However, I had to give my stories names rather than descriptions or numbers because I needed my stories to be differentiated one from the other, as I have explained before. I chose generic titles that were so forgettable that I have forgotten them. As I have also said before, I named each later by the name of the heroine. Therefore, Dr No Commitment was once Ally.
However, when I was writing the blurb to send Ally off to Random Romance, I started calling Rohan Dr No Commitment and so I changed the title to that, so that I wouldn’t be too boring. After the sale and all during the edits I waited for the name change that never happened, which put paid to the story that ‘they always’ change the author’s titles.
Losing Patients was called Bree, but I had a contest among my SARA-mates (for which no one received a prize) for a book title. I had many suggestions, all hilarious, but being so punny, Losing Patients won the competition. For sure, that would be changed. Nope.
Finding titles for my historical series was too hard. I’ve read the titles of other authors and most are forgettable, which means that I borrow the same books by my favorite authors again and again at the library. I prefer memorable titles myself because of my pre-occupied brain.
I thought ‘Starling’ was memorable and so I submitted her as that. The title wasn’t changed. Since my keeping-the-title average seemed so good, I left Ella and Charlotte and they weren’t changed either. Myth number one exploded.
The next was ‘they don’t like prologues.’
Before I was published, I entered many writing competitions mainly with Starling but also with Ella and Bree. (Dr No was unseen by anyone until I submitted it to Random House.) I had started with a normal, carefree Bree talking to her mother about her new job. A judge in a writing competition suggested the story should start where the action starts. I had tried that before and I didn’t think it worked, but I did it again. With that start, a US publisher made me an offer of publication, which I decided not to take—I didn’t think I could live with that publishers’ covers. Then I sold Losing Patients to Random Romance and my editor thought the story would be better with ‘a day in the life. . .’ first scene. I put back the old one. Boom boom.
Originally, Starling began with her applying for her job. After not finaling in her first couple of contests, a suggestion was made by a judge that I should start with a short episode showing the hero’s dilemma. I wrote a scene depicting that, and the story won the next comp. That was how I submitted Starling when she was sold. And, cough, my editor suggested I get rid of that scene.
Ella began with a short scene between the hero and his grandfather. You guessed it. A competition judge thought I should omit that scene. It’s baaaack (though in another form) because my editor thought I needed to start there where I had first started.
So, ‘they don’t like prologues’ only seems to be where I didn’t write one. So far, every beginning of each of my first four books has been the one I originally wrote, whether it’s a prologue or not. I don’t know about Charlotte yet because she hasn’t been edited, but I’m saying now that I wrote a brief prologue. That’s for the record (and to save a million explanations about how what happened, happened, throughout the story.)
I start where I think a start works and my various editors have agreed so far.
No one has ever asked for my advice as to where to start a story but if they ever do (mind you, I give constant unsolicited advice) I won’t advise for or against prologues or spread the word that you always get a new title.
My conclusion about myths is that they are . . . myths.