Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Incredibly Difficult Task of Naming a Book, Plus How to Deal with Rejection

I'm trying to come up with a title for my young adult novel. I wrote it a few years ago and had a bunch of cool people beta read it. Mostly the feedback was positive, but I had one friend really slam the protagonist.

Get this: he called her a b----! Can you believe that? I mean, really! Come on! A b----! Thanks JOE!

Oh yeah, his name was Joe. He was pretty cool even though he slammed my firstborn. I mean, that's basically what it was. Ha ha. His girlfriend/wife (I don't know what to call her except "seriously cool chick"!) also read my book and she was awesome. I think she also thought my protagonist was a bleep. Seriously.

So because they felt this way, I obviously had to rewrite the entire damn thing. What happened is, I believe I queried five agents and when I didn't hear back I considered myself a failure. That's how I am: hyper-sensitive. It's very hard to write query letters, if you don't know, and it really blows to sit down and compose five individual letters tailored to specific agents and to not hear from them.

And why are they individually tailored? Why do that? I mean, doesn't it take forever? Yeah, it does. But if you've looked into it at all, you've heard the scathing things agents have to say about writers who send out generic form letters. They WANT you to speak directly to them and if you don't, you're in the doghouse.

Which is why when you don't hear back, it's considered rejection and you feel that all your time was wasted. And then you think, "I know, I'll enter Writer's of the Future, win, and then get published because I'm so awesome." So then you focus on writing a million short stories and proceed to forget that you should be marketing your finished novel.

And then you don't win Writer's of the Future because the contest is crap, but in the meantime, you've become a million times better as a writer and you look back at your first completed novel and you think, man, this is awesome. I mean, some of it, and I can't just let this brilliant concept go to waste. 

So then you decide to just, you know, fix it up. A little. Fixing it up a little turns into an entire rewrite. You've changed the characters, your protagonist is suddenly way more immature yet empathetic, and you've shortened the plot drastically. Basically the only thing that stays the same is the skeleton. Well, one leg of the skeleton. The rest is totally new.

This is why you don't rewrite. Unless you're like me, and you're effing CONVINCED this is the most brilliant concept to have landed in a writer's brain since J.K. and Stephenie got coffee and outlined their books together while planning to take over the publishing industry for twenty years.

Ok, I'm not THAT convinced. Or that cocky. But I loved it and couldn't just let it die as a first novel. I needed to revive it.

And the first installment is done (now I need to rewrite the second book, which I finished a while ago). I just need a decent title. One that exudes awesomeness. All I can think of is "Hunger Games." Or "Twilight." Or "The Sorcerer's Stone and the Hungry New Moons."  "The Chamber of Secret Edwards and Bellas." None of those sound very good. They're missing something. Like sense.

I will keep plugging away at it. And then, I don't know, I will design the most frickin' cool cover ever to grace the pages of the Amazon Kindle store. Ha!

My carpal tunnel is acting up. I have to stop typing! Argh! Curse you, CTS!!!!!


Aubrey Anne said...

Awesome! That's seriously impressive. I can't seem to revise my book for ANYTHING... every time I try I just get frustrated and try to forget about the whole damn thing!

N. Grotepas said...

I know how that feels. It's rough. I go back and forth between being totally in love and then resenting every word I've written AND the characters. :)