Saturday 18 August 2012


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 clichéd 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.

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