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I'm feeling very paranoid about my book titles.

I'm really excited to be done with my major rewrite of the book formerly known as "Secondhand Souls."  I've passed the draft on to a few volunteer readers and now I get to play the waiting game for a few weeks before I try doing any more revisions to it.  It'll be tricky to get this one ready to release by my intended date in October, but I think I can do it.

The only problem is that I'm still hung up on the title.

Sigh... I still like this one....
I do actually have a new title for it now.  One that I actually kinda like.  But I'm terrified to say it out loud for fear that either it'll get outright stolen (unlikely) or that I'll somehow invoke the spirits of Bad Luck and another writer will come up with the same idea moments before I have a chance to publish (also unlikely).

It's such a bad feeling it's even extended to the new book I'm working on, which I'm just calling "a post apocalyptic comedy" in public.  I have a title for it, and I probably even wrote it somewhere on this blog before.  But there's this part of me that believes if I don't refer to it by that name out loud, I'll be better able to actually use it later.

It's obviously silly to obsess this much.  Titles are important, but they aren't this important.  Really what I should be paranoid and neurotic about is the quality of the story itself.  There's all kinds of books and movies out there that fail to live up to their titles because it seems like the people who made them started with a clever hook and then failed to flesh out an actual story.  That sounds like a way worse fate for my book than having to settle for a second place title.

But I can't help it.  It just sucks when you come up with something and you find out somebody else already beat you to it.

When I take a cold look at myself in the mirror, I realize these feelings aren't really new, unfortunately.  There was an odd period in my youth where I was so paranoid about all of my ideas that I password-protected literally anything I generated.  Even if it was a shitty four line poem about cats, I had to make sure nobody could see it but me.  (Because, you see, everything I touched was obviously going to turn into gold, and "they" were waiting to steal all my ideas and profit from them.)

It was such gross, narcissistic absurdity that I laugh now, but it really threw me for a loop at the time.  I remember thinking at one point that my computer was bugged or that I was otherwise being monitored by The Man for the sole purpose of stealing my story ideas.  My proof for this?  Because I once wrote a story about genetically engineered super soldiers, and then the next year they released the movie Soldier.

Never mind that genetically engineered super soldiers are one of the oldest cliches in science fiction (and never mind that I myself surely lifted the idea from one or more of the Final Fantasy games).  Nope, it couldn't possibly just be either a coincidence or a simple case of simultaneous inspiration that happens every single day.  No - there had to be a conspiracy where a cabal of greedy, profit-minded corporate thieves did their research and found out that the single greatest idea-haver in the world was some random preteen in the suburbs, and the only possible way to get the goods was to enact a covert spy operation to look for morsels of gold in between all the random angsty outbursts.  What?  Meet with me?  How absurd.  That's too much work.  No, no, no, spy on the kid - that's how you make the big bucks.

Needless to say, I've gotten better about controlling these feelings over the years.  (Most notably, I can clearly see there is no conspiracy, so at least there's that.)

It's funny and a little bit ironic, too.  As I've grown older, wiser, and more skeptical, I have taken away any faith I might have put in weird conspiracy theories.  But I now worship at the altar of Cosmically Bad Luck, and I still find myself trying to make weird little offerings.  Is that progress?  Maybe not, but it's at least less vain.  I may just have to settle for that.

All the Other Nonsense That Got Pushed Off the Main Page (Post Archive)

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