Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

what is in a name

My editor returned her comments to me mid last week and it was perhaps the best feedback on a draft manuscript I have ever received so it was a great boost to my confidence as a writer. It was good to read her commentary on what I believed was my best work to date. Getting better with each outing.

In amongst all the constructive commentary was the line "the draft is great except for the manuscript's working title". Embrace a name change she says. Believe me it is far better being told that than being told to rewrite the content.

She has a point. The problem with the working title was apparently it had been done to death in the fantasy genre and she encouraged me to do some "research" (read: look an online booksellers and see how many times the title comes up in a search) on alternative titles that are consistent with the theme of the book, the theme of the series.

I did the research. I reconsidered the series theme. I looked up words in my thesaurus (and I love my thesaurus). I remembered that when I started the journey, I was writing a single book about the nature of crime and punishment (granted, set in a world where there were parallel universes). Over time, the book became a trilogy of three books and then, like all good fantasy series, I have developed a concept for a fourth book. [Aside: if the "Panopticon"series is a success, the truth is that there are possibly several other book concepts that can be derived from the theme floating about as ideas in my head but I want to take a break from the series to write a short story collection.]

As I was developing the trilogy story ideas, I envisaged three books with the following focus - the first part would delve into choices made by characters with the key protagonist in the series being the subject of a monumental "fall from grace" from which the working title "The Fall" came. The second part delved into the consequences of those choices especially the punishment dimension, hence "The Penitentiary" as the title. The third part asked the question what if the punishment did not befit the crime and there were quests undertaken to deal with that injustice, hence "The Crusades" as the title. At its simplest, it is: "People - Place - Pursuits".

The second and third part titles are immutable in my mind (the second particularly so given the book has already been released). But I decided to take on my editor's advice and change the working title of the first part. So, with the manuscript heading into the final stages (read: three months to release date), the working title has officially become a new novel title and that will be...."The Recidivist".

I know - some folk will have to look it up. It is intriguing as a word nonetheless. But the best thing about it is that, before it was ever used in the legal system to mean repeat offender, its origin stemmed from the phrase "fallen angel". It could not be any more perfect for the story I have written. Serendipity.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


I finally got back on schedule (albeit 2 months behind schedule in reality) after a five day writing frenzy stretching from last Friday to last Tuesday. The five days were spent drafting three new scenes and amending the draft of the manuscript for The Crusades for my editor's comments. The manuscript for The Fall is currently with the editor and not yet returned so I actually have a weekend ahead of me where I can spend the time resting from The Panopticon series drafting.

I always say that but then cannot help myself. Strange to get into such a disciplined rhythm that come Saturday morning I know I will feel out of sorts because of the interlude. Pausing as a semi-professional writer somehow seems wrong.

I will start my morning by dipping into the stacked pile of books that I've been meaning to read the last couple of months but keep on putting off because I would rather be writing. By lunch time I will have found my way to the computer, probably surfed the net for a while, and will be turning my mind to one of my next writing projects.

I have actually been working on those next projects for a while in terms of jotting down concepts, ideas and even begun to flesh out some of the material. It tends to be where I turn when I am procrastinating about my main project. So, even when I'm not writing what I have set myself to write on any particular day I am still writing.

Cannot switch the mind off. Never have been able to do so. Never will either.