Finding a title is, for me, one of the most difficult things about writing a book. Most of my novels have a name that I know will not make it to publication. All my books, to date, started out as something completely different that, as the novel progressed, or my editor/beta-readers gave their feedback I realised simply didn’t work. Then it was back to searching for an appropriate phrase that hooked potential readers.
Mostly this involved hours of brainstorming and searching through the text for that magical combination of words that no one would be able to resist.
As you know, from pervious blogs, “Shadows on the Grass” started as a full scale historical novel which I called “Daughters of the Eagle,” which I thought worked well as four of the main characters, Maria, Mimi, Hannah and Marianna had all lived through the tumultuous history of Poland in the late 19th to mid-20th century and the eagle referred to the Polish coat of arms.
With a shorter novel, much of which is set in sixties Bristol this did not work as well, so once again I had to re-think my original concept.
The phrase “Shadows on the Grass” was used in the early version by Marianna but deleted in the new version so I felt that if I wanted to use it, I would have to find another source.
A quick Google and I found,
“What is life? …It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot Warrior and Orator.
Since “Shadows on the Grass” does indeed deal with the impermanence of life, this was perfect.
Why then did it not find its way into the final version?
Well, this is where I have to admit to a total slip-up. When Peter Coleborn, who proof-read and formatted the book, asked for the prelims, I forgot to send the quote. When he asked me to check that everything was in order, I missed it.
So no one to blame but myself.
Lesson to self: be more careful next time. Though hopefully the lack of the quote has not taken away anyone’s enjoyment of the novel.