what’s in a name?

27 01 2012

Hello! Been awhile.

I’ve been recharging my batteries (see also: sitting on my lazy ass playing video games and watching television) and it’s high time to get back to being productive. To wit, finishing up final edits on Stars Fall and releasing that book… and starting my 2012 project.

I could use your help on the latter. For the six or seven of you still reading my blog after all these years, let me posit the basic concept of the new story series to you.

THE PITCH: Ever since Edison’s experiment to talk to the dead succeeded, ghosts have been popping up all over the place. Now they’re a rare but noted minority in America, with hard-won civil rights and laws to protect them from unlawful exorcisms — and to protect the public from them should they lose control and go poltergeist. The government office in charge of this is the Bureau of Postmortem Affairs, and their top agent just had a massive and improbable heart attack while investigating a supposedly routine haunting. A life saving transplant saved him from death’s door… but someone came along for the ride.

Spoooky. But with plenty of opportunity for comedy, drama, mystery, adventure, yadda. My usual modus.

THE CAST: This is something of a spoiler, but hey, things could change as I develop this — and at worst it’s a Middle of Chapter 1 Spoiler.

  • Unnamed Middle Aged Government Agent, who is adept at juggling the department’s bureaucracy as he is at investigating the most incomprehensible of haunts. Consummate professional. Loner. Kind of boring. Doesn’t pay attention to his own life as it goes by.
  • Unnamed Ghostly Girl, who was just about to start her freshman year in college when she died and someone noticed she was an organ donor. Is stuck haunting her old heart, stuck in a situation she’s completely unprepared for, and not sure what she should be doing with her newfound unlife.

No romance planned between the two. He’s twice her age, after all.

THE PROBLEM: It needs a title.

Death and ghosts are very, VERY common elements in stories, and all the really good titles based on puns or folksy sayings or what have you are taken. While legally I COULD reuse a title someone already used, in general it’s wise to steer clear.

My original title for this project, “Familiar Haunts,” is taken. My backup title which is punchier and cooler, “Postmortem,” is also taken. My double fallback title, “Lifeafter” is taken.

I need something simple, catchy, URL-friendly, and intriguing. Something that mixes in the supernatural with the mundane, which is the primary theme of the story — how ghosts, normally mysterious monsters, could integrate into the day to day life of modern America and what they may be seeking in their new “lives” as unaging incorporeal spirits unable to move on.

I’ll warn two things:

1. I’ll probably shoot down most of the ideas. It’s gotta really ring a bell or touch a nerve for me to get fired up about it.

2. As always, ANYTHING you submit to my blog, you have to voluntarily surrender your copyright and legal claim to. I don’t want to end up in an ugly scenario down the road where somehow I apparently get rich and successful and someone comes knocking asking for a royalty check.

So… if you’ve got anything, let me know.

EDIT: I’ve decided to name the series itself “postmortem” and use actual titles for the individual chapters and books. Some of the suggestions made so far will be good candidates for that! Huzzah.

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9 responses

28 01 2012
HP

Undeaceased ?

28 01 2012
Jen, Psycho Happy

“Home is Where the Haunt Is”
(or “Haunt is where the Heart Is”)

Sure it’s corny, but it does fit how you’ve described how the ghosts attach…

There’s a Ghost Hunters episode with that first name, but no book.

28 01 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I could see that as a subtitle for the first book. Like, “Short Title: Home is Where the Haunt Is.” Or frankly, I could use Heart, since that’s also got hidden meaning. But I really need something shorter and grabbier for the OVERALL series title.

29 01 2012
LoopyChew

Belated? The word “late” suggests someone who’s deceased, “belated” suggests something that happens after it should have. (“Belated Life,” as an alternative.)

29 01 2012
mac1235

Ghost of the Heart?

29 01 2012
Jackkel Dragon

To tie into the heart transplant I’d suggest “Haunted Heart”, though I’m not sure if that’s good for a series title unless the series was fouced on these two characters.

You could also shorten the Bureau of Postmortem Affairs to “Postmortem Affairs” for a title, but that sounds a little wierd out of context…

30 01 2012
Lirazel

“Postmortem Affairs” is going to get you some looks from people you may not care to know. But no matter.

Murmur of the Heart is a rather famous movie (well worth watching if you can find it). “Full Heart” might do — ties in with “full house”, also Holy Writ (“Out of a full heart the mouth speaks”).

26 02 2012
Bruce Greenwood

“After death, still no life”? Too long.

7 05 2012
Jorian Drake

my hint: look for the name in old greek texts, for once forget latin

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