Not long ago, I toyed with the idea of changing the title of Ain’t No Grave to Frantic after the song by Metallica, and then quickly retracted my decision on that. Today, I decided to go ahead and rename the book. I wish I hadn’t deleted the post on that, but whatever.
The title is a small element of a story, be it a short story or a novel or an entire series, but for me it’s more than just a label. Titles help translate the author’s tone into the reader’s mood. For that reason, I like getting the title down fairly early when I begin a story. It helps remind me of the atmosphere I’m trying to build.
Okay, so why a title like Frantic? First, like I said, the Metallica song of the same name pops up in my head every time I think of the zombie novel, becoming an unofficial anthem to the story in a much more suitable way than Johnny Cash’s Ain’t No Grave.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. The zombies themselves are frantic, twitchy and rabid. They’re the fast 28 Days Later-I Am Legend zombies that, frankly, I find more threatening than the slow, shambling zombies born of George Romero‘s work. Second, the survivors become more frantic and desperate as their search for a safe refuge takes longer and longer.
And that’s pretty much it. Sorry. I guess you guys were probably expecting a massive title equation or the confession that I drank unicorn blood. I didn’t. I simply sat back, visualized the work in my mind, looked at it from different angles, and kept asking myself, “What am I really trying to get at with this?“