Naming My Babies…and My Books

I have often heard writers refer to their novels as their “babies.” It’s a metaphor that may seem to skate the line of hyperbole, yet is one I recently came to appreciate. Completing a manuscript is labor intensive, but it is a labor of love. (And yes, I intentionally used the word labor…twice…my apologies).  Like I said, I have heard the baby/book comparison before, and never really thought about it much until the other day – when I was updating my NaNo page. As I mentioned in a recent post, the idea I have for this year’s NaNo book is bright and clear and I have an incredibly confident feeling that it will be published.  I’d risk saying I know it will be published – and I’m not one to make outlandish claims like that.  On the NaNo novel info page, they have a space to fill in the book’s title.  Granted, many titles are, like the novels themselves, a work in progress – and it is assumed that the title you choose to type in on your NaNo page may go through as many revisions as the book itself.

If I’m confident about the viability of my 2010 NaNo novel, I’m even more confident about its title. The book has its name. Oddly enough, it’s my absolute surety concerning the name of this book that made my fingers hesitate on the keys…in the end, this is is what I typed:

Like the names of my children, the title is being kept secret until delivery day!

Lemme explain by stretching the baby/book metaphor even further.

Let’s think about the most common questions that pop up when people know you are expecting a baby:

1 – How are you feeling? (How’s the baby?)

2 – Do you know what you’re having?

3 – Any names picked out?

And now let’s think about the most common questions that pop up when people know you are writing a novel:

1 – How is the writing going? (How’s the book?)

2 – What kind of book is it?

3 -Do you have a title picked out?

With both my babies (the offspring of my body, not my brain) the husband and I kept the potential names very quiet. It was a very special, personal thing for us – something neither us felt ready to share with anyone until our baby was here and named. Maybe because we didn’t care to hear anyone else’s opinions or comments  – positive or otherwise – whatever the reason, it felt more comfortable to keep both Miss A and Lil’ G’s names under wraps until they were born.

That’s how I feel about this new book – protective and secretive and a little afraid that if I speak its name aloud before I’m ready, some of its power, some of its incredible potential, will fade.

And speaking of my babies, please tell me how this:

Turned into this:

Miss A will be 7 1/2 this Friday. That’s half way to 8. Which is half way to 16. I think I’m half way to crying.

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