Seventy-Thousand Words and a Title

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How do book titles develop?

I've heard of many ways in which book titles become a thing. Some authors begin with only a title and then develop a story from there. Others hit a magic moment during writing that reveals a title, perhaps a clever turn of phrase, or an unexpected snippet of dialog from a character. There are many methods, all of which are equally valid and interesting.

For me, the idea of a book title has been sitting in the back of my mind, "percolating," as I like to call it. My spouse and I were kicking around ideas one morning at breakfast, and we came up with some pretty good ones (she had better ones than I did.) After we settled on one, I went to put some dishes in the sink and thought of a kind of funny title that was a play on words.

I almost didn't say it out loud, but I did. Immediately, my spouse keyed into it, and then it simultaneously hit both of us just how great of a title it was for the novel. It has layers. So. Many. Layers.

Meme of film character Shrek saying, "It's got layers"
Like an onion!

So, now I have a title that I've placed onto my manuscript. It replaced the original working title. The original working title will always be how I think of the story—it's just how my brain works. But, this new one will be the face of the piece of work.

I'm thrilled with it. And, since I've never written a book before, I'm not sure just how much information to throw out there on the Internet. So, for now, I'm keeping the title on the page and in my brain.

What's new since last week?

  • I broke through 70,000 words. I'm pretty sure I get to time travel after I write 18,000 more. The novel is following my projection and looks like it will wrap up at around 150,000 words.
  • I sent a sample chapter to a friend of mine, and she loved it. Also, it spooked her enough to be creeped out in her own house at night. I'm taking that as a win.
  • I'm keeping a running "Editing Checklist" so that every time I finish a new chapter, I go back and run through my editing checklist for areas of improvement. It's been beneficial so far to get the first draft of each chapter into great shape. I'm also taking this editing checklist and going back to previous chapters with it. I will slowly work my way backward until I finish an editing pass for the first chapter (while writing new chapters.)