Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Importance of Naming Books Right.


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

That's true, Julie baby. Yet, imagine if you were called Imogen. 

Romeo and Imogen. Or Gunther and Juliet... doesn't quite compliment, does it? Or is it that we're so used to R and J that anything else just sounds weird?

For the most part, a book's title, the names of its characters and it's writing should be cohesively married. A lot of authors refuse to write a single word before having wild christening parties for the book's title and character names. George R R Martin :)

For both, It's Your Move, Wordfreak and Bootie and the Beast, I had title and names decided before I sat down to write. And, I suppose they were good and apt as neither of my publishers asked me to change them.

With my work in progress, LUHU, I started out similarly-had both title and character names down before I began writing. 

Why? Because it gives me a start-off point and a go-to point when/if I get lost. For me, the title of my book is the broad theme of it. 

In It's Your Move, Wordfreak, the character Wordfreak/Aryan had to make all the main moves: go after Wordiva, tell her the truth,forgive his father...

In Bootie and the Beast, a bootie triggers Sleeping Beauty to wake up and poke the Beast, And the Beast to tame his Beauty. 

But something has happened in LUHU. Half through it, I am suddenly unsure of the title...though it is apt. Its just stopped fitting as it was in the beginning. And I am worried what that means.

That brought me to this post. I thought by writing about it, it might clear my head. 

Can TITLE affect the flavor of a story? Do character names matter or is it simply the character that matters. Would Frankenstein inspire awe if it was named Casper?

BTW: great example of a misleading book title. Most people assume (those who've not read the classic and therefore SPOILER ALERT) that Frankenstein is the monster. Nope, Franky is the doctor who made the Monster.

Other examples of misleading titles:

To Kill a Mockingbird which has nothing to do with lessons in bird watching or hunting or even taxidermy but with a trial of an innocent black man and his white attorney.

Of Mice and Men you'd think was about a plague or science experiment about a cross-species of mice and men. Its actually about wandering migrant workers during the Great Depression. 

Wow. Right?

But that just proves that titles don't have to match the prose. Then we have titles that match so well they've become engraved in history. And titles that are better than the story...

So, Dear Reader, how much do you think titles and names matter, in the end? 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I realize that the title of this post sounds a bit narcissistic. I'm not denying it isn't, but this is just what happens to me when I write well. Um yes, when I write badly its worse. I also realize that you may have read a thousand other posts on "My Writing Process." One or two that I might have written too...but this one's less words and more GIFs, for time's sake.

Anyway, here's me in the throes of new prose. Oh hey! I'm a poet too.

When I start, I'm all...

Somewhere before the middle, I get like...

Then I'm like...
I had it. I just had it! Where the #@$* did it go?

Thats when I phone a friend...

And am ready to....

But, all is well because your friend gets you like no one else...

Then I'm like...

And THEN the volcano erupts...

And finally its that day...

Would you believe I go through this with every book?

(gif sources: web searches)

Monday, September 1, 2014


It's LABOR DAY! The end of summer. My excuse train just left its last station and won't stop now for two months, come high water or Hagrid. 

What happens in the next two months? Well, PLAN A is that I FINISH LUHU, my work in progress, whose protagonist I am finally...finally...have made nice with. So, crossing fingers, Peeps, this will go smoothly.

My issues with LUHU were many: plot question-marks, my utter bewilderment with its characters motivations, my protagonists lack of focus, destination, or drive...which wasn't such a bad thing but wasn't sitting well with me. 

Not NORMAL, I kept thinking. This book is not normal for me. First time I'm attempting First Person POV. First time it may not be a Happily Ever After. First time the sense of the book is melancholy. (I don't do melancholy well.) Which is great in real life but frustrating in LUHU-land.

Hence, the heavy delays in writing. But, as I get to know Simi (THE PROTAGONIST) better, I'm getting over many of the above mentioned hang-ups. Hurrah! 

And now its BACK TO THE SPINNING WHEEL, for me.

I'll leave you with an excerpt. Be sure to check in here or on my FB page and/or Twitter for regular updates about LUHU. Plus, do sign up for my NEWSLETTER. I generally send those out twice a year but am thinking I might do them share news of my writing life and yippee, contests. With prizes! :) 


I loved that Dr. Archer spoke directly to me. He addressed Nirvaan only sporadically. Childbearing was a woman’s prerogative, after all. Though in my case, I’d hardly use the word prerogative. Coerced would be more apt.

I took a deep breath and let it out. I wasn’t ready to be a mother. Not yet. Maybe I’d never be. The thought of being responsible for another person’s health and security scared me like nothing else. Nirvaan knew that. I’d thought of children as waves crashing over a distant horizon. I’d discussed…or no, we’d never discussed having a baby, Nirvaan and I. Not before we got married. Not after. Not until Nirvaan was diagnosed with cancer and the option of freezing his sperm before his first chemo came up—a treatment that had left him irreversibly sterile.

I didn’t want to deny my husband this wish. But I do not want a baby. Not now. Not when our lives were in flux again.

“Well, that’s a lot of information to sort through,” said Dr. Archer, winding down at last. The walls in his office weren’t the calming colors of the Pacific Ocean. They were the no-nonsense white of his doctor’s coat. “Meanwhile, we can start monitoring your cycle. You need to come in for a detailed consult next week, Mrs. Desai. We’ll do some more blood work, a preliminary ultrasound. Narrow down the best route for you. Prescribe medications for maximum ovarian stimulation and so forth.” He glanced at his desktop monitor. “I have Monday afternoon and Thursday morning open. Or, you can call my assistant for later dates.”

“Monday’s great,” replied Nirvaan when I pretended to scroll through my largely appointment-less phone calendar.

Monday was only three days away. I could be pregnant by the end of the month. My husband might be dead by this time next year.

My breath turned to stone in my lungs. The white walls of the doctor’s office shrank, pushing at me. I thought I’d finally scream.

“Call whenever you’re ready.” Dr. Archer’s words were kind. His pale blue eyes were kinder. “Call if you have any questions. Any doubts. Your youth really is in your favor and its not infertility that we are dealing with in your situation but extenuating circumstances. Even though we have a limited amount of your husband’s sperm to work with, we have an excellent success rate, Mrs. Desai. Rest assured.”

Hysteria bubbled up in my throat. He thought I was worried this wouldn’t work. How do I confess to him, to anyone, that I was petrified that it would?

I'm glad I didn't quit this story. What does thee think, Peeps?