It occurred to me that I haven't written much (if any) on the process of creating titles. They are important to blogs, books and pretty much any creative effort of writing. A title can turn a reader on or off. It can leave the reader disappointed or feeling very satisfied. I love titles, both creating and reading them.
Usually creating titles has come pretty easily for me. I write a lot of them because of the blogs and then there are the
eleven ePublished contemporary romances with five historicals which
likely will also be available eventually. Whether anyone else
likes them, I always like my titles. I look for imagery and some aspect
of what I've written. My goal is to have a title go to the deeper
meaning within the book.
In writing a blog sometimes my titles are pretty prosaic, just the facts ma'am, and sometimes flighty. I think they always deal with what the reader will find when they get to the text. And this is what I hope for with my books.
Most books, when a work in progress, have a working title. Sometimes that can last years if that book doesn't immediately get finished or is finished but not yet published. Sometimes I know they are not permanent. Other times I stubbornly want them but finally accept they aren't best for the books.
Only once did I put out a book and change the title after it had been published. Basically whether they draw in readers or not, they have a reason for being what they are. I thought I'd describe a few and their reason for being as examples of how readers might come up with their own titles.
The one I changed goes first. I called it Golden Chains because it's about love, art, mythology and I saw love as a binding sort of chain, something that is valuable, lovely but harder to break than we think. The story of Prometheus is both in the book and woven into one of the character's personality. Golden Chains-- what could go wrong?
Well to start people assumed it was erotica. It's not-- although it does have sex in the book and nude modeling in art classes. Neither qualified it for erotica except to people who see all nudity as suspicious unless its confined to a bedroom-- or maybe a strip joint. After a few months of having this book out and realizing, through comments, that the title wasn't fair to it, I changed it to Bannister's Way (mentioning the change in its blurb so people didn't buy it twice).
Bannister's Way was a good title also as one of the issues is the way David Bannister gets things done which seem manipulative and underhanded to some. He is a detective. He has though gotten into a situation where he's trying to win back his ex-wife, dealing with a world where he's out of his league, and instead of feeling totally in charge, he's having to learn what it's like to feel blocked and out of control which impacts his work as well as his life. Bannister's Way is about our way and how it might not always be the best. Can we learn new ways?
Another title that might confuse readers but it's staying where it is would be Moon Dust. I suppose a reader might wonder what the heck that means; but if they read the book, they will receive the answer. I personally like titles like that and think a reader would also as a way to consider discovery part of a good read. The title, Moon Dust, is not depicting romantic love. It is a fairy tale in the book; but the fairy tale, as they all do, has a deeper meaning. It's how we actually can make change in others and our world.
I could write about mine all day because its fun to describe how they got to be. They are created by connecting with the energy of the work, finding a few words, very few, that relay that energy to a person passing by. I like words with imagery, sometimes some mystery, words connected to the book (sometimes a piece of text within), but mostly indicating the energy of the book.
One last example is another title that likely wouldn't seem obvious for its meaning. Hidden Pearl is about a world of cults and people searching for meaning to their lives and finding it in dangerous places. It is a Biblical concept in one of Jesus' parables (Matt 13:44-46) where something of great value might be hidden but when it's found, it is of greater value than anything else.
In my story, the hero is not looking for anything until he is sent on a quest by his Navajo mother. Being born of two cultures, he has mostly denied any connection to his heritage. He has believed in what is in front of him, but when he begins to try and find what happened to his sister, he finds himself also on a quest into himself.
The reason people get into cults is because they want that thing of great value, the meaning of life. They think they have found it but often find instead it is a trap. I suppose the title might confuse potential readers, but I figure that if people ever get into my books, they will find those titles are often keys to the deeper something in them.
There are a lot of titles out there; many are only designed to attract. One popular author uses single words like reckless, breathless, etc. Several mystery writers use the alphabet with the readers knowing the next title will fall in line. Some create words that will become part of our lexicon. I guess whatever comes to us is what we will build upon.
Titles are rewarding, not always easy. I had an experience recently that brought this all to my attention-- coming next blog.
The images I chose for here are all mine from a variety of sources and I chose them just because...