Or what comes first: the chicken or the egg?
I’m not sure I know the answer to this. My first two novels were both written entirely without titles, and my third didn’t have a title until it was about two-thirds done. The title of my fourth novel wasn’t chosen by me, and it changed several times during the writing of the book.
For what it’s worth, I also have a notebook full of book and story titles that I may or may not ever use, and I rarely have a title for my blog until it’s written, and, by that point, I’m generally keen to get on with something else and end up calling the thing something pretty prosaic.
To be fair, I’ve found, especially with blogs, that it’s actually a good idea to give the thing a title that relates directly to what’s in the blog; otherwise, it can be a proper embuggerance trying to track down something I said at some point in the past three months or so. I have found this to my cost, but I still don’t always name the blogs in a manner that will help me out later... Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.
My next novel has a title, and I’m very excited about it. I’m excited because I happen to think it’s a rather good title, poetic, clever and apposite. I hope that it will help me to get all my thoughts in order and begin the book ahead of the game. I generally begin a new novel with nothing but the kernel of an idea, and I’m not sure that’s the most professional approach to this fledgeling career.
I wonder, though, how I will feel when my agent or editor, or publisher, or whoever else comes along during this most magical of processes... when whoever it is decides that the title doesn’t work for whatever reason, and, even at this great distance from the end of this adventure I can see all kinds of reasons why it might not be a popular title for a novel.
Perhaps I’ll keep it under wraps, perhaps I’ll only mention the title after the writing is complete. This idea has had a working title for a while now that I’m sure I can fall back on... Perhaps my title can be my very own little secret, something that I can unveil later with a little fanfare.
Perhaps, by then, the descent won’t matter to me quite so much, perhaps, once I’ve written the novel, the title will seem less important.
Right now, I’ve got work to do, and I don’t need the distraction of worrying about who’s going to have an opinion about the title, or what that opinion will be. Some things can wait.
In the meantime I’m tooting my own private little fanfare and typing the title of the next novel onto a document folder. This is going to be fun.
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