Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 277, Negative Title

7 April 2015,Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 277, Negative Title

Announcement:  Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy.  You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com.  Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.

I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:

1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.

All novels have five discrete parts:
1.  The initial scene (the beginning)
2.  The rising action
3.  The climax
4.  The falling action
5.  The dénouement

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly.  Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.

Cover Propsal

If you are setting a title on a work yourself or your publisher asks you for ideas (assuming you don’t have a title already), here are some ideas for developing a title.

1.  It needs to be pithy.

2.  It needs to be marketable.

3. It needs to be short, but not too simple.      

4.  It needs to be unique, but not too unique.

5.  It should not be too similar to works with negative connotations.  There is a lot of stuff on the internet.  When you make your search on your title, be on the lookout for negative works with similar titles or similar titles of any kind with a connotation negative to your writing.

I looked at this closely for my novel, Centurion.  Believe it or not, the theme of the Roman Legion is used and regarded as a standard motif in many erotic homosexual stories.  A general search for the word Centurion will bring up some.  I didn’t feel this was negative enough to not use Centurion as the title, but you can see where this might be an issue.  My novel Centurion appeals to all ages and groups–it is a novel for adults, but it is not an erotic or homosexually themed novel.

Likewise, my novel, Sister of Darkness has a title that is similar to a single erotic horror novel.  Sister of Darkness is suspense and might be considered by some to have horror elements in it, but it is not erotic by any measure.  Still a single other novel outside the main genre of the novel didn’t seem like too much of an issue to me.  The problem of negativity becomes obvious when you make a search and come up with thousands of results of a similar negative nature.  You might be able to guess which titles could result in these kinds of results–then again, that’s the point in making a search.

Here is a simple example.  If you choose the title: Big Johnson takes a Trip.  You may already know the connotations of Big Johnson.  If you don’t, perhaps you shouldn’t google it.  In any case, unless you intend, with this title, something sexual, you shouldn’t use it.  Plus, the title might not be used (I didn’t check it), but the search will bring up thousands of similar negative results.  Negative, if you don’t want to be associated with erotic content.

Whatever you do, just check your title in  search before you set it.

6.  It should encapsulate some measure of the theme.

At this point everything I’m doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:



About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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