When I started this journey it was one novel with one title: Carrick. When I continued the it in 2017 it morphed into Firedamp. Now, in 2018, it’s become a four part series with four titles and one novella. There was absolutely no way I could include all the back history and resolutions in one book and have it make sense to the reader. Not only that, the number of characters I created would make for one thick book.
When I started this journey it was one novel with one title: Carrick. When I continued it in 2017 it morphed into Firedamp. Now, in 2018, it’s become a four part series with four titles and one novella.
No. I couldn’t do that. I mean, look at a series like Harry Potter. I’m sure Rowling knew from the start that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that it would take many more books to resolve as many story arcs as she could. Mine isn’t going to be that epic and half that size, but I was dreaming if I thought that all the historical events I wanted to include in a story could be resolved within 400-500 pages.
But with the addition of three extra books came another problem: What do I CALL them all? Naming the series “The Firedamp Chronicles” was easy, because everything will come to a resolution in the fourth and final book. Naming the novella was easy because that sets off the series of events that shapes one of the main characters. The following three books have presented the bigger challenge. At first I thought I had the first one set in stone – that is, until I Googled it and found dozens of other books with a similar title. Scratch that, reverse it. You don’t want to “follow the crowd” with your title for fear of claims of copying from readers or the writers themselves. Do you continue with the same theme of your proudly chosen original title by trying to work the four titles so they form a sentence?
That’s the crazy part about the creative journey. Everyone has developed their own “rules” and “do’s and don’t’s” of the writing process that it can get more confusing than it needs to be. I’ve come to the realization that my process of choosing the “perfect” title actually sums up the meaning of “Working Title.” That’s what that term is there for. You know your characters, your story arcs and where you want to take it. One day the title will just fall in my lap and I’ll know that it’s the perfect one. Or ones, in this case!
So for now, the titles on my Works in Progress page will stay just that – as working titles. I’ve got months of writing ahead of me and I don’t need to rush the process. Seeking advice is always a good thing, especially from those who have been writing far longer than you have. Just remember to listen to your instincts and not let your mind become too cluttered with all the “you should do this’s” and “you shouldn’t do that’s.” Glean what you need, leave behind what you don’t. And just enjoy writing.
Glean what you need, leave behind what you don’t.