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:
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 No Thing
The Not Anything
The Almost Barely Something
The Barely Bare Things
The Bare Bears
The Berenstein Bears
The Baron’s Stein
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 Ever-so-light Something
The Ephemeral Something
Something this Way Ephemeral Comes
The Everlasting Something
Nothing was working--except the nothing part (again!), so I stuck with it and brainstormed more:
The Being and Nothingness
The Being from Nothingness
The B-man from Nottingham
Das Lied von der Nottinghammerung
The Song of Something
The Some of All Things
Something of Nothing
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:
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!
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.
(Good luck to my fellow NaNoWriMoites!)
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