"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That, of course, is just one of many quotable lines from history's greatest author. But this blog post is not about William Shakespeare. I've actually been thinking a lot about a very different writer of late. Specifically, I've been ruminating on the unprecedented success of young adult author, John Green.
Ever heard of him? He is the Shakespeare of our times—at least according to every teenage girl I know. They worship him and his novels and ruthlessly confront anyone who dares challenge his iconic status. Why? Evidently, his novels capture the essence of that which every teenage girl dreams about pretty much all the time—things like falling in love with someone who is about to die a horrible death, for example. It's an essential ingredient that absolutely escaped me when writing my own novels.
Yes, that was sarcasm, and yes, that sarcasm comes from a place of complete and total jealousy. As a young adult writer myself, whose success comes in slightly under that of John Green on the best seller list, I do hate him because I want to be him. So naturally, I've been wondering what it takes to get my books noticed.
Then I thought, it's not his content. Good god, it can't be his content! So maybe, just maybe, it's all in the title. John Green took the title for his most famous book, "The Fault in Our Stars" right from the great Bard himself, William Shakespeare. (after daring to alter the original line a bit) Certainly it can't hurt to have the greatest writer of all times on your side when trying to get attention. That's it! That's the secret to John Green's success. I simply have to rename my own book, "Pukawiss the Outcast," to something a bit more, well, Shakespearean.
This shouldn't be hard to do. After all, Shakespeare has so many famous quotes. I could just take a few and add "Pukawiss" to them, and voilà-- instant best seller! Ok, I'm psyched. Let's do this! I'm going to officially rename my novel "Pukawiss the Outcast" and then introduce a second edition under that title. But I need your help with this, as my Shakespeare, like my John Green, is somewhat limited. So please, give me your advice! What do you think of the following suggestions for my young adult novel, Pukawiss the Outcast:
"The Fault in Pukawiss' Stars." Yeah, this one is probably a bit too obvious.
"To Be or Not to Be Pukawiss." To indecisive for my tastes.
"O Pukawiss, Pukawiss! Wherefore art thou Pukawiss?" Hmmm.
"To Thine own Pukawiss be True." Yeah, this one is just silly.
"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears; I Come to Bury Pukawiss, Not to Praise Him." Probably a bit too long for a title. Maybe just "I Come to Bury Pukawiss."
"Pukawiss is Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On." Ooh, yeah, I like that one.
But maybe instead of Shakespearean quotes I should be thinking in terms of Shakespearean titles. I mean, stealing famous quotes and claiming them as your own, well, that's just so John Green. So how about these instead.
"Romeo and Pukawiss." It is a novel for gay teens after all.
"MacPukawiss." Tee hee.
"Julius Pukawiss." Hmm, no don't like how that play ends. "Et tu Pukawiss?" Better.
"Much Ado About Pukawiss." Promising.
"The Taming of the Pukawiss." Oh, bingo!
Hmmm, can't think of one for Hamlet though.
Your turn. Thoughts?
Post script: Before the death threats start, no I haven't read any of his books, and yes, I fully intend to give them a try. In fact, I'll have you know I just purchased Julius Caesar.