Choosing a title

Authors often get asked how they choose titles for their books. Do they have a working title or do they always know what it should be called?

In my case, I like to have a title at the beginning, rather than just calling it ‘work in progress’. Sometimes I’ve changed it part way through, but for my first published novel, Starting Over, the name stuck. As the story progressed, it became obvious that the title was a perfect fit.

Where did the title come from, then? It actually came from a song. At the time I started writing the book, I had just discovered a singer-songwriter duo – Chris While and Julie Matthews – and downloaded their ‘Best of’ album. I played it over and over again loving their combination of voice, guitar and lyrics. Knowing that they are also lesbians, added to the enjoyment of their songs. One of the tracks on the album was called “Starting All Over” – with a haunting tune and words that stayed in my mind.

(Now, in hindsight, I think perhaps I should have called it something else. There are a lot of books called Starting Over on Amazon. Mainly romances as well, but some are self-help books.)

The title of my second book, Arc Over Time (due to be released on 15 May), can also be credited to While and Matthews. On one of their other albums was a song called “Bridge Over Time”. So, why didn’t I stick with that? I think because the story is about a developing relationship as well as the connection with a historical character from the past.


I’ve also learned to be wary of title acronyms. My first published short story is called There Was A Time – which I thought was fine until I received an email from my publisher shortly before publication, just using the initials of each of the words of the title in the subject line. (Before I read the email I thought I had seriously upset them in some way.) I would have found another name if I thought the story would be referred to only by its initials. But I do smile when I see the cover.

What will my next book be called? Watch this space…and I’ll keep listening to While and Matthews.

Starting Over is available from Affinity eBook PressAmazonBarnes & NobleBella Books,Smashwords, and iTunes.

“Never start a novel with dialogue.”

I’ve seen this listed many times as one of the top ten rules for how not to start a story. And I can understand the reason why. Readers don’t know who the characters are, so why will they care enough to read on with a bit of random dialogue thrown at them in the first sentence.

(I’ve also been warned about starting sentences with ‘And’. All in all, I’m not very good at following the rules.)

So my second novel, Arc Over Time, starts this way:

“She calls, you go running.” Jasmine looked at her friend in disgust. “Aren’t you fed up being second best?”

Now, I suppose the purists could construe this as a disastrous beginning. But I like to leap straight into a scene and as this book is a sequel, my thought is that most readers will have read the first one, Starting Over. They will, therefore, have an inkling who Jasmine is and the relationship she’s referring to. The following paragraphs give more background information and, right or wrong, I felt that this opening was the best way to introduce the reader to the story.

Anyway, feel free to let me know what you think. Was this a good way to start, or not?

The first chapter is available to read on the Affinity website. (Arc Over Time will be released as an ebook on 15 May 2015.)

Arc Over Time by Jen Silver

Starting Over is available from Affinity eBook Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bella Books, Smashwords, and iTunes.

A Holiday in the Sun


Taking a break from writing – it’s time for our annual golf week in Portugal – which is where we’re going later this week. My wife and I both play so it’s an enjoyable holiday for both of us. We’ve usually gone in February but due to other circumstances such as house renovations and book editing, we’re heading off later two months later. And it will be warm enough for wearing shorts on the course – not something I do very often when I play at home.

The final edits for Arc Over Time are almost done. Just one more read through before I sign it off. But I’ve promised myself I won’t look at it again until we return from the Algarve. Fortunately I’ve got time to give it one last check before the release date of 15 May. (And then more time to worry that I’ve missed something really obvious!)

I do plan to get in some recreational reading while I’m away. The Kindle is pre-loaded and ready to go.

I will, no doubt, post some photos on Facebook when I return. Maybe even one or two of me wearing shorts. Now there’s something to look forward to.

Tenha uma boa semana! (Portuguese for ‘Have a good week!’ – according to Google Translate.)

Arc Over Time. Release date: 15 May 2015. The first chapter is available to read on the Affinity website.

My debut novel, Starting Over, is available from Affinity eBook PressAmazonBarnes & NobleBella Books,Smashwords, and iTunes.

1000 words a day – not a problem!

This is what I tell myself when I sit down in front of my computer in the morning to write. I’ve had breakfast, coffee, quick glance at the paper, a peek at Facebook (five minutes won’t hurt, right?) and then I’m off.

Only I’m not. There’s a blank screen in front of me. Come on, one thousand words. How hard can it be? Well, some days it’s harder than others. Those are the days when the tempting distractions creep in. I’ll just have another cup of coffee…see what’s on Twitter…oh, look there’s a pair of doves in the garden.

One thing I’ve learned is not to force it or get obsessed with a word count. That really does take the joy out of writing. There are times when it’s hard work but there are others when you can feel the story growing, hear the characters speaking…those are the times when the words will flow and the numbers don’t matter any more. Those are the times to savour.


Oh, wow, 1001! The sun is shining…I’m off to the golf course…

Don’t forget to look out for my new book, Arc Over Time. Release date: 15 May 2015. The first chapter is available to read on the Affinity website.

My debut novel, Starting Over, is available from Affinity eBook PressAmazonBarnes & NobleBella Books,Smashwords, and iTunes.