Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Draft Two! And It's Title Time

by Stephanie Black

Yesterday, I officially finished the second draft of my current work in progress. “Officially” means I have declared it done, even though, yeah, I know there’s THAT issue I need to deal with (THAT issue is for draft three). See, I’ve got a little problem with Stupid Heroine Syndrome. You know the drill—you need the heroine to get herself in a serious pickle so you can have that exciting climactic confrontation with the villain where the heroine nearly gets killed—or maybe she DOES get killed, eh? No spoilers here. Maybe she DOES die, and the ending of the story takes place in the spirit world, where she meets this hunky guy who was BFFs with Captain Moroni . . . anyway, where was I? Stupid heroines. She needs to get herself in danger, but right now, her getting in danger kind of makes her look dumber than a bag of dirt. You want the reader cheering her on, not thinking wow, sister, if you’re that clueless, I’ll root for the villain. So I need to do some tweaking.

Another thing I need to deal with: characterization. Right now the hero is a big, hero-shaped pancake. He’s a really nice pancake, but he could use some depth. The villain also needs work. When he was wisecracking at the climax, I realized, whoa, wait a second. This guy is not a wisecracker. So I changed that, but I still don’t have my head really wrapped around who he is. And I have a bunch of research questions I need answered. Furthermore, I’m afraid the book might be a bit flabby. Draft two clocked in at nearly 106K, and I still have stuff I need to add. Chances are, there’s some fat in there that I could trim—wordiness, repetitiveness, that description of the Paris sewers, the exposition on the whiteness of the whale, etc.

I printed out the book so I can read it through, start to finish. It’s amazing how different it is reading a manuscript straight through than it is working through it slowly. That first read-through is a moment-of-truth experience—how well is the story working? It will be interesting (I hope interesting in a good sense, not interesting in a holy moly what a train wreck sense) I shrank the font and single-spaced to save ink and paper, since it’s a reading copy for my eyes only, but sadly, I forgot to change the font color and thus emptied my black ink cartridge. Phooey.

When I hit draft three, I like to have a working title. Thus, in keeping with tradition, it’s title time! I’d love some title suggestions from our blog readers. The suggestions don’t have to be brilliant. They can even be goofy.

So far, I’m fifty-fifty on titles—twice, Covenant has kept the working titles I submitted with the book and twice they’ve changed them. So if you submit a really groovy title, hey, maybe it’ll end up on the cover. Who knows? Everyone who suggests a title gets entered into a drawing for one of my books. If I decide to use your title suggestion, I’ll send you a book as well. Here's a little blurb about the book:

Fiona Claridge wants nothing more than to stay burrowed in her peaceful, solitary life, teaching at a small New England college and filling her evening hours with work on her fixer-upper house. It’s almost enough to keep at bay the guilt she feels about the death of her roommate in a car accident six years earlier. But when an angry student decides to use reminders of the accident against her and a troubled ex-boyfriend starts edging back into her life, her peace shatters. Someone doesn’t want her free of her painful past—they want her dead.

As of right now, I don’t have a single title idea in my head, so I’m excited to hear your ideas. All suggestions are welcome!


At 9/22/2010 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rearview Mirror

At 9/22/2010 3:27 PM, Blogger Jordan McCollum said...

Hm... looks like something ate my last comment.

My totally awesome suggestion: Publish or Perish. (I know, I know, the villain is the head of her department exacting revenge for Fi's refusal to issue scholarly works!)

Also good: Too Stupid to Live and Hero Pancakes!

At 9/22/2010 3:38 PM, Blogger T.J. said...

I like something with "shattered" in the title. You said "her peace shatters" and I thought "Shattered Peace" but it sounds kind of odd. Maybe "Tranquility Shattered."

At 9/22/2010 3:38 PM, Blogger mathmom said...

Hauntings from the Past


A House Undone

Actually, I think Hero Pancake is hilarious.

At 9/22/2010 3:50 PM, Anonymous Melanie Vera said...

Past Reflection and Final Eruption.

At 9/22/2010 4:09 PM, Blogger Linda said...

How about "Shadows in the Dark"??

The dead roommate, ex-boyfriend, and even the heroine's guilt-ridden conscience are like "shadows" but the irony in the title is that shadows do not generally occur without light. Perhaps these shadows are a figment of her imagination or maybe it is just that the readers will not figure out (in the dark) the ending until they get to the very end!

At 9/22/2010 4:52 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Thinking of some of your previous titles, both you and your publisher seems to like three word titles, Fool Me Twice, Methods of Madness and Cold as Ice (or maybe they just fit.) So I will make my suggestions fall in line with that. Memories Can Kill, Dying to Remember, Curse my Past. Or if you're looking for something different, how about Nightmare in New England, The Mysterious Life of Fiona Claridge.


At 9/22/2010 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric James Stone serendipitously posted today about coming up with titles. You might want to check it out.

At 9/22/2010 5:57 PM, Blogger Janice said...

Creeping Past or Creepy Past I know how you adore creeping people out.

At 9/22/2010 7:49 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Goofy titles, I'm your man! =)

A Separated Peace

Car and Remembrance

A Shot for Teacher (maybe with a Twilight-esque apple and a bullet exploding out of it)

The Accidental Puritan

As I Lay Dying By the Side of the Road

And of course, My Fiona! because you need that song connection.

At 9/23/2010 12:34 AM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

Lol. You’re hilarious! I don’t think anybody believes your second draft is as rough as you say it is.
Here are my suggestions for your WIP:
“Serenity Lost”
“Shattered Stillness”
“Dusk To Death”
“Death at Dusk”

At 9/23/2010 1:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwelling on the Past

At 9/23/2010 10:06 AM, Blogger Krista said...

Learning to Breathe

Coming Up for Air

Emerging from the Shadows

At 9/23/2010 2:05 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

"Accidents Happen." =]

At 9/23/2010 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Past Haunts

At 9/23/2010 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paradise House

At 9/23/2010 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9/23/2010 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9/23/2010 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9/23/2010 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanatoid House

than·a·toid (thn-toid)
1. Resembling death.
2. Mortal; deadly.

At 9/23/2010 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


n. 1. Burial.

At 9/23/2010 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moirai House

Moirai [ˈmɔɪriː]
pl n sing Moira [ˈmɔɪrə]
(Myth & Legend / Classical Myth & Legend) the. the Greek goddesses of fate Roman counterparts the Parcae See Fates

At 9/23/2010 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

House of Fates

At 9/23/2010 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming Home to Roost

At 9/23/2010 5:20 PM, Blogger Michael Knudsen said...

I liked the very first suggestion, "Rearview Mirror", but also to pick up on the "Shatter" suggestion, I like "Shattered Solace". Whatever you use as "working title", I know you and your publisher will some up with something super-cool.


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