By Bethany Maines
The good news: I have a new short story coming out on Tax Day! Yes, that is an infamously black day, but I thought I’d give people something to look forward to.
The bad news: I’m having serious second thoughts about the story title.
Up until now it’s been known rather blandly as Cops & Robbers. The story – part of my Tales From the City of Destiny series – features Sam Roseberry, a Tacoma Detective and Native American shaman in training, as he hunts down a killer who’s been murdering people for their magical powers. Not only does Cops & Robbers sound like the wrong genre, it sounds about as boring as butterless popcorn. The truth is that when I’m writing, the name of the story is the farthest thing from my mind. When I call a story something initially, it’s usually something like, “The One With Sam.” Which is an even less sellable name than “Cops & Robbers.” Once my writing group insists on a name (apparently, “The One With Sam” doesn’t clarify things for them), I slap a working title on the thing and move forward. Sadly, my working titles are frequently extremely literal with a dash of cliché for easy memorization. Sam is a Cop and people are Robbing magical powers. One title – check.
My first novel was called something hideous like “Espionage Purple” and my agent delicately suggested that perhaps that maybe… er… that wasn’t the best title for the book and maybe… er… it could be changed. To which I said, “Oh, yes. That’s a terrible name. I’d love to change it.” And she said, “Great, so you should come up with some alternate titles!” I was so crestfallen. I was really hoping she would tell me what to call it. What do you mean I have to name my own book?!! The horror! The suffering! I ended up mass emailing my friends and listing out words that connected to the themes of my book. Then we all played MadLibs until we’d arrived at the far more appropriate and fun Bulletproof Mascara.
But I have to admit that the horror of naming my own stories remains. Toward that end I have narrowed down the field of names to a top three and I’m hoping that you – my internet friends – will help me pick. What’s your vote? Which one would you want to read?Bethany Maines is the author of The Carrie Mae Mysteries, as well as Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her at www.bethanymaines.com.