Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name - Title Thoughts

Would a rose smell just as inviting if it were called a boot? If we didn't have pre-existing knowledge of roses and boots, it probably would. But the world we live in has names already established, along with images, scents, tastes, flavors and more conjured up with the use of certain words. This is also the word power that comes with titles.

1.) I like to consider my audience when it comes to titles: When it came to the title of Neverlove, I pondered different ideas like, SECOND CHANCES and LOVE AFTER. I liked all three but Neverlove touched on part of the budding romance and dark, twisted nature of the book. As much as there is a story line for redemption, the ever present tone of the book hinges on two teens who'd never truly known love and their fight to keep a fate of neverlove at bay.

2.) Titles do not require a marriage license: I have a work-in-progress that has had a few name changes. It is a YA fantasy with dragons, elves, swords and sorcery. It's current name is AMONG DRAGONS and MEN. I started on this some years ago and can't remember the title it had then. But that's part of the point. Titles carry importance when attracting an audience, however, it isn't necessary to stick to the first title that you come up with. If you happen to get an agent and an editor that suggest a title change, having an open mind is best.

3.) Less is more: Neverlove. Atone. Both one-word titles that are quick to say and share with others. Frailties of the Bond and my soon-to-be-released THEY ALL FALL DOWN. Longer but again, quick to share with others.

4.) What does the title say about the book? Aside from attracting attention, it's a good idea to have a title that is a link, somewhere, some way, somehow, with the story itself. When I came up with the title of Frailties of the Bond, I considered what the story was about. There are a few things happening with this novella. A boy with a strong bond with his mother loses her in a terrible way. He discovers he's bonded to a man he knows little about. A new bond presents itself when he goes on a mission of vengeance. For every bond, there's something fragile about it hence, Frailties of the Bond.

What are some of your thoughts when it comes to titles? Any titles that are a fave for you...and why?

26 comments:

  1. For me, a title needs some direct link to the story--preferably an insight into what the story is about.

    But I rarely remember titles unless the book becomes a bestseller. I do remember covers though, especially if they're very good...or very bad.

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    1. Great points, Maria. Some covers are memorable...even for not being so great. But I do like a good title, like The Color Purple. It helps that is my fave color as well lol!

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  2. I struggle with titles. I like them to relate to my story and be catchy. And hopefully one someone else hasn't used. I agree that sometimes you need to change it.

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    1. True, can't be married to a title. Sometimes, a better one may come along during the writing/revising/editing process.

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  3. You're right about short, simple titles working best. I was happy my publisher used my original title for CassaStar and then came up with the next two to tie all three together. I also think an original title is best. No competition then.

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    1. Original is especially great with it comes to SEO.

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  4. I have the hardest time with titles. In fact, my WIP, after 2.5 years, STILL does not have a title. :/
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    http://writebackwards.we3dements.com

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    1. And that is okay. When you get ready to title it, you can. And after acquiring an agent and/or publisher, it still may change :-)

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  5. I suck at titles. It takes me a long time to think them up - although I am liking the ones I've picked so far. But YOU are the queen of titles, so thanks so much for the tips.

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    1. Awww...now you're making me blush. And I adore the titles you have for your published and soon-to-be-published works as well.

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  6. I always pay attention to the book titles, almost as much as to the covers. To me, the title needs to resonate with the story for which it is created. Sadly, there are plenty of books published with titles that have nothing to do with the stories the represent. Maybe they are used because they simply just sound interesting? I wonder.

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    1. Having the title resonate with the story is wonderful.

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  7. Hey, Angela,
    I'm a fan of one-word titles, hence most of my adult novels are named that way. I also believe that that name should be in the book somewhere, not knock you over the head obvious, but enough that the reader can make and understand the link once they see it.

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    1. I agree the title should be linked in/with the story in a way the reader can appreciate.

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  8. I often struggle with titles. Sometimes not as much. The fantasy came after a few false starts. The new paranormal I want to write rolled off my tongue without effort. Shrugging on the next Backworlds [#5].

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    1. Titles are pretty interested devils to deal with lol!!

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  9. Fantastic post. Like Mary, I struggle with titles. I do like the short and dramatic titles like Neverlove. They have such an impact with the one word.

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    1. Thanks, Christine. But I must say it is good to know that working to come up with titles is something many of us deal with.

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  10. I actually go against the one word title thing- I feel like all the books I read now are 1 word titles. Some of the ones that really stick to me are much longer .... "The Fault in Our Stars, The House of Ivy and Sorrow, Send me a Sign, Where the Stars Still Shine" :)

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    1. I love the titles you mention. There's something poetic and lingering about them.

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  11. The title needs to have significance to the story. I always need a title of some sort before I start reading. My current WIP is on its third title change, and I still haven't got it quite right. This one is a struggle while others come really easily.

    I've always liked Neverlove as a title.

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  12. I always like to come up with titles first and then work around it with content. So, in essence, a title to me should reflect on something you write about.

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  13. I often suck at titles, but I find I'm drawn to longer ones at the bookstore, and I called one of my unpublished books A Lowdown Dirty Shame. I thought it really spoke to atmosphere.

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  14. I definitely like shorter titles over longer ones and want to it to have some tie in to the story or series. However, I suck at titles, LOL.

    You've done great with your titles Angela.

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  15. Length matters but not as much as having both an interesting and story relating title. 'The Brains are Coming' isn't as interesting as 'Brain Invaders!' But both are better than 'Aliens in the Shape of Brains are Coming'. Get it? You picked some great titles for your books. Some of my fave titles for my own w.i.p.s include Monster City and Frozen Dolls. Both follow the story line and are interesting enough to catch a potential readers eye. Also the latter isn't an overused title on Amazon, I checked.

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  16. I view titles as placeholders when I start a new story. Just 'something' to call the file/folder. After I've completed the first draft, edited it, had CP's go over it once, edited again... then I think about the title, because it's only usually then I understand what I was trying to write, what was important/thematic, I suppose.

    But then again, I'm an incurable pantser, so maybe it's normal.

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