probably end up changing your title anyway.

Perfect. Unless you're planning to self-publish.

If they do have any tips, it's mostly variations on the same thing: write down all the words that are remotely connected to your book, and stare at them until some collection of them turn into a title. This is a more helpful example than most. Well I have a page of that in my writing-things-down book, with nothing to show for it.

And I found this fascinting little app, which looked like a godsend, but after playing about with it for a while, I've come to the realisation that what you type in the box has absolutely no effect on anything except to bring up a little list of vital statistics in case you can't count or recognise letters. You can even put in a single word, and fill in the 'second word' box, and it won't bat an eyelid (although it does smell a rat if you don't type anything). The score seems to be based solely on the boxes ticked. Which means that you could come up with a formula for a best-selling title, if you had the patience. Apparently the highest score available is 83%, and the highest I've been able to find is 69% - A Lonely Road got that, with figurative, adjective with noun, preposition/article, adjective, no. Let me know if you work out the 'winning formula'!

But there are more useful things out there. Once you scroll past the utterly obvious bit, this article does have a list of places whence an idea could spring. This one is quite a nice step-by-step that's unusual in that most of the steps are concrete enough to actually try to follow. And for me, this one was the gold. I'm lucky enough to have a song that I associate with this novel, so once I had the idea of song lyrics, I immediately jumped to that one, and then to one of the most memorable and applicable lyrics and Bob's your uncle. Well, actually Rob's my brother, but close enough.

But unfortunately I'm only halfway there, and that's looking at it optimistically. You could say I'm only one quarter of the way there, since I need four titles in total: one for the trilogy and one for each book. I'm hoping to come up with all three book titles together because I want them to have something to do with each other. but I'll settle for a title for the first one for now.

So I guess it's only a half-mile stone. But still, progress.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

It's Been a While

I have some apologising to do. First, apologies for the long silence. Second, apologies for this post, which is probably going to be rambling and pointless and not terribly interesting, and possibly misspelled because the T on my keyboard is playing up.

I was away without internet access for a week, so I couldn't post, but somehow after that I didn't manage to get a post out and all of a sudden it had been over a week since I meant to get back to blogging. I've been shamefully unproductive since the start of the summer holidays: I got my edited draft finished before than, but since I've done little more than toy with a few ideas for revisions, and I've sadly neglected both this blog and my twitter feed, although I really need to be working on building a platform. I think I'm supposed to have a website as well, and to have worked out how to use Triberr and MYWANA and all of that sort of stuff.

I'm also no further forward with titles, and every time I think I've made a decision about publishing, I hear something else that makes me reconsider, or it turns out that the decision has sired a litter of smaller decisions that all need to be considered and weighed up and finally, painfully, made. Finally decided to definitely self-publish, probably? Fine, now will it be in your own name, or that of a press you will start up? And how exactly does one go about starting up an independent press to publish one's books?

Getting a draft finished, getting through a round of revisions and actually giving the wretched thing to some people to read felt so huge, so very much as though I was nearly there, but now I think I'm sort of lost.

I've also been intending, for a month or two, to rebrand this blog. I was never quite happy with the name - which my brother thought up and talked me into, and which I've steadily alternated between loving and loathing ever since. But however good it was or wasn't for a blog about life, the universe, and everything, the pun is sort of lost on a writing blog. And then the whole thing was started when I didn't know what I was doing, and hasn't been properly sorted out since.

Hopefully, this week or maybe next, I'll finally get around to doing it.

I'm being good now: today I finally started rewriting my opening scene, the only significant change I've decided on yet for my second round of editing. And I recently had an unexpected windfall which ought to take at least a good chunk out of the stuff that costs actual money, like professional editing and websites.

And in less than a month I will be an actual published author! Well, a bit. Remember this? Well, I may have said around the time, but it did get entered into the contest (Eliza, lovely person, said she wanted to make an exception about the length), and it came fourth, and is being published in Open Doors, an anthology by Wayman Publishing, on the fourth of September.

It's only a very short little bit of a story, but check this out: