I’ve lived with this working title for a couple of days, now. I’ve let it rattle around in my head, done a little research into the phrase I want to use, and played with it in relation to the outline. I’m still happy with it, so I’m going to move forward with it. Even if it gets changed, it’s a good focal point.
It’s funny how it just came to me, bang! as a title for the book.
It was Sunday morning, and I was doing a clustering exercise. This exercise was an inverse cluster, where I leave the central idea blank and start with the surrounding topics. Inverse clusters are really helpful when I’m searching for something–an idea, a cohesive theme, etc. I’d done a couple on this book, prior to Sunday morning, and distilled some of the central themes for the book. That morning, I’d jotted down some of the basic elements of the plot, had surrounded the central circle with characters, objects, events, and then–like I said–Bang! I had my focal point.
I looked up at my wife, shared it with her, and she smiled (and not in her “That’s nice, dear,” way; this was an “Oh, yeah!” way).
So, now that I’m happy with it, I can tell you.
As I’ve said before, this is a working title. This is my title. For me. If it lasts until publication, bonus, but as I say, this is an internal, working title:
The Wolf Tree
For most people, this phase will only have general resonance based on the words. Hopefully, though, it’s an intriguing enough phrase that potential readers will click on the link/pick up the book to see the blurb. The word “wolf” is a particular eye-catcher all on its own, these days, so that’s a good thing.
I looked up The Wolf Tree as a title and there were a couple hits–poetry, one novel–but nothing famous or popular or recent. That’s good, too; I don’t want to get my heart set on a title that’s a big hit in some area.
If you look up “wolf tree,” you’ll find a few definitions. Primarily it’s an old tree, large, usually solitary, having starved out all the competition, and it often has some flaw that has kept it from being turned into lumber. I first heard the term during a visit to the Lakewold Gardens, down in Lakewood, Washington. They have a wolf tree that’s a couple centuries old and the centerpiece of their shade garden.
As this book will be set in Seattle where King Timber reigned for many decades, The Wolf Tree works well. And as with any powerful focal element, as soon as I started thinking about it as a title for the book, it started to change the book itself. Book and Title both began to merge in my mind, each changing the other. Images, events, even characters began to shift to accommodate the newly found focus.
That tells me it’s a good title…for me, anyway.
So, that’s it, the not-so-big “reveal.” Probably anti-climactic but hey, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.