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That thing a novel is called

by Theo on June 1st, 2012
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WisCon was fabulous. I won’t get into it much here, because frankly I’m crap at con write-ups. Let’s just say I got to meet up with a lot of very cool people and sold out of all my remaining coloring books and there was Ethiopian food and pie and hot tubbing, and I’m already excited for next year.

A big part of the reason I’m already excited is that next year, when I do a reading, I know exactly what I’ll be bringing: an excerpt from the YA fantasy novel I’ve been working on since I was thirteen. That’s the novel I’m rewriting for my MFA thesis. It’s the story that made me want to be a writer, the story that made me learn to revise and rewrite and kill my darlings. It’s the story that made me dip a toe into comics and develop my own art style so I could put its characters on paper. This time next year, I’ll be standing up in front of a group of people who’ve never heard of this story and reading part of it aloud.

The big problem with this story right now is the title: there isn’t one. It used to be called Sixth, but that didn’t make any sense unless you’d read the book, so it wasn’t a great title. Since ditching that title, I’ve been referring to it as Book 1 of The Fantasy Series What Ate My Life (or TFSWAML for short), which will never fly with a publisher. It needs a title by the time I submit my thesis prospectus in mid-August.

So, I’ve issued myself a titling challenge: every day between now and the day I turn in my thesis prospectus, I’m going to call this book something different.

Yesterday, it was called Unchosen.

Today, its name is Bob.

Tomorrow, its name will be the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” ALL the lyrics.

On Sunday, it will be called Psychic Powers and Poor Life Choices.

And so on. I’ll be tracking the names on Twitter and, occasionally, here. Eventually, one of these names has got to stick. …Probably not the lyrics to “Stairway,” though. That’d be hell to fit on a book cover.

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  1. LisaB permalink

    I actually kinda like Unchosen. Its not quite right, but I think it has some good things going for it. It plays with some of the YA trends right now, and it evokes a rather bleak feeling.

    • Theo permalink

      I kinda like it, too. For a while in high school I considered calling it The Unchosen One. But that invokes a TV Tropes page, and yeah, it’s just not quite right.

  2. 'Lista permalink

    To me, it will always be “Book 1 of The Fantasy Series What Ate My Life”. But I like all your other names, too. Also, Chester. Chester is a good name.

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