I'm around halfway through the last book of my Never Dawn trilogy and, in common with the previous 5 fiction books I've written, coming up with the few words for the title has been harder than the 80,000 in the story!
I've made a promise to myself - next time I'll start with the title and then write the book.
But that didn't help with the three books of my work-in-progress. I did what most people do and googled 'how to choose a title for my book' and after trawling through a few websites found this very useful article on indiebooklauncher.com
It had some great ideas on how to use the story, or pull out a specific element or essence of your story to find a title.
For the first book, this was 'Mother's' promise of The New Dawn. This is when all the hard work that my hero and his colleagues have completed day-in, day-out for all their lives pays off. But as our hero discovers, they've been told a big lie and nothing is at it seems and so this promise New Dawn will never come.
So the title, The Never Dawn, came about. I know it doesn't actually make grammatical sense but I ran it passed a few of my readers and book reviewers, along with New Dawn, Dark Dawn and just Never Dawn, and lo and behold, everyone choose The Never Dawn saying it sounded intriguing.
Quite pleased with that one :0)
I finished the second book and was well into the third book but still hadn't got a title for the middle book of the trilogy. I even had the title for the last book before I finally settled on the second.
I went back to the article I mentioned above for the second in the series. In the story, things get very sticky for my hero, in fact, it gets very grim in parts, so much so that I had to re-write parts just in case it was too dark for a YA/NA reader.
The working title of 'Losing The Light' represented the hope drifting away from the main characters - but it didn't really grip my audience when tested. Then came the idea to bring the word 'cloud' into the title. This carries on with the dawn/ sky theme of the first, and it refers to the levels of Noah's world, that is, Cloud Levels. So I came up with 'Cloud Level Nine' - obviously playing on Cloud Nine and could relate to the location of one of the ominous elements of my story.
But while a few of my readers liked it, I wasn't 100% happy with it. For me, it sounded a little Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the original and some of the films, but I didn't want my books to sounds like a trekkie book. Then driving home is my car I heard some one being interviewed on the news about a hot current topic, and without going into the details, I commented out loud, 'you're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think that will happen.'
And... there you have it. Ha! I didn't want the land bit, but 'Cloud Cuckoo' said exactly what I wanted it to say. Yes, it refers to an absurd or fantasy element, Cuckoo itself can mean mad, but it also relates to my hero and the situation he finds himself. I loved it, and the majority of my test audience did as well - well you can't please everyone.
As I said, I already have the third title that refers to the big chance in the story and taking it outside the setup of the first two - I don't want to say more just in case you want to read the when they come out.
The third and last is 'At The Gates of Dawn' - although I might drop the 'at' from the beginning.
So for now at least I have my three titles. And what a relief. Somehow, when the title finally comes along, suddenly the book seems very real 0:)
And thankfully, the second book title came just in time for my cover designer who will begin work on it very shortly.
So to recap, the trilogy consists of
1. The Never Dawn
2. Cloud Cuckoo
3. At The Gates of Dawn
Cover reveal for Cloud Cuckoo coming soon!
The success of Divergent, The Maze Runner and my favourite of the recent trilogies, Hunger Games, will have inspired hundreds of writers to have a go for themselves - including me. And why not? The temptation to build a world with its own rules, populated by a diverse bunch of characters straight out of our heads is very tempting. Add the hope that it may become a best-seller with a massive movie franchise (however remote) and it's too good an opportunity to miss.
But... while I find ideas for settings, characters and plots spilling out of my head, coming up with enough material to justify three books would be a big challenge for me. My previous books have numbered between 80 to 85,000 words so a trilogy would mean close to a quarter of million! Phew that sounds a lot to a writer who takes on average 14 months to write just one book.
My first YA book was a cross-over sci-fi slash horror slash paranormal slash alien invasion, plus a little bit of adventure and humour thrown in for good measure. SKY told the story of a teenage boy who discovers the girl he sees in his daydreams turns out to be real and is also in a fight for her life and sanity (in that order). It was originally intended as a one-off book with an ending that left the reader to decide the fate of our young hero.
However, after a massive on-line campaign by readers asking for me (okay, I'll confess - I received three emails in six weeks!) I decided to write a sequel, and around a year later I published Stargazers. And I was happy to hear that my readers (now totalling around a dozen) found it even better than the first.
Encouraged by this success (well it's all relative isn't it) I decided to commit to the long-term challenge of writing a trilogy. Never mind the thought of creating a best-seller that has the movie studios climbing over each over to offer me a six figure sum to even get my attention, I was curious to see if I was up to the task. I get a huge thrill from finishing a book. To date this includes three non-fiction and two fiction. So if I can write a half-decent trilogy that doesn't fizzle out half-way through the second book, then maybe, just maybe I could start to think of myself as a writer.
So I spent my daily run and dog walk racking my brains for a story, and thankfully I didn't have to wait too long. I dusted down an old idea a while back, took it to a different place and expanded the story - and hey, I'd got the basis for my trilogy :0)
I set myself some rules beforehand.
Two weeks later it was May 2014 and I had something I could work with. But now came the hard part - having to get all those plot lines, characters, twists and subtexts into a coherent story. I had my basic plan, although I have to admit at being so eager to start my masterpiece, that I got going before the palm was fully scoped. But what the heck, it would work out in the end :0)
In March 2015, I came up with the title, The Never Dawn, to complete the first book of the three, proof-read by the wonderful Julia Proofreader. I then contacted The Cover Collection to design a bespoke cover. I have to say I'm very pleased with the finished product and will publish hopefully in July 2016 when the others are almost ready to go.
The first book took around twelve months - too long in my view. So I decided to dedicate more time to write (difficult when you have a full-time job and teenage kids), and I would set a target of a thousand words a day, quite a challenge for me, but it focuses the mind.
Although I stumbled a few times on book two (due to not having the story fully scoped out) I did manage to finish the draft after several rewrites in December 2016. Wow, a book in just nine months! However, while I can write 82,000 words, I have yet to come up with the three or four that will make up the title - but I'm not panicking yet as I'm sure it will come to me soon.
So where am I now? Today, I wrote the first lines to book three. And in just one hour I was up to 700 words! I have the story sorted and hope to finish this last book in under six months. Then all I need are the last two titles :0)