Monday, March 03, 2008

A New Title

Last week my editor emailed to let me know that the title of my WIP (that's Work In Progress) could no longer be Black Box. Apparently another novel called Black Box was published by a Christian publisher in 2004. It didn't do so well (it had to do with airplane black boxes) and marketing is afraid booksellers and readers will get my new book confused with this older one. So I've spent the last few days coming up with some alternate titles.

As I did so I realized that Black Box really isn't a very good title. For one thing, your title should use fresh and lively words. "Black" and "box" are not exactly either. In fact, there are several other books named Black Box out there besides the one I just mentioned and I have to admit, looking at them the title seems rather dull. If you have no frame of reference... well, a black box is just not that interesting.

Yes, it works perfectly for my story if you actually know which black box I'm talking about -- not the one in an airplane, but the concept of a black box, which is a thing whose actions or output are known but the mechanics behind them are not. "Something that is mysterious, especially as to function." So many things in life are like that, from living cells at one time, to genetics, to aging, to the human soul, to many aspects of the spiritual life. It's a perfect concept, but...alas, since for most people this concept is not going to be the first thing they think of when they see Black Box on the cover of a book, not the perfect title.

But coming up with something better? I don't know. I made a list and sent it off. Perhaps nothing on it will be the actual title, but hopefully one of the titles I brainstormed will generate the one that ends up on the book. We'll see.

Wanna see the list?

Here is some of my suggested titles:

Illusions in Twilight
Veils of the Soul
A Storm of Darkness

Once There be Giants

I actually sent 14 titles, many of them variations on the above. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I'm really kind of hoping that one of these will spark something in someone else that will lead to an eventual title that I really like. Not to say that if one of the ones I submitted is chosen I won't end up liking it just fine. That's kind of what happened with Return of the Guardian-King. Where at first I was disturbed by the similarity to Tolkien's Return of the King, as time passed I grew more comfortable with it and it really seemed like the right title to end the series with.