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Sunday, 16 October 2011

At a titular disadvantage - and no, a new bra won't help...

Why is naming something so hard?

 Well, apart from the obvious point, that my brain is, in fact, made of liquid cheese, and remembering what something is called is a matter of genuflecting in its direction whilst making grunting 'effort' noises...  I can generally, eventually, remember what the name is of the thing I am looking for by doing a generalised mime of the object in question although I do remember on one occasion where my wandering around doing 'scissors' mime was interpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated shadow puppet of Acherontisuchus.  And when I'm looking for...errr...that thing you use, you know, for cooking...full of holes... that thing, it's like a round of Give Us a Clue in my house.  And no, it's not a film.  Or a book.

It's a TV programme actually. Wallander, or something...

And anyway, not that sort of naming.  No, it is of book titles I wish to virtually talk to you. You see, my works in progress (or WIPs as they tend to be known in the trade - stick with me, kid, you'll soon be talking the lingo like a native..) get labelled as I work, rather like Friends episodes.  There's 'The one with that man, you know, the one with the bloke whose wife leaves him who goes to work on a trawler but discovers that he's allergic to seagulls and has to take a job squeezing teabags in a cafe' or 'The one where the cat nearly dies, and they think the cat has died but then it turns out that it was only asleep in the wardrobe and then the, not that daughter, the other one, the one with the hair, she runs away from home and it's all something to do with an anonymous letter'.  But these lack a certain something as actual book titles.  Besides which, there wouldn't be room on the cover and the title would have to be continued on the inside pages, which rather defeats the object.

So, I must choose concise, gripping titles, which encapsulate the spirit and mood of the book whilst taking into account my own, slightly peculiar, style of writing.  And, as any of you lovely people who believe that you truly know me will testify, concise is not really me.  Oh, I can grip, certainly, I can grip like a manical woman who has recently purchased the last Whippy ice-cream in the van only to be faced with a frenzied Whippy ice-cream thief, oh yes.  I can grip like nobody's business.  But concisity is just not in my nature.  Why use one word when there are thousands of unemployed syllables just floating around doing nothing and causing trouble on the streets, waving their suffixes and generally being underused?  No, I believe in getting language off benefits and into the workplace.

This is the sort of thing words get up to when not fully employed, you know.  They go all primary coloured and start getting together and whispering.  Yes, about you...

And so I am faced with a problem.  Well, several problems actually, but only one that need concern you.  The thing with the duck will resolve itself in time and I am sure that the police will understand about the whole 'underpants on the head' thing if I go and explain in person instead of waiting for the court date to come up... anyway.  My problem.  I need titles.  Only problem is, being of a suspicious nature I can't tell you what the books are actually about in case you rush out and steal my ideas and I'm left having to rewrite the one about the man, the trawler and the teabags over and over again.  So, if, without actually having anything to go on, like plot or character or anything, you can come up with some titles for my forthcoming novels, I shall be forever grateful. 

Also slightly impressed.  And probably suspicious.

And before you suggest this, obvious, title, it's been done - look.


Angela Barton said...

I always love reading your posts Jane. They either teach me something or make me snigger!! (not very lady-like!!)

Please visit my blog and collect a Friendly Blogger Award I've got for you! Just paste it to your blog and choose your own worthy candidates!

Ange (@angebarton)

Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

I know what you mean about Friends titles. My current Wip is known as The One With The Dog Called Brutus. It's catchy, but... er, I think I'll keep looking.

Glynis said...

You do make me smile, Jane. I love making up titles. It is the first thing that comes to me with regard to a novel. Title, character name and then words, lots of lovely words.

The Lions Roar is Silent
Instant Dismissal for Bachelors
Sip Slowly While Drowning
Only While You Sleep
Diamonds Never Shine
Adjusting the Life of ____
Take-Away Romance For Three

LOL, just off the top of my head...oooh, there's another!