Blog

The importance of a good working title

The importance of a good working title

A hard lesson learned AGAIN.

Hello friends,

Yesterday was THE PITS for me. One of the worst parts of it is that this whole scenario has happened to me before…like the most sinking, miserable case of deja vu.

A long, absent muse returned to me, banging on the back of my head until I gave in and decided to return to an abandoned manuscript.

I opened my computer and searched for the file.

Gone.

I plugged in my backup hard drive.

Gone.

Searching. Searching. Searching.

Desperation and dread battled for the biggest space in my gut.

Thoughts of “well, maybe I…” dashed and darted in and out of my head.

Searching. Searching. Searching.

Tears welling.

Emptiness.

Gone.

My words are gone.

The muse was disappointed in me but refused to leave. The story must be written, and I have to start over. All I can do is tell myself that I’ve grown as a writer and it’s going to be  even better this time.

The words are lost, but the story is not.

I know this is true because the first time this happened to me I replaced every word and finished the entire novel–a novel I love.

But how did this happen? Twice?

I hate thinking of titles. It’s miserable. I rarely know what to call a novel once it’s finished, let alone when it’s only just begun.

This time, I had two books dealing with Aliens (both happened to be the ones I lost at different points,) but I think I called them both some variation of “Alien _____.”

Draft after draft after beta read and critique partnered drafts exist on my computer. I save them and end up with too many to keep straight. “Alien novel,” “Alien novel final draft,” Alien novel final final,” “Alien novel final–this is the one.”

Eventually, various drafts get deleted. And given that their titles are so similar, I believe I completely trashed the first draft of one novel along with a million drafts of the other.

How do I stop this from happening again? What’s the plan?

I’m going to give my novels a complete and unique working title even if I know it’s not going to stick around. No more “untitled romance” or “Alien novel.” Now, my current works are “Burnished Path,” “Cleansed with Blood,” “Distant Spring,” “Homer,” and “Haunted Heart.”

I’m going to go in and find everything I started, even if it’s only one paragraph or one line and name it.

I know these may not be good titles and probably aren’t the ones that will remain but at least they aren’t confusing. When I’m cleaning out revisions of “Burnished Path,” “Distant Spring” isn’t likely to be thrown out with the bathwater.

I’m also going to make sure a copy of each gets added to my backup hard drive and emailed to myself.

My heart is still veiled in black and mourning the lost words, but this time I’m going to ensure that I learn from my loss.

10 thoughts on “The importance of a good working title

  1. Oh Allie.I know how distraught you must be feeling, as I know how losing a draft, a file or even an idea is. I still have work in progress (or usually stalled) for decades, in various forms, along with original notes and drafts in paper format, although I too have lost too many, through computer failure, house moves and other things. You may yet discover them again, when you least expect it, and even lost manuscripts have helped you progress as a writer. You have had those initial ideas, developed them and ratified content, your editing and descriptive ideas flow into your future works. Your skills and knowledge develop into being a better writer through all you have done. Every journey will have painful steps  but never forget they are always still moving you forward on your journey. Kindest Regards  Sean.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply, Sean. I’m sorry about the works you’ve lost. I know you’re right in everything you said. I’m feeling better today. Yesterday was extremely difficult. But I know better now. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.

      Like

  2. I’m (selfishly) glad to see I’m not the only one that this happens to. Just last night I saw a title I wanted to look at, but when I tried to open it, I was told that it wasn’t available. When I went back to the title list to look at it again, it wasn’t there. ):-(

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s