After 40,000 words in the wrong direction I started over and kept going until I had a finished manuscript.
My problem was that I didn’t know what to call it. I didn’t even know its genre. The title that appears on my cards and on my website is Family Time – A Genealogical Memoir. The problem with that is that it isn’t a memoir. Most of the book’s events never happened.
What I did was trace the histories of two great grandmothers, two grandmothers, three great aunts and my mom – all of whom I knew when I was growing up – and bring them back through time to interact with me and … The ‘and’ is a mitochondrial DNA ancestor who lived 12,000 years ago.
I’ve let several people read it. Some liked it. Some didn’t. And one pointed out that it wasn’t a memoir. Finally admitting this, I relayed that fact to my writers group, asking for new titles.
They all knew the story – having listened chapter by chapter as it developed. They came up with several alternatives: “Family Journey”, “Family Visitors”, "Tea with the Ancestors", “Beneath the Family Tree”, “The Ghosts in My Parlor”, and “A Family Haunting”.
Then I pointed out that all nine (ten if you count me) main characters are women. So they came up with: “The Women Within Me”, “The Ladies of My Line”, "Moms, Grands, and GreatxN Grands" [I think they were getting tired], “Women to the 100th Power”, and “Exponential Women.”
All of these ideas were zapped through emails. When we met in person, we finally agreed. “Family Time” all by itself is just fine, especially since the manuscript seriously considers time – past, present, etc.
At the end of our meeting, we also agreed that our decision doesn't really matter. A publisher will probably change the title anyway.
So. Its title is simply: Family Time.
I still don’t know what its genre is.
Friday, September 24, 2010
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