11 April 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 281, even more Mystery 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.
7. It should build mystery. Why should a potential reader buy your book and read it? This is step one of marketing. The cover must attract, the title must seduce, and the first page must convince. We are looking at the title. Let’s evaluate some of my published novels. Centurion begs the question–who? There isn’t that much mystery, but for a single word title, it conjures thoughts and ideas outside the norm. The reader thinks of the Roman Legion and should wonder enough to pick up the book.
Aegypt is an obvious mystery. The potential reader wonders at the spelling and the ideas the word Aegypt conveys. The whole idea of mystery is encapsulated in a word–plus, who doesn’t like old Egyptian ideas: mummies, Pharaohs, Queen Nefertiti, Cleopatra, pyramids, the Sphinx… I mean the word mystery could e defied by such things.
The Second Mission brings the immediate question to mind: what was the first mission? That’s the point of the novel. The End of Honor is a mystery question itself. The immediate question is how did the honor end and what caused it to end? The Fox’s Honor is similar. The potential reader asks herself, what is the Fox’s honor? A Season of Honor keeps in the same vein–what is a season of honor and what brought it about?
My two novels and the series that should be published are Sister of Light, Sister of Darkness, and Ancient Light. These also pose mysteries through their titles–we hope enough mystery to encourage a potential reader to pick up the novel. The next step is the first page, but that is an entirely different subject.
Once we have a title, we can move to the marketing materials.
At this point everything I’m doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.