After finding out that naming my first novel with a superscript was not such a hot idea, ( see “Hugs and Kisses“) I turned right around and named my second novel y1. Why? Why “y”?
Well, the name was supposed to be x1 to be honest, and early on I had a vision of writing a six book series of novels called x0, x1, x2, x3, x4, and you guessed it x5. (Every one of those numbers are supposed to be a superscript.) You have to admit it does sort of have a pattern to it. Unfortunately the hero of my second book is a big X-men fan, with professor Xavier himself being the most favorite of all heroes. And I personally love Patrick Stewart. Suddenly having x in the title seemed just too derivative. Maybe even edging into plagiarism. The “x” had to go.
But by this point I had come to love the fact that any number at all raised to the power of one is itself. This second novel was meant to be a counterpoint to all the oneness in the first novel. I wanted to celebrate the individual here. I wanted to rejoice in the wonderful ways we are all different. My protagonist was a young gay man learning to embrace his uniqueness. Why not use “y”? Zane, my savvy hero, does ask the question “why?” with great frequency.
It turns out that the letter y is not quite as common in book titles as the letter x. There is Brian K. Vaughan’s series Y: The Last Man (oh yes, I’d forgotten about the Y chromosome). And author Marjorie Celona has recently published a book called “Y: a novel” that sounds fabulous and also plays on the the word “why”. There are a few religious books out there simply called “Why” and a host of other books that start with the word “Why” and end with everything you can imagine and a few things that you probably can’t. (“Why Men Marry Bitches” and “Why are People so Stupid” seem to me to both try to answer universal questions. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers surprised me a little but, hey, give the idea a chance. )
So my second novel became y raised to the power of one, and friends and family dubbed it “why one”. The electronic world refused to show it as anything other than y1. To me, it’s just called “y”. As in, it’s just being itself. As in, why did I get started on this to the power of thing and now what am I going to call that third novel.
Luckily, a fellow blogger solved that last dilemma for me with an offhand remark. Please visit my blog “Treasure Hunting for a Good Time” to learn more.