15 November 2012

Crafting the Perfect Title for NaNoWriMo!

Since the beginning of this month I have been hard at work on my NaNoWriMo entry.

I think I now have the title done. I’ve also given some thought to the story. I wrote some background notes on three characters and did some research on the setting. I also checked on some scientific aspects since it is what some would call a “steampunk” story, a story involving an alternate world where steam is the chief means of power, that is.

I began with the idea of a simple, powerful title, like War and Peace, but it was taken. So I went with a “The” title. You know, The Something. I thought it would be mysterious and attract readers. Here is what I came up with:

The Wavering Wizard of the Western Wastes

That seemed too juvenile and since I planned on having sex in this book it would not do to make it attract the YA audience. So I changed it to:

The Western Wastes

However, the impression my Beta readers had was that it was too vague. Wastes, of course, was meant to convey a sense of wilderness, a vast expanse of nothingness. That idea led me to change the title to this:

The Nothingness

Again, Beta readers felt it did not tell enough about the story, so I returned to the drawing board and came up with these possibilities:

The Nothing
The No Thing
The Not Anything
The Almost Barely Something
The Barely Bare Things
The Bare Bears
The Berenstein Bears
The Berensteins
The Baron’s Stein
The Baron
The B-man
The B
The Bee
The Nothing but B

Nothing was working except the nothingness, which seemed rich with possibilities. So I returned to my drawing board and I tried again:

The Something
The Ever-so-light Something
The Ephemeral Something
Something this Way Ephemeral Comes
The Ephemerati
The Everlasting Something
The Thing

Nothing was working--except the nothing part (again!), so I stuck with it and brainstormed more:

The Nothing
The Being and Nothingness
The Being from Nothingness
The B-man from Nottingham
The Nottinghammerite
The Nottinghammerung
Das Nottinghammerung
Das Lied von der Nottinghammerung
Das Lied
The Song
The Song of Something
The Some of All Things
Something of Nothing
Some, None

Then I went minimalist, taking my cue from the NaNoWriMo nickname:


Beta readers hated it, so in a panic I drank a lot and found myself the next morning on a street corner handing out sheets of poetry I’d written during the night on bar napkins. Then it hit me, just before the truck did, the title of my NaNoWriMo novel:

The  Somnambulist

Now I must get to work on the first chapter. Actually, the first page is crucial; even the first paragraph matters so much. However, I shall labor on that first sentence until I get it exactly right, for in the end the beginning matters most!

First draft:

Late one night, Monsieur Emile Dubois went to sleep sitting in a wrought-iron chair outside a closed café on the Rue Morgue and dreamed of Death dancing the tango wearing a pair of pink pajamas spotted with red hearts and clutching a teddy bear with a red ribbon around its neck.

Beat that!

(Good luck to my fellow NaNoWriMoites!)

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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