Saturday, January 31, 2015

Title first…or last? by Kathryn Freeman

Usually when I write a book the last thing I do is dream up the title. My mind automatically skips to the hero first and I spend many blissful hours imagining how he will look, what he will be like (it’s a tough job…). Once he’s embedded in my mind, my heart and, most importantly, a word document, I conjure up a heroine who will knock him off his manly feet. Following that I work out how they will meet, and the plot forms from there. Only when I’ve written The End do I start to think what the book will be called.

With Life After, my whole writing process was knocked on its head. I was jogging one morning – I spend most of the day on my backside so I like to begin doing something active – and my mind was running faster than my legs (as usual). Instead of working through the plot of the book I was writing, it started to drift and I recall these words suddenly bouncing through my brain: He saw his life in two parts. Life Before and Life After.

I had no idea who he was, but the words wouldn’t go away. It seemed I had come up with the title of a book, but with no content to back it up. A totally foreign experience for me. By the time I made it to the computer my mind was buzzing with possibilities for the plot, but I still had no idea who he was, which frustrated me. Could I think of a plot without having met my hero? Whoever he was, he had to have experienced a life-changing event, so I started from there. My idea for this incident, as my hero refers to it as, led me down a certain path…and sorry, I can’t say more than that here. I can tell you that by now this hero was shouting at me. I could see him. Jake, with the dark hair and somber grey eyes. I knew who he’d been, what he’d lived through and who he was now. And knowing all this I could imagine the woman he’d fall in love with. Kat, with the curly hair and bubbly personality, who would shake up his life all over again.

I’ve written several books since Life After but always with the hero first, and the title last. I would love to experience writing it the other way round again. Maybe I need to go jogging more ☺

Kathryn Freeman
Twitter: @kathrynfreeman1

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