Until the chemistry is right

Many people think that it is important to have a title before you begin writing the book, but I think you should never sit around waiting for the right title to strike before you start writing. Crack on with the story, put in the hard work and the title will come eventually — Darren Shan

I think I may have come up with a title for my second novel. Imagine that.

It took me the weekend to come up with something. I’m not entirely committed to it yet but it feels like a good fit. I’m just going to let it linger for a bit.

Kinda like trying a new fragrance. A new blend of essential oils and aromatics. My blend already has the base and middle notes. I’ve been working with those from the beginning, refining as I move through the writing process. I’ve been playing with the top notes and they are the last pieces to the fragrance puzzle. A book title, book cover art work and the discerning eye of an editor as she combs through the manuscript once I’m ready to hand it over to her. The top notes are slowly coming together. Let each ingredient settle in, one by one. I have to see how the new title takes to the characters and the story landscape. They have to mingle. They have to be a really good fit before I can commit.

There will be chemistry. The good kind, I hope. Seriously, the last thing I want to have is the lab exploding in white hot heat. With some things, I’ll let the explosion happen. With the book, I’ll only tolerate a little smoke. Just enough to not set off the water sprinklers.

Now that I believe I have the book title, I can move forward with figuring out the art for the book cover. Can I do this myself or shall I invest in someone who has a bigger wheelhouse than me? I think I’ll have the answer by the end of this week.

I can also go back to the manuscript and work on a second draft. There’s one thing I want to add to it already. Just a handful of lines of dialogue. Then I’ll go over each scene (paragraph by paragraph, if necessary) to see if I can put a little more spunk and sparkle to what’s already there.

I stayed away from the manuscript for two weeks. But it was never far from my mind anyway. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle that length of separation but I ended up finding a couple of stories to read online that had consumed certain aspects of my imagination. Let’s just say when I go in, I find myself going in for all or nothing.

And I have to drag myself away from all-or-nothing and turn my attention to a different kind of all-or-nothing — my novel, my characters, my boys. It won’t be difficult to fall back in with my boys. They know what I’ve been indulging in and, no surprise, they whole-heartedly approve of this particular indulgence.

Now, I must head back to the lab and play with all the notes, work with my boys. Just a little more experimenting, just a little more refinement until the chemistry is just right.

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