Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Elana Johnson's Blogfest: Never Surrender

In honor of Elana Johnson's newest book, Surrender, the second installment of Possession, she's hosting a blog fest in which each blogger need only post about a time when they didn't 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


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8 comments :

  1. Awesome Never Surrender story Liesel. I'm sure it was hard sticking to what you thought was best for your title with your publisher.

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  2. Good for you. I have to say, my first thought when I read the title was NOT "oh, sweet, I love me some Christian living!" I'd say that yes, probably your editors weren't reaching out too far. I think the idea of named a series of books after a scientific phenomenon encountered in each book is an AWESOME idea - not least because, well, I love learning new weird things about science, ESPECIALLY if they come in the form of swell dystopian novels. So go you! I'm glad you stuck it out. Editors are often wonderful people, but they can occasionally be a little shortsighted...

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    1. Thank you Jericha! I went and read your story as well. I loved it! I'd love to learn all the histories of dancing that you talk about (I actually write historical fiction, too, and can totally see incorporating it into a story!) And of course the physical aspect of belly dancing sounds fun as well. Thanks for taking the time to read mine. I've become a follower of your blog (love your humor and writing style!)

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  3. Good job on keeping what's important to you. I'm excited to read your book! Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

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  4. Congrats on your first book! I'll have to check it out when it's published. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Lisa @ Lost in Literature

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    1. Thanks! I'll keep you updated! Thanks for stopping by! :D

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