On titles and originality

When I first started blogging the creation of this novel, I plucked a name out of thin air to describe it: The End Credits. I have no idea where it came from or why I thought it would apply to the story.

It didn't last long and I immediately began casting around for a more appropriate title for the piece.

I'm hopeless at titles. This novel is my third book length manuscript. The title for each of my previous pieces I can attribute to either friends or family. My first novel, Here Today had a working title Happiness. I don't know what you think, but Here Today does the business in a way Happiness never could.

And so the tradition continues. When the protagonist of the current novel began composing a song, I thought I might as well make it a real piece of music. I chose a song I wrote with a mate of mine back in my band days called Crooked Lines. The song itself is delicate and acoustic with some cool vocal flourishes that sadly the text in the novel will never quite live up to. Anyway, it seemed like the kind of song my character would write and the lyrics fit the story reasonably well. Well enough, in fact that I thought Crooked Lines seemed like a perfectly good title for the whole novel.

And here's the rub. The part of the song I wrote was actually the music, my friend wrote the lyrics (although I have the vague recollection that the suggestion of "crooked lines" as the title was mine). And we didn't know at the time that the Go-Betweens wrote a song by the same title. Now that I do know, I don't really care. The title stays, at least for the song.

That's the other thing. At some point a few weeks ago, I decided that identical titles for both novel and song might cause confusion all round. I thought the novel should take a bigger chunk of the song's lyrics for its title to distinguish it, even if just a little, from the song.

Plus I've never really done long titles before, so there's a novelty factor.

Anyway the title now is None Of The Other Flies Follow My Crooked Lines. And, of course, by taking a larger chunk of the song lyrics, I have absolutely held with the tradition that my titles come from other people.

At least the title of this blog is my own. That must count for something.