For those that don't know, Graduation Summer was always meant to be just a working title. No more, no less. It was a case of not having any idea what the title was supposed to be before I started writing, which is unusual for me. With everything I've ever written, the title came along with the story, if not before. This time, it didn't. I named it what I did because I was tired of calling it the Untitled Crazy Freddy story.
I tried everything. I made lists of potential titles, nothing. Asked friends based on just the synopsis, got interesting feedback but nothing that worked. Asked my beta readers to give me ideas based on what they read, again, good feedback, but nothing that fit. I was resigning myself to letting an editor pick the title once I submitted it for publication.
Then it happened. That moment of inspiration.
When I'm working on a first draft, the first thing I see is the title. Whenever I loaded it up to work on it, I saw the title "Graduation Summer" with whatever draft it was afterwards (AKA "Graduation Summer - First Draft")(For completionists out there, it's a .doc file, so you can add that to the end). When I edit though, all I see is story. The cover page is already in the manuscript box it's getting stored in once I finish the markups (see my last post for an explanation on my editing process). Since story is all I see, that's what I get to focus on.
When you edit, especially during that first or second read-through, you get more of the subtext. That stuff's not even on my radar when I write the first draft. I don't care about theme, I'm going for straight, blissful, escapism story. Anything resembling a theme or a central message is put in there entirely by my subconscious (hmmm, almost makes the case for writing as psychotherapy; may have to explore that later). When I re-read for editing, that stuff finally emerges.
For this one, I realized that every single character in the story - major, minor, or otherwise - has to deal with the consequences of their choices. That's when it hit me. Who cares about subtlety? I'm writing freaking horror novels here! Call it what it deals with!
So, after sleeping on it and still liking it, and getting feedback from the wife and a couple of beta readers, "Graduation Summer" gets to lose its working title. The story is officially titled Consequences.
One word, catchy, grabs your attention. Consequences.
Now let's hope it survives the submission process!