(That’s what wordpress says before I start typing.. It seems appropriate.)
So the novel I started in 2001 or something like that is finished. REALLY FINISHED! I need to get the original cover image from the artist, which is a hassle because it’s huge, and then put some appropriate lettering on it, and actually put the thing somewhere so people can read it, but that’s all technical details. It’s FINISHED, and the people who have already read it tend to like it. A choirmate said (to another choirmate, at the edge of my hearing): “it’s amazing to think that Irina has written that, it’s so…” and I butted in with “like a real book?” It turned out to be the right thing to say, too. This choirmate has written a medieval mystery herself, which I’m currently reading and enjoying, so she knows what she’s talking about.
There’s one glitch, though. For most of those count-on-fingers twelve years it’s been called Terms of Service. I was very proud of that title when it floated up from the word soup in my brain, because it described exactly what the book is about: someone who serves all the gods in turn, with all the accompanying conditions and benefits and disadvantages. But when I gave it to someone to read she said “you’ll be changing that title, of course!” I thought she meant that it was a lousy title, but she honestly thought a heading from some software I’d been formatting it with had stuck, because that happens to her all the time when she formats or converts books. And of course when it’s called that people won’t be able to search for it, or at least not find it in the forests of actual terms-of-service documents.
The only thing I could think of that fit the content as neatly was Terms and Conditions, if anything worse.
I could of course call it Senthi after the protagonist, but that doesn’t say anything, her name doesn’t describe her. And Senthi’s Choices, which does resonate with the story, is too much like Sophie’s Choice not to distract. Serving the Gods or To Serve the Gods is perhaps a bit generic. (This makes me think of an early beta reader who called it “awfully generic”. Later it turned out he’d hardly read any of it. Man, if you don’t like my book, tell me “sorry, it’s not for me” instead of passing summary judgment!) Oh, I can call it A Mighty Servant, but that’s a technical term in the setting, the title of the high priest of Mizran. She actually is Mighty Servant for a while, but it covers only one god rather than the five she ends up serving in her life, sometimes two at a time.
My brain now insists on Servant of the Gods, but somehow that sounds like a different book. Servant of All sounds like a very different book. (As does Up and Down and Up Again. Shut up, brain.) It’s not so much about the gods, though they appear a lot, but about Senthi’s service to them in many different ways. A life of service. And that sounds like a social-commentary novel set in early-twentieth-century England.