Kicking the one-night stand to the curb

Every writer has a process. For some, the idea comes first and once the idea is fleshed out on paper into a story, they give it a title. In the meantime, they refer to their work as their WIP- or work in progress. For others, the title is there from the beginning, either generated before the first word is ever written or shortly after.

I’ve always been a title first writer, sometimes, building an entire novel around the title. When the title is there from the beginning, I know the direction the story is going, the tone I want to convey, and the purpose of every word. Without the title, I tend to flounder. The story isn’t real to me yet. It’s like a high school writing assignment – something you have to do but will drag your feet doing it.

Several months ago, I started my current project. Note the keywords several months and current project! I knew the story beginning to end, and even the middle but writing it was a chore. The story and I fought against one another. It wanted to just lay there and die and I would come along every now and then and perform a quick bout of CPR to instill new breath. I’d tell myself ‘tomorrow night – I’ll finish this chapter’. When tomorrow night came, there was a fascinating discussion on Twitter or some heavy-duty drama going on on facebook. Did I feel guilty? Not really. I wasn’t invested in the outcome. My current work – or WIP – was like a one-night stand rather than a good marriage. I didn’t even know it’s name!

Well, yesterday, I was playing around with some design programs I have and trying my hand at cover design. Again, note the fact I was more or less just killing time, not writing. And then something magical happened. I started looking for pictures to manipulate in the various photo editing programs and there it was. As soon as I saw the picture, the title hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I joyfully kicked the WIP to the curb and happily committed to Nobody’s Baby.

It feels real now.

What do you think of the cover? It will probably change a little but I do like the concept. And yes, that’s my granddaughter Ivy high-stepping through a grassy field.



  1. Great post:) Two years ago I traveled on I-20 in east Texas and saw a sign that read WASHOUT EXPRESS EXIT 477. I wondered what a washout could be. Washout Express releases this June. I’m definitely a title first girl. Gives such great direction.

    • Lynn

      March 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Thanks for the comments, Jody. WASHOUT EXPRESS sounds interesting. Have a novel I’m still tweaking called WINK OF AN EYE, set in Wink, Texas.

  2. Linda Mitchell Shunk

    March 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I think your cover is perfect. I wouldn’t be able to resist picking it up and finding out what it was about.

  3. I feel better about having a title up front, but not having one doesn’t hinder me much. It’s like magic when the right title finally comes to me.

  4. Ditto Lynn, I’m the same way.
    It’s great…. love the cover.
    The title makes me want to read the novel- hurry girl get going, so I can readt it. 🙂

  5. Lynn, I’m so with ya here!! While the title may not knock me over the head during the idea phase, I MUST have a working title once I begin writing. Great post, and I love your new title!

  6. Good blog, Lynn! Cute baby!

    • Lynn

      March 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thanks, Joyce! It’s one of my favorite pictures of Ivy. Still say I’m going to have it put on canvas.

  7. I’m sure this doesn’t apply to all proposed titles and covers, but this one really got me thinking about the possibilities — as a writer and a reader.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. Gotta have a title, right up front, to make it real. Fun post, Lynn!

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