One day last week I found myself watching a presentation that was not particularly interesting. Needless to say, my laser like attention became fixated on a different topic. The topic was what title to give my book. I thought it through for a little bit and actually came up with one that I liked, which I e-mailed off to my readers. They also liked it, but pointed out that it might draw undue attention to character for whom I do not want undue attention. Since this was true I pressed on.
I felt determined to get a title. As I said before, now that I’m actually writing about writing the novel it feels entirely blasé to keep referring to it as “my novel.” The problem is that my level of discontent doesn’t seem to compensate yet for the difficulty of developing a good title. I had a lot of fun running through possibilities and even came up with a better description of my book, but I did not manage to generate a title with which I was entirely happy.
One of the two leading contenders was Tourist Hunter. That one came from a thread centered on the idea that Blade Runner is a really cool term that is both the title of the movie and the main character’s job (it’s also owned by Ridley Scott, so I can’t use it). So I started trying to think of a term that could describe Kurt’s (my main character’s) job. Ultimately, I decided against using it as a book title, although I think it’s not a bad idea to have a cool professional title for Kurt and I’ve started working it into the novel.
The other leading contender was Xeno Tracker, which came from a thread that included variations of hunter, tracker, detective, etc. paired with Xenocide. I was disappointed to discover that I hadn’t coined the term xenocide, but I really don’t mind riding on the very last thread in one Mr. Card’s very long coattails. That said, I killed Xeno Tracker because one of my friends said, (and I quote) “Well it’s a fine line between badass and video game title, and that’s what “xeno [something]” feels like to me.” I think she was right.
I also briefly flirted with Xenocide at the Dead Mule, but decided that was too over the top. So I kept the idea of the murder being at the Dead Mule (moving it from the beach) and ditched the title.
Although I am not opposed to simply using Alien Hunter, I have two and half problems with that. The first is just a gut reaction that it’s not quite strong enough. This was validated by something that I read recently about how most people when they are determining if they are interested in a book look at the title first, before the cover. I thought about my own experience with authors I don’t know and I do that. I read the title, if it catches me, then I start looking at the front and back cover. Since I am a currently unknown author, I don’t really have the luxury of my name or the fifth book in the whizbang series grabbing someone’s attention and so that’s the second problem. I really need a title that can make someone linger long enough to read the description and I don’t see Alien Hunter as being that title. The half problem is that I don’t think it really fits the book/does it justice.
So for now, I shall linger on in a titleless stasis. AH1 shall remain my working title for this first book in the series and that’s how I’ll refer to it in my future posts, with the occasional slippage into “my novel.”