03 January 2014

Making Book: By Any Other Name

(With apologies to Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

I'm terrible at coming up with story titles. If you've read more than a couple of 512s, you already know this; my typical go-tos are song titles (e.g., "Don't Fence Me In") or the titles of SF/F novels (e.g., "Stranger in a Strange Land"). Because you can't copyright a title, and I'm lazy. I also like re-using existing phrases, because I can then exploit that emotional resonance. Or just turn it into an awful pun. Both are good.

For this book, however, I wanted something that was at least a little more evocative and meaningful. I'm not a big fan of one-word titles, which can seem very generic, but I also didn't want something too long, since I planned to add some kind of explanatory subtitle to describe the content (i.e., to make it clear that this was a short fiction collection).

Because I am so very lazy, I procrastinated on this until DeeAnn and I started working with our friend and awesome artist Natalie Metzger on the cover and interior illustrations. I'll talk more about that process next week, but she was invaluable in helping me nail down the title and also figure out exactly what images should go on the cover.

Long story short, the relevant portion of our e-mail conversation went roughly like this:

Natalie: Have you come up with a title yet?

Me: ...

(three days pass)

Me: How about SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS? Or WRITTEN ON THURSDAY? And here's a mock-up which is not very good. :)

(image attachment sent)

DeeAnn: I like WRITTEN ON THURSDAYS. And I agree, that mock-up is not good. ;)

(the next day)

Natalie: How about THURSDAY STORIES? I like how the day sounds in the title.

Me: I've got it... THURSDAY'S CHILDREN!

(End of scene.)

So there you are: the title of the book will be Thursday's Children: Flash Fiction from 512 Words or Fewer. It's not strictly a "best of" collection, as I explained last week, but it does include many of the most interesting and successful results of my often late-night weekly writing sessions--which usually happened on Thursdays. And some of them have grown up to become longer works, but many others are still developing.

In case you're curious about the mock-up image which I sent as part of the e-mail thread cited above: That's directly related to Natalie's artwork, and I'll show you how next week.