Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Half-Blood Prince, City of Heavenly Fire, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, The Once and Future King, and A River Runs through it

What's the link between these five books?

It's that I really like the titles. And why is this? To me great titles have to do three things. They have to have at least a little poetry, maybe from rhyme, rhythm, assonance, whatever.  Good titles have to hint at what's in the book (more important for kids' books than adult ones). Finally they have to be catchy, or memorable.

In addition, if the book is in a series, they have to link backwards and forwards through the series. Cassandra Claire, for example, achieves this with her 'City of...' titles.

There is of course a second link between all these books. I really like 'em. A River Runs Through it matches the poetry of the title in the rest of the story, and it's carried over into the movie. Take a look here:

The 4th Levels book will also be the first in a new trilogy. I've decided to move on from the song theme of the first books, and have come up with the following ideas for titles. It's soooo hard to decide.

What do you think?

1 Wait
2 Want
3 Waste

1 The girl who forgot her own face.
2 The boy who lost his past
3 The girl who gave up her name

1 Traitors Gate
2 School of War
3 The locked chapel

1 Giantarium
2 Otherself
3 Enchantless

1 Broken Knights
2 Knight Fall
3 Dead of Knight

1 Damsel
2 Lady
3 Sorceress

1 Wizard
2 Knight
3 King

If you've got an opinion, please leave a comment. i want to stop referring to this as L4...!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bigger than Jacob Black, Cooler than Jace, Smarter than ET and Jacob Cullen. What is it?

As readers we love cool, imaginary non-human species. ET, Jacob Black, Simon from the Mortal Instruments. I've got news, though. I've written a book about the coolest non-human species, and it ISN'T IMAGINARY. Here it is.

It's unfortunately called the sperm whale, which is a stupid name, because we used to think its head was filled with sperm. Go figure. It gets worse. We hunted these amazing creatures in their thousands to get the 'sperm' out of its head, so we could burn it, or grease watches with it.

Ridiculous. So I prefer to use the French name 'cachalot.' It sounds like Catch A Lot, which is what it does. It's the biggest predator EVER, bigger than dinosaurs, and what does it live on? Giant squid. It hunts them two kilometres deep, in complete darkness and pressures that would squash you flat.

It's as weird and distant as if it was hunting aliens off the plains and valleys of the moon. Most of what we know about giant squid is from the scars we've seen on cachalots, and the remains found in their stomachs.

The more I knew about cachalots, the more I knew they would make an awesome story. I worked out a way to have them interact with teenagers, and pressed 'cook.'

The NEW news is that it's free on Amazon Sunday and Monday the 3rd and 4th of March. Check it out, the story's quirky, the kid is cool, and you'll learn tons of amazing stuff. If you know a teenager who likes animals, or is a bit geeky, or maybe just curious, point them at it. They'll like it

Bizarrely, we know more about vampires and werewolves than we do about cachalots. We don't know what the stuff in their heads is for, we don't know why they have the biggest brains on earth, and we don't know why they make the LOUDEST noise of any animal ever. Louder than a jumbo jet.

The cool thing for a writer, about all these 'don't knows' is making up reasons. I made up tons of cachalot backstory, and some of it might, one day, turn out to be close to the truth. Check it out.