Monday, 22 June 2009

The Evolution of a Title

I mentioned in my last post that because things had been tough for me at home the past week or so I’d been able to do a serious amount of writing, completing almost five chapters in total and updating some others. The simple reason was that I was ‘home alone’ last week. Mrs Nobbs and Jr spent some time in France but I was unable to get the time off work. As well as allowing me to write, this time alone has taught me one very, very important lesson. It takes more than a house and some furniture to make a home.

Arriving back to an empty house in the evening and knowing it was going to remain empty (as opposed to Mrs Nobbs and Jr having popped out somewhere and coming back soon) was really, really tough. Frankly, I hated it. It’s sad that it takes something like that to make me realise it, but without the laughter and shouts of my son and the warm embrace of or even arguments with my wife then the building in which I live is just a house and not a home.

And I told her that this at the weekend. I did a round trip of four hundred odd miles to pick them up on Saturday and told her in no uncertain terms on Sunday how I felt. They are my family, I missed them and my house was an empty shell without them. It’s people that make a home.

Anyway, on to other matters. As you may recall I’ve been struggling to find a title for my current WIP. I’ve been referring to it as “Will and Amy” since they are the two main characters, but that is far from suitable. But in the process of writing an emotionally intense chapter last week, I found Will and Amy repeating to each other throughout, the words “Always and Forever.”

Bang – just like that I had a title.

I decided that these three words were something they said to each other in their youth. It’s the sort of thing that kids in love say to each other without really grasping the enormous nature of the commitment behind them. But the eventual repeating of these words in their adulthood would be very, very significant to the relationship. Damn, that sounds like it might actually be a meaningful title.

But here’s the rub. I did a Google search. Turns out there are tons of books called “Always and Forever”. And I’d rather have someone Google my title and find my book than someone else’s. What I needed was something different and unique but that meant the same thing.

I settled on “Eternally and Evermore.” But that in itself left me with a problem. I think it sounds great, but it’s not exactly the sort of phrase that two eighteen-year-olds would come up with themselves. “Always and Forever”? Yeah, I can see kids spontaneously coming out with that. “Eternally and Evermore”? Not likely.

So, the question I had was, how did they come to start saying it to each other? In the end, I wrote a whole new scene and touched up a couple more and this is how I’ve come to explain it away.

It’s a song title and lyric.

In one of the early scenes as teenagers – when Will and Amy are skirting around each other and not really letting each other know how they feel – they are are at a disco and this song, which Amy says is her favourite, is played. She asks Will to dance with her, which he does. It’s all very awkward, a ‘teenager not knowing where to put his hands and worrying about his erection pressing on her belly’ type of dance. And, here’s the crucial bit, Amy sings the song in his ear as they dance – right up to the line “Eternally and Evermore”.

Then, later, when they get together, Amy quotes the lyrics back to Will – including the “Eternally and Evermore” bit – and a ‘secret’ phrase between two teen lovers is born.

And the scene much later in the story when the phrase comes up again, also involves the song – although this time it’s a cover version by a ‘current’ singer – and the phrase is used by the couple once more but this time as adults who know full well the weight of meaning behind it. Indeed, it carries even more weight because they used to say it to each other as kids.

So, there we have it. My WIP is now ‘officially’ provisionally titled “Eternally and Evermore”. I’m still hedging by bets and reserve the right to change it mind you. It’s a very ‘soppy’ title. Very ‘romantic’ in theme. But that should be okay because with this piece, while still an erotic romance, the emphasis is very much on the romance element. To the extent that I recently ended a scene without going into the nitty gritty of what bits went where. I just felt that the chapter would had enough impact with all the emotion in it and to go any further than I did would detract from it.

Can you believe it? I wrote a sex scene and stopped short of filling in all the ‘lets get buck naked and fuck’ details. Does this mean I’ve matured as a writer? Or just that I’ve ‘grown up’?

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