A working title

October 18th, 2015

I like to have a really good title before I start writing a book. It doesn’t always happen – with Path of Beasts I was more than halfway through the book before I got the title (which was suggested by my US publisher). But if at all possible, I want it sitting at the very top of all my files before I write a word.


It keeps me focused. Helps me remember what I love about the book. Makes it all seem possible.

Sometimes I end up with a working title that gets changed before the book comes out. My working title for Ice Breaker was [trumpet fanfare] Frozen. Oops. Just as well the publishers didn’t like it, or there would be some awfully confused kids around. The working title for Sunker’s Deep was Claw, which I still rather like. But I like Sunker’s Deep better.

I’ve been struggling with the title for the first book in the new series. (The series itself is called ‘The Lost Brothers series’, which I rather like. It might change – in fact I had a brilliant idea for it in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago, but didn’t write it down, so I’ve no idea what it was. πŸ™ I’ve been telling myself ever since that it probably wouldn’t have looked quite so brilliant in daylight.)

At the beginning of the week I at last found a working title. Tanglefoot. I’m not sure about it yet, but it’ll do for now (which means it’ll probably get changed at some stage). Here are some of the other possibilities:

The Ghost Wind


The Honourable Traders

The Assassin’s Child

The Lost Girl

The Wind’s Child

If you have an opinion, I’d like to hear it.

A couple of other good things happened this week. I saw the American cover for The Hidden #2: Sunker’s Deep. This will come out in the US/Canada next August.


I saw the Australian/NZ cover for The Hidden #3: Fetcher’s Song, which will come out in early January.

Fetcher's Song front cover

And I found a stunning illustration of Broo, from the Keepers trilogy, on Instagram, drawn by an artist called Molly K. You can find her Facebook page here.

Broo the last living brizzlehound #copicmakers #thekeeperstrilogy #brizzlehound #favoritebookseries

A photo posted by Molly k (@the_wild_maypop) on

16 thoughts on “A working title

  1. Irene says:

    I like Tanglefoot the most, and The Wind’s child. And August of next year is a long ways away for those of us anxiously waiting to see what happens next! The cover is beautiful!

    1. Lian says:

      It’s always such a long wait, isn’t it. For me too!

  2. I like them all, because they all sound like appealing book titles. Scantling is intriguing, as a little-known word. The Wind’s Child is poetic, The Assassin’s Child and The Lost Girl evoke pathos, and The Honourable Traders is a strong and mature title. That leaves The Ghost Wind, which is intriguing, poetic, evokes fear and wonder, and is strong and mature.

    1. Lian says:

      Hmm, that’s useful. I think I might have to cycle through the titles one by one, testing each one out for a month or so and seeing how it fits.

  3. Amber-Kate says:

    Hello, I’m reading The Keepers Trilogy and it’s absolutely intriguing, and I cant take my eyes off the pages! I like Tanglefoot best because it is thought provoking and makes me wonder more about the book and what will happen, and my second favourite is The Wind’s Child because it’s very interesting and makes me wonder- who is the winds child? Why are they called that? What will happen? I’d also just like to say what an amazing writer you are and I just love the way that you have a different and individual backstory for Toadspit, Goldie Roth, and the others πŸ™‚

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Amber-Kate, thanks so much for the nice message. I’m glad you’re enjoying the Keepers so much. And thanks for the feedback on the possible names for the next book – I shall take your comments into consideration. πŸ™‚

  4. Amber-Kate says:

    Hello Lian
    YAY thank you so much for replying πŸ™‚ how is your long weekend going? I’m loving your books, I’m up to Path of Beasts! OOOh exciting! My cat Rodney (male ginger tabby+very cute) is keeping up with Harry’s blog and he’s loving the posts πŸ™‚ How do you come up with the backgrounds for each person, they’re really intruiging (love that word πŸ™‚ )!
    Amber-Kate & Rodney

    1. Lian says:

      It sounds as if you’re steaming through those books, Amber-Kate. And a big hello to Rodney from Harry – he’s not writing his blog at the moment, being far too busy posing for photos and generally being a supermodel. But he does like to hear from his fans all the same.

      Backgrounds are an interesting thing. I find they sort of grow – I work out a bit of background before I start writing the story, but then more appears while I’m writing. In my first draft, my characters are often quite boring – it’s not till my third or fourth draft that they start to have all that intriguing (I agree about loving that word) background. When I’m writing I try not to think too much, so that interesting things can sort of pop out of my fingers unexpectedly.:)

  5. Amber-Kate says:

    Hi, well there so amazing I can’t help it, I’m like a dog to a bone (only I’d much rather have a book than a bone!)
    Yes Yes Harry, posing for photos is very important, Rodney seems to have taken to modelling on the new outdoor table we have and anywhere else in the sun where he can look down upon us, he’s loving Harry’s little comics πŸ˜‰ Thank you for the background advice, I also learnt from your young authors advice post that it’s good to have a corkboard to pin random ideas that pop up before you lose them. I’ve also been writing a few little stories and I found that like you said, once you’ve really gotten into the ‘mojo’ of the story the characters backgrounds just rise up and fit/grow with the story.

    Thanks a Heap

    1. Lian says:

      You’re very welcome, Amber-Kate. Glad you found the young authors page useful.

  6. Amber-Kate says:

    It’s very interesting indeed, and I’ve also had lessons with Sinew and Goldie and I’m using the fingertalk she taught me and progressing to make my own language with my friend πŸ™‚ It is a very organised and invigorating blog and I love learning all of the new things πŸ™‚

    1. Lian says:

      A whole new fingertalk language? Wonderful! πŸ™‚

  7. Amber-Kate says:

    It’s very fun to create one, because it can be anything as long as you don’t look suspicious I guess. And it’s interesting to find out what the other person is saying and it often ends in giggles πŸ™‚

  8. Amber-Kate says:

    My instincts came in handy the other day when I did a writing essay in class, they helped me to find a good idea for my story, because we had to write one about a given photo and my instinct was very firm about whether I had a good idea or not which was actually very helpful. My instinct has become a little bolder after reading this post which is very helpful because I think I had a rather good story in the end πŸ™‚ It was called ‘Unforgiving’, I will be able to send it to you once we get the results back and I would love to have your opinion πŸ™‚

    1. Lian says:

      The great thing about instinct is that the more you use it the louder it whispers in your ear. Good on you, Amber-Kate!

  9. Amber-Kate says:

    Thank’s it’s my little friend now πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Lian on Facebook, Instagram & Goodreads