monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

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My Character Gets a New Name -- and So Does My Book

So, after a great deal of deliberation (e-mail consultations with my editor Sarah Harvey in B.C., phone consultations with my parents, and several chats with my husband and daughter) the main character in my historical novel has had her name changed from Lotje (deemed too difficult for North American readers to pronounce) to Anneke. Hope you like it!! One of the funny things about deciding on hername was that people who've read the manuscript (like Sarah Harvey, of course) said things like: "She seems more like an Anneke than an Izabel." It's as if we were talking about a REAL PERSON or naming a baby!! 

The manuscript's working title was "Lotje's Story." All along, I knew that wasn't a very good title, but I was too busy writing to worry about it. So now, we've settled on a new book title, too. It's going to be "What World is Left" -- and that title comes from a line of poetry I quote in the story. It's from a poem by German poet Heinrich Heine.  In the poem, someone who has been through a terrible time, thinks to himself: "What world is left us still." To me, that means that despite all the misery any of us have endured or will ever endure, there is still "world" -- there is still a future, there is still hope. 

Now I'm working on what publishers call "track changes." That means Sarah has e-mailed me a copy of the manuscript with her suggested changes. All I have to do is read it through, make any adjustments that I feel are necessary... and adjust a few spots. For me, this polishing stage is one of the most fun parts of the process. Also, the book is becoming more real. What World is Left should be in bookstores by fall 2008. And if I want that to happen, I'd better get back to those track changes!!

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Comments

Guest - tamar on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 18:44

Hi Ms. Polak
First off, I loved the National Post article and find it so true!! I am procrastinating right now..even though I have a test and 2 assignments due tomorrow (I actually did most of one yesterday) I spent the morning at IGA with my brother...
Also, I'm sorry for not waving right away, I didn't realize who it was right away... slow day haha
As for your new book title, I love it! I can't wait to read this book!!!

Hi Ms. Polak First off, I loved the National Post article and find it so true!! I am procrastinating right now..even though I have a test and 2 assignments due tomorrow (I actually did most of one yesterday) I spent the morning at IGA with my brother... Also, I'm sorry for not waving right away, I didn't realize who it was right away... slow day haha As for your new book title, I love it! I can't wait to read this book!!!
Guest - Kim on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 19:05

Hello again Miss. Polak
I like the name change for the character... at least I'm now relatively sure I'm not going to seriously mispronounce her name.
I also like the title change... it sounds less like "okay, I'm going to tell you a story" and more like the writer's inviting readers to discover someone's story through a series of events. It can't manage to find the right words to say that properly right now, but hopefully it makes some sense. It makes the book sound less like what only one person went through, and more like a story which should be recognized and, while it happened to one person/character, it's not limited to that one character. (Not sure that was much clearer, but at least I tried)
Now I'm really looking forward to fall of next year... I was expecting to wait a least another year but looks like the delay has been shortened!!

Hello again Miss. Polak :) I like the name change for the character... at least I'm now relatively sure I'm not going to seriously mispronounce her name.:D I also like the title change... it sounds less like "okay, I'm going to tell you a story" and more like the writer's inviting readers to discover someone's story through a series of events. It can't manage to find the right words to say that properly right now, but hopefully it makes some sense. It makes the book sound less like what only one person went through, and more like a story which should be recognized and, while it happened to one person/character, it's not limited to that one character. (Not sure that was much clearer, but at least I tried:D) Now I'm really looking forward to fall of next year... I was expecting to wait a least another year but looks like the delay has been shortened!!
Guest - Anita on Friday, 14 March 2008 11:07

Hi Monique!
I'm still waiting to hear back from Sarah re my fall book...sweat, sweat, nibbling fingernails. Of course I know she's going to think it total sludge, and that she will ask me to start again from scratch....

Re YOUR fabulous manuscript, I second the new title cheers--sounds great!

Hi Monique! I'm still waiting to hear back from Sarah re my fall book...sweat, sweat, nibbling fingernails. Of course I know she's going to think it total sludge, and that she will ask me to start again from scratch.... Re YOUR fabulous manuscript, I second the new title cheers--sounds great!
Guest - Kim on Sunday, 23 March 2008 22:33

I found a simple way of explaining why I like the title change! What I was trying to say is that the new title follows the "show; don't tell" principle. And that took me one sentence instead of four lines!!

I found a simple way of explaining why I like the title change! :D What I was trying to say is that the new title follows the "show; don't tell" principle. And that took me one sentence instead of four lines!!
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