8 April 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 278, Theme 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.
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.
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.
6. It should encapsulate some measure of the theme. This should be the basis of the title–the title should make some reference back to the theme of the novel. Thus Centurion is about a centurion. Aegypt is about ancient Egypt and Egyptian ideas. The Second Mission is about the second mission into time. The End of Honor is about the end of honor in a culture. The Fox’s Honor is about the honor of an individual called the Fox. A Season of Honor is about the reclaiming of honor in a culture. Sister of Light is about the sister of light. Sister of Darkness is about the sister of darkness. I’ll leave you to read the books and gather who these people are. That’s my connection to the next recommendation, but I need to give you a little more about theme.
In building a title, the theme is a primary consideration. You are trying to put together an idea in a word or a short statement that meets all the requirements above and below. This shouldn’t be that difficult. If it is really hard, use a note from brainstorming and bring in your readers. I’ve done that before.
I’ve brainstormed every word and word combination I could think of that grounded the theme and fit the general criteria I’ve listed. I’ve asked my readers to brainstorm too. I’ve presented my list to my readers and asked their opinions. I did this especially with Ancient Light. My publisher wanted a title for the overall series. I put ideas out to my readers, and they helped me pick a series title. This is a good way to get an idea that might be different from the one you expected.
7. It should build mystery.
At this point everything I’m doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.