I know I’m late, however this post is for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. ‘I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.’ ~ Alex Cavanaugh
Recently I lost my way, I’ll admit. I’m nearly finished writing the first book for a series I’ve been working on since 2005. And in the last month I let myself get swayed with indecision about the story title/s.
This is a typically treacherous time for an artist, when in the final days of a creative project, the spectre of self-doubt rises above the pumpkin patch, and unsuspecting would-be authors can tumble headfirst into leaf and branch-covered heffalump traps.
The last two weeks, I found I was lost in a bog of questioning about whether I’d chosen the right titles for my book and series. Curious, I put my titles, The Records of Aden, Book One, ‘Aden Weaver & the Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ into a “headline analyzer” test and they only rated a measly 11 out of a possible 100. Turns out the analyser was somewhat bogus, which is why I’m not putting the link up here. But nevertheless, the rot had begun.
Writers know the power of words. Words change the world. Words have always been more effective than bullets when it comes to changing both the present and the future. ~ Chuck Wendig
I asked the community on Facebook for alternative title suggestions for my work in progress and the overall series. The outpouring of creative suggestions and brainstorming that followed was truly magnificent. There were so many great suggestions to choose from. Finally, after much deliberating, I thought okay, I’ve got new titles that work. So in the last edition of my fortnightly Newsletter*, I announced that I was renaming the series and the title of the first book to this:
The Dragonfly Chronicles: 1
‘The Adventure Begins’
Unfortunately within a day or so, I got a reply from the newest member of my Mailing List to say there were two other series on Amazon with the same name. Dagnabit! *shame face* And then I got a reply from my other critique group buddies saying they preferred the original titles and thought I should stick to the way it was.
Failure is the start point for future success.~ Bob Mayer
I thought a break would do me good. It’s halfway through Easter weekend here and we’ve just returned from visiting family who live in Tauranga. While we were in the lovely coastal town, I visited a friend who had actually helped with typing the original handwritten manuscript of ‘Aden Weaver and the Or’in of Tane Mahuta’. I asked her opinion re the titles and she said she felt I should stick with the originals, because they were ‘Kara-pu-toro’, which is Maori for ‘the first thought divine inspiration’.
I realized that I had lost my way a bit in self doubt. So I went away thinking about this.
Writing is always this: an adaptation of the sacred into smut. Dragging the divine out of his Sky Chariot and into the human dirt. ~ Chuck Wendig
This is where it gets interesting. When I thought about it, I realized that The Records of Aden and ‘Aden Weaver & the Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ were not the original titles; they were not Kara-pu-toro. They were only the most recent incarnation. These books started out as Tales of the Or’in, and Fireside Tales, and then became The Grandfather Diaries. The first book in the series was called ‘The Or’in and the Lost Island’, which became shortened to ‘The Lost Island’. These are the real originals, however, as some aspects of the stories have changed, I will still need to amend these titles. I’ll announce the results in my Newsletter* and here later.
I’m really fascinated by this idea of Kara-pu-toro (thank you, Rozi!), because this is a principle I also recognize when I’m writing. This is the muse, that divine breath of the first images and words for my story, the initial flash I get when I hear the words of a story on the wind. That’s when I have to be nimble to truly grab them off the ether and get them onto the page or the screen before they’re gone forever. It’s always the first words which are best, and the most fertile. There have been many times writing the rough copy for a story where I’ve ignored the first words, and every time I’ve made that error, the inspiration simply hasn’t started flowing. If I am quick enough to catch the first words and write them as they are given, then they have a magic starting power which causes all the other words to flow.
I thought the concept of first thoughts being divinely given was a wonderful idea to grasp, and quite valuable too, especially for indecisive types like myself who really do need help making decisions sometimes when we’re battle-weary. I went back to my friend to request the correct spelling and interpretation of this important concept so I could share it with readers.
Next time you’re struggling with your prose, or to come up with a story title, remember your Kara-pu-toro, or ‘first thought divine inspiration’.
See ya’ in the funny papers,
Yvette K. Carol
“We have to be very careful exploring the sacred mechanics of creative writing. “Someone will throw a monkey wrench into the thing, and we’ll never write another line.” ~ Leonard Cohen
“Now let’s write our brains out passionately and with minimal reference to grids and rules. Let’s write from a love of the art and the heart of fiction.” ~ PJ Reece
*You can sign up to receive my fortnightly Newsletter to get exclusive insight from my journey as a writer in life, and hear my and other writers news announcements before anyone else hears them, as well as getting helpful links, by using the subscribe widget on the front page of my website http://www.yvettecarol.com or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “subscribe” in the subject line.