Wednesday 9 May 2018

You Called It!

The results are in. A winner has been chosen and my next novel, until submission at least, has a title.

Thank you! I never envisaged I’d receive so many entries to my What Would You Call It? competition, nor that it would be so illuminating. Those little asides you sent explaining why you chose one title and not another? They were gold dust.

One title won by a fair few votes, one was 'Marmite', my original working title was more popular than I’d have thought it might be and none of the titles heralded no votes at all.

I suspect that, Her Place, which gained the fewest votes, was a little too vague, even obscure. Note to self: intriguing, perhaps; nebulous, no. I had a titter about my wild card: Meatballs. You certainly felt strongly for, or against, that one. I agree that it could be misleading, dangerously so, because no, this story isn’t a farce and I wouldn't want people thinking it was. Whilst there may be some farcical elements, laugh a minute it isn’t - I’m not that clever.

So, who won?

All the votes for the most popular title were put into a hat. Actually, strictly speaking, it isn’t a hat, it’s a laundry basket. It’s one of my household’s not infrequent, ‘internet fails’. We have a fair few of these. Next time I’ll post a pic of the ‘minute yellow trug’ and there’s also the doll’s house sized – it seemed such a bargain – bottle of Shiraz.  

So, the winner! My hubbie, to ensure absolute transparency, pulled out one name from the hat/laundry basket, and that name was: Liz Carr. Congratulations, Liz! If you could email me your contact details and choice of either Glass Houses or Tea and Chemo, I’ll get a signed copy to you forthwith. And please don’t forget to let me know to whom I should sign the book.

The winning title? This Remarkable of Days and I am absolutely thrilled with it. 

Although, as with many titles in my experience, it does have a question mark hanging over it: it’s knowingly grammatically incorrect. I would hope that people would assume this was deliberate (surely a mistake wouldn’t get all the way through to the title of a novel? But then, stranger things have happened...) and there is certainly a strong reason for this wording. However, some potential readers might be put off right there and then by the suspect grammar. Can I risk this? If not, I’d have to consider changing it to: This Most Remarkable of Days and whilst I’ve been spinning this around in my head, the more I think about it, the more I like the quirkiness of the winning title of this competition. For now, it stays and I’ll keep you posted on that. By the way, if you have a view on this dilemma, please do share!

Meanwhile, here’s to a version of This Remarkable of Days making it to a book shop near you some time before too very long and that, aided by a stellar cover, not only will you feel compelled to read the blurb and later the book, you’ll stick with it (almost) to the end, when you’ll see where I was coming from when I slipped Meatballs into the list 😊

Tuesday 1 May 2018

What Would You Call It?

This happened today. Two days ahead of schedule (oh yes) I scribbled the last note on the last page of the hard copy print out of the first draft of ‘In The Taxi’. This is the working title of my second novel but more on that in a moment. The fact that the pile of 260+ pages of typed copy has doubled in size under the weight of all those scribbled notes and tea cup stains, is an indication of how much work there still is to do – not least copying up this little lot. But that’s ok, because I can’t wait. I love every minute I get to spend on my own writing and I’m all-consumed with it at the moment. Ahem. Hence the reason I’ve been a little quiet of late...

But there’s a problem. My novel has a story now, but it doesn’t have a title.

I read of other writers’ euphoria at finding their title, and know of some who can’t write a word of the novel until they know what it will be called. And I understand that, because I can’t get going until I have an idea of my beginning and end. A title for some, the beginning and end for me, helps to guide the story in the right direction, to give it a focus, a string, to join up the words as they tumble from mind to paper. But the title is another thing altogether for me. I think I’ve got it, retitle every document, every note, every draft, with the new title amidst much excitement, announce it to the family, muse about it as I stuff washing frantically into the machine (so I can get back to writing) only to find that it doesn’t feel quite so perfect next time I switch on my pc.

So, can I tempt you *with a prize* to help me choose? I’ve listed, below, every title which has flown to mind over the past six months. They’re in alphabetical order so that I don’t subconsciously show a bias. I need you to choose a title which jumps out at you, which intrigues perhaps, and certainly would have you grabbing the book from the shelf, turning it over to read the blurb.

Because the title needs to stand on its own, I’m going to be really tight with the clues. I’ll simply say that I hope the story fits squarely in contemporary fiction with a ripple of humour and a smattering of tears. Four strangers, plus Paresh, the long-suffering driver who must be wondering if he’s ever going to see his home again, find themselves thrown together in a taxi only for the journey to take on a significance none of them ever envisaged. I’d better stop there.

A few provisos here. All the titles listed are ones I’d entertain so I will happily snap up the one the majority choose. However, I thought my original working title for Tea & Chemo of, ‘It Wasn’t All Bad’ was stellar: curiously inviting, not to mention doing exactly what it said on the tin. And oh, what a genius! I’d thought of it within five minutes of deciding I was going to try to write this book. Then my publisher saw it. And he laughed, very politely, and in a hugely empathetic fashion, but nonetheless telling me point blank that my book was not going to be called, ‘It Wasn’t All Bad’. Imagine googling it, he said. Ahhh. And I used to work in PR. Shame on Me! So, I’m afraid I can’t guarantee this will be the final title and, alas, I can’t even guarantee it will be accepted for publication, but here’s hoping. What I can promise is that I will log the most popular title, pick a name out of the hat from those people who chose it and one of them will get their choice of a signed copy of Glass Houses or Tea & Chemo for themselves or as a gift. To ensure no conferring, no cheating or influencing, and also because I know people have trouble commenting on here, I’m going to ask you to email me your choice via this link. The deadline is midnight on Bank Holiday Monday, 7th May.

Good luck! And thank you 😊

  • Her Place
  • In The Taxi
  • Marriage of Inconvenience
  • Meatballs
  • No Such Lonely Place
  • This Remarkable of Days