I have been round and round on my title but think I’ve landed on something. Since animal cruelty is obviously a difficult subject, I wanted a softer title that would grab attention but not scare people away. Going back to the impetus for my protagonist to become an animal cruelty officer – to prevent other abusers from evolving into full blown murderers or violent criminals – I think Warning Signs best describes Eden’s motivations. If we miss the early warning signs of animal cruelty, we may let another Jeffrey Dahmer or Columbine happen. Scary thought…
Just when I thought I was polishing an almost final draft of my query letter, I decided to post it online for some free critiques. I knew I’d receive lots of criticism – which I welcomed – but hadn’t thought that my title would be panned. But I think everyone is right. Just when I thought I was nearing the finish line to submission – bam!
So my title was Boys Will Be Boys – the history is that my lead character Eden Hayduke left the FBI to become an animal cruelty investigator with the ASPCA after the murder of her sister. Her sister’s murderer was her husband who began torturing animals as a child but his parents brushed aside his acts saying “boys will be boys.” Eden’s focus is to prevent another troubled teenager from evolving into a domestic abuser or worse a murderer. There’s also a twist re: the gender of one of the masterminds of the crimes.
Given the importance of the link between animal abuse and domestic and other abuse, I am trying out this new title – drum roll please…..Evolution of Cruelty…Thoughts?