Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Elana Johnson's Blogfest: Never Surrender
The experience I had was actually very recent. My debut novel will be out this fall and I have just gone into the cover art phase of the process. Prior to that, of course, was editing. One thing my editor really wanted me to change was my title. I decided to call the book Persistence of Vision. This is a physics term. It means something that you continue to see, even when it's gone. It's like when you look at the sun, then close your eyes and you can see a purple sun against the insides of your eyelids. What you see is an after-image. The phenomenon of seeing it is called Persistence of Vision.
I used this term because in my story, Maggie Harper loses a year of her memories in a mysterious accident. Yet, there are things from that year that keep coming back to her, specific memories of a particular man. It's not possible for her to remember these things--they aren't in her head anymore--yet somehow she still does. Thus begins the romance, adventure, mystique and all-around awesomeness of Maggie's journey.
This is the first book in a futuristic, dystopian fantasy series, and I'd wanted to name each installment after a similar scientific phenomenon that the characters encounter. These are fun to mess around with because my books aren't 'hard' science fiction. They focus much more on the characters and their emotional experiences than on technology or socioeconomic agendas. These phenomena, then, can work on many levels in the story: one for the phenomenon itself; another for the way the characters experience/apply it emotionally; and yet another one for the way it figures in the plot. It's perfect!
My editors didn't like the title. They said that when they mentioned the title to people who had no background information about the book (story, genre, etc.), most people thought it was a non-fiction Christian living book.
Well, no offense to my editors, but I don't think this was a fair test. The people they 'experimented' on with the title were those they worked with. (a.k.a. people who work for a company that publishes mostly Christian-themed books). They are bound to have certain prejudices. Besides, there's the cover to consider, and I don't think many people will walk into the fiction section of the bookstore, pick up a novel from the scifi/fantasy section and go, "Hmm. I wonder if this is a nonfiction Christian living book..."
Anyway, long story short, I fought for my title and got to keep it. As the book won't be out for a few more months, I have yet to experience any validation, but I'm glad I fought for my title. I will be able to do the series the way I want to, now, and I think the titles will make the story richer and more satisfying.
That's right: Never Surrender! :D