oh holy god at LAST.

Through random bloody chance and the favor of the gods of procrastination, the Victorian book, my assembled ladies and gentlemen, HAS A TITLE.

Can I get a drumroll?


With Fate Conspire.

Unless you are my husband or moonandserpent, you do not know — and do not want to know — how much Victorian literature I read through in search of something I could use. This one was lovely but had the verb at the front (and therefore looked out of place with the rest of the series); this one had the verb at the end but the quote it came from only fit the book if I tilted my head at a particular angle and squinted; this one was gorgeous but didn’t fit no matter how hard I squinted; this one was out of period; this one fit the pattern but wasn’t a great title. (Children, learn from me: nevereverever constrain yourself to this kind of highly patterned titling scheme.) I kept on plowing through poet after poet after architecture writer after novelist, trying to find something.

And then I sat down yesterday to read Tim Powers for procrastination, and I found my title.

The funniest part is, the epigraph he used came from a source I’d already gone through, and gotten nothing from. I mentioned some random bloody chance, right? The edition Powers quotes is earlier than the one I’d read, and has a different phrasing. “With Him conspire” is not a line I would have used. But Powers used an earlier edition, and I stared at the epigraph thinking, could I . . .?

I could. I can. My editor has given it the thumbs-up. On this, my last day of revising before I send the draft off to him for comment, my quest has ended. The Novel Formerly Known As The Victorian Book is now With Fate Conspire.

0 Responses to “oh holy god at LAST.”

  1. akirlu

    Congratulations, that’s great news. And it is a marvelous, evocative title. I had a personal moment of cringing, but it’s a very idiosyncratic cringe and I mention it only out of a perverse desire to provide full disclosure. You see, that is also the title of a fairly godawful book by someone I used to know. Mike’s books fell out of print almost instantly, though, and I don’t get the sense that they sold especially well before they did. I’m glad there will be a good book to go with the cool title, and there may be like 100 people on the planet who would even remember Mike’s book, or its title, so please don’t let it tarnish your triumph. As is often the case, I Am Not the Demographic. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      Wow, not only do you know about that book, you know (or knew) the author! I’d never heard of it until yesterday, when I googled the phrase (after e-mailing my editor) in a sudden panic that it might already belong to a well-known novel. I was a bit relieved to see the only thing that came up dated to 1985, had crap reviews, and was almost certainly out of print. To find that not only are you aware of its existence, but you knew the author . . . the internet is a tiny place, my friend. 🙂

      • akirlu

        Yeah, it is a weird old world, innit? There’s a possibly apocryphal story about Mike’s books. Supposedly, the eventual publisher originally rejected Mike’s manuscripts. Now, normally what an author would do in a case like that is shrug, (or, you know, spend some time in the foetal position), draft a new cover letter, drop the manuscript in the envelope for the next editor, and go back to wrestling with the current project. What Mike supposedly did is draft a new cover letter and send it back to the exact same editor who just rejected it. And, so the story goes, the editor bought the books on the second pass after reading that letter. Quite a few of us were quite curious to know what the second cover letter said, and opined that Mike would have been better off expending that level of effort on the books.

  2. Anonymous

    Wait, so you’re not going to tell us what the full epigraph is? Pretty pretty please?

  3. alecaustin

    That’s an awesome title, and I’m glad that you finally found something that fit the pattern you’d established and which your editor approves of.

  4. moonandserpent

    I’m just upset that you found it on your own and instead weren’t impressed when I came up with it 😛

  5. ninja_turbo

    Congrats on finding a suitable title. There’s only so far before amusingly obsessive behavior becomes destructively obsessive behavior. 😉

    • Marie Brennan

      The worst thing was, it wasn’t an obsession I could just let go of. The book needed a title, and nothing I had was quite right, on a fundamental rather than just neurotic level. (Though there was some neurosis, too.)

  6. gauroth

    Excellent! I love, love, love the source, too! I am so looking forward to this book!!

    • Marie Brennan

      Shhhh, don’t tell anyone what it is. 🙂 (All they have to do is google the phrase, of course, but if they go looking for spoilers, that’s on them, not me.)

  7. shveta_thakrar

    Congratulations! And funny how you found it.

    I’ll see you next week in Vail, Guest of Honor!

  8. sartorias

    Usually I hate Fate or Destiny in titles, but that’s because they tend to get teamed up with “Bloody” or “Shattered” or “Dark” but this is just perfect.

    • Marie Brennan

      It wouldn’t be my first choice of word under other circumstances, but at least it isn’t used in the construction “Sword of Fate” or “Crystal of Fate” or “Prophecy of Fate” or any such stereotypical nonsense.

  9. edgyauthor

    Wow, love that title! It’s very atmospheric. I’d definitely pull out a book with that on the spine to see what it’s about. 😉

  10. pameladean

    That’s really a good title, and I too love the source but will remain faithfully mum.


Comments are closed.