A New Term, A New Manuscript, and Soon, A New Title

Hello, and welcome to the glossy new Start to Finish page for the tentatively titled Conspiring to be Meri, the young adult fiction manuscript we acquired this spring by the uber-talented writer Meagan Macvie! For those unfamiliar, find her riveting work in Narrative, Fugue, and Barrelhouse, as well as on her blog.

A new manuscript brings new opportunities for developmental editing, and Meagan’s manuscript attracted some of the best editors at Ooligan Press: Chelsea Lobey, Gloria Mulvihill, and Theresa Tyree. Meagan completed the first round of revisions early in the summer term, and our team—under the guidance of the astute, new editorial colead, Whitney Edmunds—worked diligently to recommend developmental edits for the second round of revisions.

Now Meagan is working on the second round of revisions, and the team must wait, even though, to quote Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.” Luckily, there is still much to do. First things first, we need a nontentative title.Titles seem simple, but they are deceptively difficult to come up with. I recently heard Salman Rushdie talk about a game he played with Christopher Hitchens that illustrates how tricky titles can be. They called the game “Titles That Didn’t Quite Make It” and came up with the following list:

  • The Big Gatsby
  • For Whom the Bell Rings
  • Farewell to Weapons
  • Toby Dick

As you can see, changing just one word makes an epic title less than epic. Our challenge is to identify an epic title that does our novel justice. While we begin brainstorming, I’ll leave you with a short list of almost-titles I inadvertently came up with since first hearing about the title game:

  • Pride and Preconceived Idea
  • To Exterminate a Mockingbird
  • A Tale of Two Towns
  • Substantial Expectations
  • Delinquency and Punishment
  • Their Peepers Were Watching God
  • All the Light You Cannot Discern
  • Game of Dominions
  • The Hue Purple

Next time: copyediting, marketing plans, design briefs, and more!

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