1.27.2011

A ROYAL PAIN IN MY TITLE

SO.
TITLES.

how do we feel about them? are they effective? insignificant? important enough to agonize over?
sometimes titles present themselves almost magically. other times? not so much.

oh, Eleanor. this was a bad idea.
how do YOU decide on a title for your book? 
and, if you're willing, why not share the title of your own manuscript/WIP/SNI?

HAPPY FRIDAY, DEAR FRIENDS!

i hope your weekend is filled to the brim with daffodils.

<3

38 comments:

Tara said...

That picture is hilarious! best title ever!

Ben Carroll said...

haha. love Still Stripping.

my WiP is Polaroid. this one just sort of emerged from it as i wrote. but usually i pick a title fairly early on, and it helps shape the basic idea.

Jennifer Jackson said...

I think the title of a novel is very important. If you don't choose one that is fairly unique, you risk someone forgetting your novel or mixing it up with another one already on the market. If it is too long, you run the risk of someone forgetting a part of it and/or being distracted by the tiny font over half the cover; your title shouldn't be measured in paragraphs.

I am guilty of not picking up a book from the shelf just because the title didn't appeal to me. Titles influence me more than cover art so maybe I am in the minority.

My current WIP poem title is: Poisoned Truths.

Misha said...

Lol I loved that title.

I actually don't bother with titles until they suggest themself to me.

But at this point in time the title to my YA fantasy epic is Doorways.

It's a long story as to why, though.

Marjorie said...

The Split Ends of Hennesey Road

stephen matlock said...

I mentioned somewhere else that I sent my current WIP around to my writers/critiquers group. The title was, I thought, appropriate for a YA novel. They thought it was a Regency Romance in Texas.

Lesson learned.

And yeah, it is darned hard to create a title.

Clare C. Greenstreet said...

lol big time on that picture!

My WIP title is The Power Of Friendship.

other titles are Paradise Boys (haven't started on that yet), Extreme Team (trying to find another title for that) and The Life of Tori Susan Evans (which has gone through a lot of titles, mostly The Diary of Tori Susan Evans and a Year in the life of Tori Susan Evans, with squeals called Another Year in the life of Tori Susan Evans and Yet Another Year in the life of Tori Susan Evans). I liked the first titles but the story wasn't working out for those to really fit.

Alyson Greene said...

Cowboys and Aliens! Snakes on a Plane! Subtlety is key.

Jen Daiker said...

Oh my gosh this is too funny!!! I posted about the same thing today... different titles that people read!!! Both creepy and hilarious :)

Matthew Rush said...

WARRIOR-MONKS is my working title. It's not terrible but I'm hoping someone can come up with something better if I ever get it published because I suck at titles.

Em-Musing said...

Coming up with titles is as hard for me as writing a query. But the pressure is off because I know that whatever title I choose will probably be changed before the book gets published. And I won't be the one coming up with a new title.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

BEST KNITTING BOOK EVER. I AM BUYING IT.

I have two titles for two wip.

Fantasy novel: The Dreams of Crows

Lit novel: The Terrible Weight of Gravity

Caitlin R. O'Connell said...

Oh yeah, titles are both important and hard. I'm currently agonizing over retitling my werewolf wip. :/

The other titles I have floating around are Letters to Oliver and Preposterous Things, both of which I like very much. :)

Melody said...

i would share...if i had a title. i'm smack dab in the middle of finding one... :/

Melanie said...

it's weird, my first ms (recently out of the trunk and in major re-writes) the title came to me before the story. That story is called TwinSouls (I even have that ms copyrighted haha...so little i knew back then). The project i'm querying now, i swear i could not come up with a title until i was about 3/4 finished with the ms. Because the two big inciting events consisted of two seperate breakouts, that became the title i loved, Breaking Out. however, one agent did tell me they didn't love my title, so i suspect there's a possibility my title could change ;-)

Laura Maylene said...

Sometimes the perfect title comes fully formed almost immediately and I don't have to think about it at all. These are glorious times.

I do think titles are imperative (even knowing the publisher could change it at any time to anything) but coming up with a good tentative title is important to me.

When I struggle with a title, I usually read the work several times and jot down any phrases/words that stand out to me, then play off those phrases/words and keep going. Sometimes, it's when I think I've gone too far that I hit upon the right title. Other times, I'll write down 25 potential titles only to see that #3 was clearly the best.

And at other times (like, um, now) I struggle and can't find the right title no matter what. That's when I daydream about having a publisher/agent suggest the perfect one for me. (Hey, we're allowed to be lazy in our daydreams, right?)

Michael Offutt said...

I struggle with titles, but there's been some good advice given in these comments.

hopejunkie said...

Titles usually come to me fairly easily. I don't stress, and the appear. For one MS, I made a list, but mostly I'll come up with something. Right now I'm working on Playing God, Splashback, and Bibliophile, which all have titles with which I'm very happy.

JEM said...

I usually lay down quilts before I get to stripping, too. Floors get cold, people.

gideon 86 said...

My latest title and novel came to me in a dream a few months ago. I though it odd because my genre is y/a fantasy.

I wrote two books in a series of five when this dream came to me.

Y/A Contemporary? ME? How odd. THE BLINDED GARDENER wrote itself in seven weeks. My muse really kicked in...

Michael

Brooke said...

My contemp YA is currently The Moments Between, and my other WIP is Echoes of A Former Life--waiting until it's done before I decide if it should just be Echoes. Haven't googled either yet, though, so probably should do that before i get too attached... Sometimes a title is just there, but more often than not I have to dig for it.

Layla Morgan Wilde said...

Peace, Love and Chocolate (woman's fiction). Names are very important but we don't have final say, so don't get attached.

Bree D said...

Spent months agonizing over the perfect title. My agent had me change it, and warned me an editor will probably change it again. (sigh)

Marsha Sigman said...

I can't compete with Eleanor's.

But the one I am working on now is saved in my computer as The Depot. I may change that to something more interesting though.

My last ms that I am still querying is called Slip. In the event of a huge 3-book deal it would be Slip, Stumble, and Stand. Pretty catchy, huh?

Whatever, my freakin' sunny disposition gets me through a lot.

AudryT said...

I'm a sensationalist by nature, on top of which I spent five years as an editor coming up with book titles for adapted manga series, so I tend to think like a marketer when I come up with a title. My primary goal: To make the reader go "WTF???" and pick up the book.

Some English-language titles I came up with for manga:
BOUND BEAUTY
NIGHT OF THE BEASTS
THE DEVIL WITHIN
HER MAJESTY'S DOG <--My favorite, because the "dog" is a boy. Cackle.

Current project title:
GOLDEN VAMPIRES

(As in, WTF is a "golden" vampire?)

Next project title:
THE LUSTY PIRATE NOVEL

(Okay, that's not a title, but even my slug titles are designed to get attention.)

Also, frankly, I enjoy making up titles almost as much as I enjoy writing the actual books. I'm such a word nerd.

Krispy said...

I always wait to title things until the end, even academic papers. I always had to put TITLE HERE at the top of my papers and then make it really obnoxious looking so I'd remember to change that to an actual title.

I think titles are important, but they aren't the end-all-be-all.

fertilizr said...

I haven't written any novels or anything... just the occasional poem or blog.

But I DO stress over titles. I remember when I first created my blog, and I sat for days trying to come up with an awesome theme and title and all that jazz. and I'm still not really satisfied with it.

I feel that titles are pretty important. It's a big part of what draws a reader in, what helps them decide whether they're interested or not.

Miss Cole said...

Let's all hope Eleanor is actually a secret sex-beast and she knew exactly what she was doing.

PS: Eleanor, you're not the Queen. Adopt a different wave before Her Royal Highness PWNZ you.

Er, where were we? Titles! Well, my WIP has been without one for seven years and one is yet to make an appearence. Uh oh!

Jenn Kelly said...

Titles don't seem to mean much. They changed the title of my book. And they changed the title of my second book. I don't know how much say you have when you get published...
However, they did pick very good titles...

erika said...

I usually come up with an awesome title, but not story, or am halfway through a story I like, with no title. Ack. My WIPs right now are called Sevens, Driftwood, Super Zero and Honestly. Oh man, I really ought to finish something...

Also, I want to buy this book and put it on display.

Jovanna said...

Sometimes the title just is. Other times it eludes you like that fish that nibbles on the line, but just won't bite. Sometimes the title comes first, but it is empty of story (as yet). Once in a while, the title grows itself into being.

Often, the title is the first thing I look at on a book. Before I look at the cover and check out the blurb, first and last page of the story.

The title of that book made my day.

Bee said...

My wip is called What Was Mine. It surfaced after months of going untitled :P

Elaine AM Smith said...

My MG sci-fi is about observation and counter-intuitive actions it was called COUNTER - these days as is usually called ENCOUNTER.

Lovvvin' the new website :)

Laura Marcella said...

Lol, poor Eleanor!

In bookstores I always read the title first and a compelling one will make me pick it up. So since I judge books by their titles, I agonize over titles. Too bad I'm no good at titling my work! How I do it is usually make a list of all possible titles and then pick one that sounds the best, which is usually not good, but better than the others, lol!

Theresa Milstein said...

Hmm... makes me want to quilt? Maybe not?

Here are my titles:
Muriel and the Misfits
Aura
The Mist Chasers
Naked Eye

Titles draw me in too.

Janna Qualman said...

That.is.awesome. Caught my eye, that's for sure!

My titles come about naturally, after I've done some writing. I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have to think too hard about them.

Fun post! :)

Breka said...

Titles draw me in - titles and cover art, despite the adage. Sometimes I enjoy coming up with titles, other times not so much. My WIP's title is Searching for Service, which will have to change because it sounds like the existential angst of a cell phone without reception. And because I don't like it.

Vicki said...

My working title for my WIP is Fired. I like it, but I'm not absolutely head-over-heels in love with it, which I think is best when it goes out for revisions someday. Anyway, Fired is about a demon who gets, well, fired from her job and her fight to get back her job, or at least, keep her life.

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