Friday, November 30, 2012

Want some SWAG? Well, what's In A Name? On Kicking Around Names For Upcoming Short Story Collection.

First of all, I'm going to try and blog more regularly. I've done a decent job keeping the traffic consistent here, I think; my Klout score (however important that is), seems to stay consistent, as do the hits on the blog.  Normally, I wouldn't care much about such things, but Mike Duran's recent blog post has got me thinking a lot more about my "platform", especially with the novel I'll be pitching to publishers soon, and a short story collection due next fall.

That, of course, is the big news around here: my first short story collection. I'm keeping mum on the details - not to be needlessly clandestine - mostly because I'm still putting it together, the publisher that proposed the idea hasn't yet seen the finished product, there's no signed contract, so there's no need to make a big splash when nothing's been settled.

But, I offer a quick note: one big factor in deciding to put forth a short story collection was this: a publisher asked me to. It seems like a small thing, but I've always thought I wouldn't be interested in compiling a collection of my short stories until a respectable publisher actually said to me: "Hey, we'd love to do your collection." A publisher has said that; therefore, I've decided that's the right move for me, right now....especially with me pitching the novel around in the next few months or so.

Of course - you know me. The collection won't be as simple as a collection of stories. My mind is always working over different ways to do things, and it's the same with this collection. I MAY be committing literary hubris. Hopefully not, hopefully it'll be something the publisher will run with, something folks will find different, and most importantly, will like.

Anyway....I'm thinking of the title. Now, titles are strange animals, and I can be honest in saying I'm not so good at coming up with them, at all, and I probably should aim for something short, snappy, easy to remember - but I can never do anything simple, can I? I'm always reaching for the big, long, rambling, epic titles.

And of course, it's been the same with the short story collection,  and I'm really probably over-thinking this, but I've been somewhat consumed with the desire to develop a title that not only reflects the stories inside, but is also a signature for me, as a writer. This feels different than just a novel title, because the short stories - many of them - are far more personal in nature, or at least were generated from very personal roots.

So, anyway...I've been kicking some names around. And I probably could use some help. As things become more official, and the publisher reads the collection and gives a thumbs-up, and the contract is signed, if I haven't generated a title by then, I'll probably have an official contest to help determine the title.  But for now, here's where I stand. A little info, without giving too much away:

-  the stories all take place in a strange little town, where strange things happen

- are basically about regular people, average joes caught up in supernatural events

- they'll sport cross-over elements

- maybe even some reality-warping elements

- will hopefully walk a balance between dark and light atmosphere

- and in the front matter, I want to have this quote, from Sir Francis Bacon:

"In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

So here are the titles I've toyed with so far.  The first couple has asterisks next to them, because unfortunately, Amazon searches turned up dozens of titles just like them:

1. On A Darkling Plain *
2. Through A Glass, Darkly*
3. Haunted by A Thousand Fleeting Forms
4. A Thousand Fleeting Forms, Darkly
5. Fleeting Forms
6. I See The Shadows Falling

SO, I will be having an official contest - which probably won't draw much interest, I'm sure. But, if anyone out there happens to have any ideas now, based on what I've offered....feel free to post in the comments....I'm sure I can come up with some SWAG for the "finalists"...