Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Kerlan Collection... and some thoughts on titles

I got a letter this week from the Friends of the Kerlan Collection, an archive of children's literature, requesting a donation for their 2007 fund-raising auction. Kate di Camillo and Emily Arnold McCully are honorary co-chairs of the event.
So I poked around in my boxes and files and found the manuscript for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, complete with editorial notes and revision letter.
Also on the title page are the scribbled possible titles I toyed with when my editor, Simon Boughton, told me that my original title The Ice Men would have to be scrapped. (Crown was also publishing a book about the Alpine Ice Man, and it would have been confusing.) This book might have ended up with one of these titles:
Castaways on the Ice
Escape from the Antarctic
Captives of the Ice
Prisoners of the Antarctic
The Wreck of the Endurance
Enduring the Antarctic
Shackleton's Amazing Voyage

Those are all in black ink. Separately, in red ink, is Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. At this far remove (almost exactly nine years ago) I can't say whether this was my idea, or whether I ran through my list on the phone with Simon and Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World was his idea, or one we came up together.
Titles always are a nuisance for me. Either one title immediately pops to mind and seems perfect, or I resort to something fairly prosaic and descriptive -- often with a subtitle. (100 True Tales from American History, for example...) Best Blogger Tips
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