First off, wow, In the Biz was a hit. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and applauding Suzanne’s responses. I hope some of our new guests stick around. Café Lopez has a lot to share in the days/months/years ahead 🙂
A couple of days ago, I came across a little tidbit about one of my favorite books, William Faulkner’s A Light in August. To be fair, the source was Wikipedia, so there’s no telling how universal this opinion may be, but it drew my attention nevertheless:
Supposedly, one summer evening while sitting on a porch, [William Faulkner’s] wife remarked on the strange quality that light in the south has during the month of August. Faulkner rushed out of his chair to his manuscript, scratched out the original title, and penciled in Light in August. (But this is probably apocryphal given the huge symbolic role that both light and the month of August play in the novel.)
The first thing I did was look up the definition for apocryphal. My next act was to challenge the writer’s claim. You see, to me, the story sounds perfectly plausible. If there’s one thing that I think all writers can agree on, it’s that some most of our best ideas come from the unlikeliest of places. Don’t believe me? Then consider the origin of the title to The Dead Don’t Cry.
I was in Puerto Rico at the time, visiting my grandparents, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to call my book. At 40,000 words into the novel, this was a problem. Rather than dwell on it, I plodded onward, hoping that something would just come to me. And you know what? That’s exactly what happened. I was watching one of the very few movies I own (the excellent Volver) with my grandparents, when Penelope’s Cruz’s character informed her mother, offhandedly I might add, that “los phantasmos no lloran.”
Ghosts don’t cry.
I knew the instant the words were spoken that I had just heard the title to my book. The funny thing was, it wasn’t my first, or even second time seeing the movie, yet the stars must have been aligned in just the right way – because the epiphany couldn’t have been clearer. Thematically, the title has since become inextricable from my book. I only hope that one day that isn’t held against me.
How about you? Any cool stories about titles that came magically out of the blue? I’d love to read about them!