The Girl on the Train Before with All the Gifts and a Dragon Tattoo

Whatever I write next, that’s what it’s going to be called. Regardless of whether there’s even a girl in the story. Or a human for that matter. Never minds trains, gifts or tattoos of mythical fire-breathing beasts. I have to imagine that at some stage in the publication process, a version of this exchange sometimes takes place:

“The title.”

“What about it?”

“I don’t know. It’s, em, missing something.”

“What are you talking about? That’s always been the title. You’ve never brought this up before.”

“I’m not saying it’s bad, just that it could be… better.”

“You have something in mind?”

“Well I notice there’s an, em, girl in the story.”

“There is? It’s the story of a male astronaut marooned in orbit with no hope of getting back to Earth alive. The nearest girl is 258 miles below him. The only one that shows up in 300 pages is his wife, on the radio, for 30 seconds, before his communications go down.”

“And there’s the title right there.”


“‘The Girl on the Phone.'”


“‘The Girl Below?'”


“‘The Only Girl On Earth’. Like, you know, that matters to him.”

“You’re joking.”

“The G-”

“If you don’t give it a rest, I’m actually going to write that scene out. He won’t get to talk to her at all.”

“‘The Girl in the Dark.'”

“I’m hanging up.”

“‘The Girl Who Couldn’t Be Contacted’?”


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