Kalos Press
a literary imprint of Doulos Resources

Evolution of a title (Margie Haack)

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It was after I had completed the manuscript and was constantly thinking about what to name the book. Titles are difficult. They are supposed work hard at many things. Be clever. Rhythmic. Give a hint of what the book is about. Catch an eye when on a shelf. I didn’t know what to call it. I scribbled pages of possibilities. They all seemed absurd, boring, clueless or clunky.

At the time I happened to be reading through the book of Acts, and one morning as I read chapter 17, a phrase from Paul’s market preaching lit. He said,  “he [God] determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live, God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, thought he is not far from each one of us.”

I hadn’t ever really paused to listen to those words. But there it was. “The Exact Place.”  It said everything I wanted it to say. It was what my book was about – that I grew up in a place and at a time God had determined. That God was with me through all the places and spaces where I have lived – however short or long. None of them accidental. Wherever we find ourselves, God’s desire is for us to seek him – to reach out to him. This is true for everyone, not just me. That means that even in the places where life may be very dark, he is not far from us. We can be assured that here, in this time, at this address, he is there with purpose and love for our very being.

When my agent was working hard to convince a publisher to take the manuscript – he wanted to change the title to something a little more catchy. A little more intriguing or salable. I was willing to try. We compromised with Through Devil’s Gap. He liked the sound of that. It had a hidden metaphor that would be revealed as you read the book. Devil’s Gap is a place on Lake of the Woods that you must pass when you take a boat to Kenora, Ontario. It is a narrow gap into the harbor with rock cliffs on either side and ancient Indian petroglyphs carved and painted to frighten away enemies. They still existed when I was a child and we passed them in my grandfather’s launch. I was afraid of them. So upon reading the book, you could see how in ways, I passed through my own spiritual and physical “Devil’s Gap.” To me, the title sounded wrong. How misleading and disappointing for a reader expecting a paranormal murder mystery only to fine a memoir!

When I was, again, without an agent, Kalos Press accepted the manuscript. Meantime, I had returned to the old title The Exact Place and I was very relieved when they seemed just fine with it.

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