A Horse With No Name

I’m writing this post on Monday 13th June, in order to have it on the blog on Wednesday 15th June. I’m organised, see? Well it’s organised for me... Besides, tomorrow is our annual Ascot day and I possibly won’t be able to function post midday. Note to self – don’t forget to go online and ‘study the form’ of the ‘gee gees’.

Okay, I won’t really be going online to read The Racing Post. I will do what I always do; pick a jockey with my favourite colours or a horse with a good name, which sort of (tenuous link alert) leads me to think/write about book titles and the ‘look’ of a book.

Being truthful, it’s often what I do in the 3 for 2 section. If I like the look of the book and the title THEN I pick it up and read the blurb. If I like the blurb, I often read the first page. If I like that, it becomes one of the three purchases.

I love a good title, me. I love short snappy ones, and have a bit of a penchant for ones that contain three words e.g The Horse Whisperer, Pride And Predjudice, Brave New World, or more recently Water For Elephants and Cutting The Stone.

Why then did I send out a manuscript to agents with the title ‘Journey To The Monkey Nut’? Eh? Granted, it was a couple of years ago, but I’ve recently revisited the novel, made some changes to the plot and I really dislike the original working title. Don’t get me wrong - it sort of made sense at the time and was explained in the old 'blurb', but today two years later, it feels completely wrong. Weird...

So, here’s where I ask for help. I haven’t got a new blurb for the re-worked novel yet, so I can’t give you a hint. I haven’t got a new synopsis written nor have I got a new title... mainly because I’m immersed in finishing my current WIP. But it’s there, nagging at the back of my mind (tenous Ascot link alert). So, here’s the first scene – Go on! Challenge yourselves! Work backwards! What would YOU call it?

Chapter One - Beth Who?

‘My husband is a philanderer,’ I answer her. She sits, legs crossed, taking notes in her feint lined legal pad. ‘That’s a four syllable word for a cheating dick-wit. How am I supposed to feel?’ I’m twitching slightly at the futility of the question and my words seem to come out in a venomous spit. ‘He’s moved in with a waitress!’ I pause to catch my breath. In my head, I apologise to all the nice waitresses in the world. Aloud, I finally reveal how I really feel, as my right hand clutches my upper left side. ‘I feel betrayed. It feels like physical pain...’

Dr Caroline Gothenburg seems sympathetic. At least she has an effective sympathetic nodding of the head motion. She has long legs encased in glossy tights and I wonder if she has ever been betrayed in her shiny life. With beautiful green eyes, set in a heart shaped face, flanked by titian curls - she’s very good looking. Lots of qualifications adorn her wall.

‘I’d like you to do me a time line for the next session,’ she interrupts my thoughts, explaining what she means. I frown. I’m an intelligent woman. What the hell am I doing here? When did I become this ‘last to know’ cliché? How long has this woman got? I look again at her neat ordered frame.

‘It will help me get to know you,’ she says. ‘Who is Beth? What makes Beth be Beth? I’d like to understand who you are, where you come from?’

‘Me too,’ I whisper.



Karen said...

Just from reading that (great by the way!) I'd say Beth Who? is the perfect title :o)

I like your way of picking winners at the races by the way - pretty much the same as mine!

Neil said...

Judging solely from this first page and not knowing where it is leading, I would suggest 'Last to Know' - fits your like of the 3 word title.
It has been used before though - I really struggled to come up with a snappy title for my book which hadn't been used before. To get something unique, you might have to complicate it - eg 'Last to Know, Last to Forget.'
Good luck!

Caroline Green said...

Oh Fi, I love it!!!!!

Yeah, Beth Who? is a lovely title.
Keep on with this! It's a winner!

Debs Riccio said...

I like 'Beth Who' too - 'Last to know' sounds like one I've read before... in my head I had 'Being Beth' or 'Becoming Beth' or something with alliteration because I'm a sucker for a nice bit of alliteration, me. Good opener too, well done x

BJ said...

Thank you for putting up your Chapter One for us to name - love this kind of thing - the story is about overcoming disaster and self discovery (I think) - So... Finding Beth, or Beths Betrayal. How about Alpha Beth, or Pride of Beth or Beth on me!(in keeping with the 3 word rule) Good luck with your work BJ