Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23rd
Here is a list of possible titles for my book that was called "Dunadd."

1. A Matter of Time
2. Dream Time
3. Walking Shadow (Shakespeare...Life's but a...)
4. Timespell (as in Godspell, meaning a tale)
5. Time and Tide (...wait for no man...Chaucer)
6. Shades of Time
7. Veil of Time
8. Passage of Time
9. Parallel Lives

My favourite is "Parallel Lives," even though I already have a book called "Parallel Lines (not yet published.)  Somewhere along the line, I was asked to change the title of that other book, and so I could switch it again to "Blue Horse," which is okay, since it is about a Lakotah chief called by that name. So, I am juggling. Story-telling is about juggling anyway - keeping those balls up in the air. I wonder, though, why I like stories so much better than watching men throw balls around or keep saucers spinning on rods. Watching those performers drives me absolutely bonkers, while hearing a good story is about as good as it gets.  Someone could unravel that conundrum for me and let me know.
I do like titles that take a a few words from a longer literary phrase: "The Sound and the Fury, comes from the same quote as title number 3......Life's but a walking shadow....full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  "All creatures great and small," ( from the hymn"All Things Bright and Beautiful," which is sung more in Britain, I think) is a fantastic title. "Grapes of Wrath," a favourite book of mine, has a pretty silly title, I think.  
Anyway, the long and the short of it is, you have to be flexible about titles and not get wedded to one. Like the dog gate in the back of my car, it probably won't get used.  And it's sort of like rock band names - you could just imagine Robert Plant saying to his mum and dad, "I joined this band and we're going to call ourselves Led Zepplin." Or "Mott the Hoople," or even  "The Beatles." (Knowing what impact that last group was going to have on the world, it seems like they should have had a name with a little more gravitas.)  The friends and family of these people must have secretly wondered what they were thinking choosing band names that looked like sinking as fast as that lead zepplin.
Truth is, the title doesn't matter that much. "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings," is a mouthful, so is "To Kill A Mocking Bird," but both are very good books. Led Zepplin did okay with their name. Because the book is either loved or not, and if it is, the title takes on a whole new meaning.
My editor at Simon and Schuster is Abby Zidle. She will get the final word on the title of my book, or her committee will. In the meantime, I wait.

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