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How I got my title

Updated: May 10

My working title for the YA dark fantasy I'm writing is White Light Pictures.


The story behind it makes for quite an amusing anecdote.


Last summer, my girlfriend, Beverly, and I felt like ice-cream. We went out to the shop close by and bought one each. We strolled through our neighbourhood as we ate our ice-creams.


On one of the streets I am barely familiar with, I noticed a small film studio. It looked abandoned but the neon logo was still intact.


White Light Studios, it read.


Sometimes I allow possible titles in my head to influence a story idea. I spend a lot of time just sitting and thinking of titles and then let the jumble of words I come up with give me a plot, a setting, an entire novel idea.


I stared at that neon logo for a long time, ice-cream melting and running down my hand.


I went home and brainstormed off of that title. I filled an entire notebook with ideas. I had the setting of a fictional town, my protagonist, my deuteragonist, my villain.


When you think of White Light Pictures, I suppose what you're likely to see is: film studio, photography studio, theatre company, production company, and so on along those lines.


What I saw was: Limbo; young man gets trapped in Limbo; falls in love with a Limbo resident; young man finds it hard to justify going back home.


I can't tell you how I got that far with just a film studio title, but I did.


White Light Pictures is still a working title and it's liable to change but I'm grateful for that stroll through the neighbourhood because it is that working title that gave me everything I have now.


And what I have, an almost-completed YA dark fantasy novel, makes me proud of how far I've come. It's rare for me to be truly proud of my work but this one feels like the one.


We hear a lot about how writers hone their craft and about their rituals to help perfect their novels, and we read a lot about things all writers ought to do. I tried a lot of those things but, in the end, what works for me is what works for me. Just a title. And the brain does the rest.


I hope that, one day, a novel in your hand will have that title on the cover, because it's due to those three words that the rest of the pages exist.

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