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What happened to The Clerk of the Orphans' Court? It became Crybaby Lane.

Folks following the New Royal Mysteries might recall that Book 2 of the series was composed under the working title, The Clerk of the Orphans' Court, which was a short-lived government office title in Ohio's early history, and is the occupation of one of the main characters in the novel, Abraham Horup, the cousin to the founder of New Royal. Abraham is naive and earnest, and treats his position in New Royal's earliest administration as a sacred duty, but he makes mistakes of vanity that unintentionally feed into deadly corruption, forcing him to make a choice between his family and the truth, the repercussions of which shape the town, even two hundred years in the future.

I liked the title. It was spooky-ish, with a great rhythm, and it had a sort of King Crimson feel to it, but in terms of "sense?" --pretty esoteric. Plus, there was a slight legitimacy issue. The office wasn't really an Ohio thing for very long. It's really more of a PA thing, something that grabbed my attention when my partner was doing genealogy on his family in Pittsburgh (in fact I think his grandmother worked in the Orphans' Court, but I'll check on that to be sure. I can't now, he's napping).

The other thing that happened was that I was playing around with the old Crybaby Lane ghost story, and it emerged as a major thread in the book. The legend of Crybaby Lane--at least the one I re-shaped for the novel--is something that has the main character, Crocus Rowe, very intrigued. At one point I have another character actually tease her about how much she likes saying "Crybaby Lane." As soon as I wrote that line, I knew I was talking to myself.

So I tested the new name out on a few friends and noticed that the impact was much more immediate/emotional than Clerk. Both titles evoke a kind of ancient sadness, but Crybaby is undeniably more accessible.

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