Friday, July 27, 2012

Shannon Messenger Takes the Truth

Okay, I know I usually vlog--and I know there's some lovely humiliating Shannon-vlog dares that you guys have submitted for me--but with moving and deadlines I just did not have time this week. So NEXT TIME!

And for now, I'm answering this truth that came in:


What were some working titles for your book that didn't make the final cut?

I picked that one because titling LET THE SKY FALL was ... basically torture. 

I'm glad we went through it because I love love LOVE my title and am soooooo glad my editor and I kept pushing until we got there. But getting there SUCKED.

My original title was WINDWALKER, which is another name for the sylphs in the book and sort of the impetus behind the whole idea for me. (part of me is secretly hoping I can sneak it into the series title somehow, mostly because I STILL slip and call it Windwalker sometimes, and then I wouldn't look like an idiot) (but I'm not holding my breath for that).  I knew early on that it would change, because my publisher wanted something more romantic to match the story better--and I was totally fine with that. But finding something that had a romantic feel without reading like a book that needed shirtless Fabio on the cover was NOT easy. 

I sent my poor editor list upon list upon list of suggestions--all of which were rejected. (to be fair--I am TERRIBLE at titles, so they were all pretty much crap). I emailed friends who'd read, begging for ideas. When those didn't help I sent a short synopsis to friends who hadn't read. Still nothing. My publisher and I seriously went through HUNDREDS of options. And as tends to happen, I liked some ideas that they didn't, they liked some ideas that I didn't, and since we were all committed to finding THE ONE, we kept going. For MONTHS. 

So during that stressful process I couldn't help throwing a few fake ones in the mix sometimes, just for giggles (or temporary-thesaurus-induced-insanity). Here's a few of my favorites:

The Fast and the Flurrious
Blown Away
Cold Front
First Drafts
Squall Is Lost


Though my FAVORITE was one I even made a mock cover for (and yes, I sent this to my agent and editor at one point--like I said, temporary-thesaurus-induced-insanity)

(photo credit: layoutsparks)

Right????

I mean, it's a fart joke, a wind pun, and a TWILIGHT reference in one!!!!!!

So yeah... this is why I'm not allowed to name my books. (or design my own covers, for that matter)

My middle grade (KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES) was actually titled by my agent's daughter (my editor made a couple of tweaks to her suggestion and viola! After months of me making terrible suggestions) and LET THE SKY FALL was a suggestion from Karsten Knight. I am 0 for 2!!! 

And seeing as how book two of my middle grade series is still labeled "UNTITLED KEEPER 2" I'm guessing I am not going to be much help with that one either. Let the title torture begin!

Thanks so much for reading, guys. And if any of you would like to submit a truth or dare for us to tackle, you can do that HERE. (And please do--we LOVE the awesome things you guys come up with)


___________________________________________________________________


Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she learned--among other things--that she liked watching movies much better than making them. So she left LA and moved to suburbia where she would have time to eat too many cupcakes, own too many cats, and write lots and lots of books. LET THE SKY FALL is her first young adult novel, coming in Spring 2013 from Simon Pulse. She is also the author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, book one in a middle grade series launching Fall 2012 (S&S Aladdin). Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.





24 comments:

  1. Hahaha... brainstorming bad titles is actually a good way to come up with something good. My husband and I did this with band names for a long time. When he and a friend needed to figure an actual name for their band, they brainstormed, and then picked the one that made them laugh the most: power power tigerpaw (RIP). Anytime anyone asked me what his band was called I had to take a deep breath since I knew I'd have to repeat it a few times. :)

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    1. Ha! That is a hilariously awesome band name! (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this)

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  2. I love your cover for BREAKING WIND, Shannon. Good luck with book 2. I suck at titles as well, so sadly, I wouldn't be any help. *sigh*

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    1. You are not alone. Titles are HARD. They're kind of my mortal enemy. :)

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  3. I can give you the advice an editor once gave me for titling: go out, get drunk, and the title will come to you.

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    1. LOL. So thaaaaaaaaaaats what I forgot to do... ;)

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  4. Titles are so tough. Either they come in a flash of blinding genius (well, that hasn't happened yet) or they are like slugging through laval. But you ended up with 2 winners! :)

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    1. Yeah--I have yet to experience that flash of blinding genius. SIGN ME UP FOR THAT! But thanks, I love my titles too. They were hard earned, but worth the pain. :)

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  5. I agree with Stephsco... I love thinking of titles!!! But to each their own. LET THE SKY FALL is a great one. I can't wait to read it! And find out what Book 2 and Book 3 and etc. are called! lol :)

    Alyssa Susanna

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    1. Ha--I don't mind thinking up titles. I'm just terrible at thinking up good ones. Le sigh. But aww, thank you!

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  6. Ha ha! Breaking Wind. I love the tornado heart. Or. . . oh my god, is that supposed to be a butt?!?

    Well done, Shannon. You've made me afraid of my own brain.

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    1. ohmygosh it could totally be a butt. I didn't even see that until you pointed it out, Alexa!! Too funny.

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    2. LOL. I noticed that too. I was like what an unintentional happy accident. I *almost* mentioned it in the post but then I was afraid I was the only one seeing that and people would be like, Only SHANNON looks at a heart and sees a "butt"

      :)

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    3. I'm just glad I'm not the only one seeing it!

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    4. Oh my gosh I've been staring at this cover forever! FINALLY found the butt. Nice job, Shannon!

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  7. Maybe I'm just really immature, but I find this hilarious. The longer I stare at the cover, the more I giggle.

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  8. Oh my gosh! Breaking Wind is awesomely hilarious! Thanks for the laugh, Shannon. :)

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  9. LOL. I love the concept behind Breaking Wind--I would have totally bought that book.

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  10. Ohmygosh, I'm cracking up over Breaking Wind. Even the cover has *meaning*!

    Great post, Shannon, I loved reading it. And yeah, titles are SO HARD. We're still debating over my Fall 2013 YA title. Right now we have FORBIDDEN, which is not my original title either, and it really does fits so many elements of the story, but it's been used a hundred times already by other books AND, to me, it sounds like a Harlequin romance! :-(

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