Monday, January 7, 2013

I Can't "Call it Anything"

I know you've heard this. When you're starting a new story and you're wondering what to call it. Someone, a critique partner, writing buddy, editor, or your helpful DH says, "It doesn't matter. Call it anything."

Well, it matters to me. For some reason I can't really get my head around my book until I have an appropriate title, something that helps me keep my eye on the theme, stay tuned into the characters or an overview of the series. 

I love a good title. It's one of our most important marketing tools. Let's face it - where a poor title might still get someone to pick it up, a great title is well, irresistible. 

A great title can be just one dramatic word - Abandoned, Unspoken, Untamed, Devoured. It can be indicative of a series like Jeannine Frost's Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, This Side of the Grave, Destined for an Early Grave. (Kind of obvious they're connected.) Or Katie McAlister's Up in Smoke, You Slay Me, Fire Me Up, Holy Smokes, Light My Fire. (The Aisling Grey series about the green dragons.)
Some of my favorites are mystery titles: Juliet Blackwell's books about a witch who has a vintage clothing store in San Francisco - A Cast Off Coven,  Hexes and Hemlines, Secondhand Spirits. And recently I discovered Kate Collins' Flower Shop Mystery - Dearly Depotted, Act of Violets, To Catch a Leaf, Night of the Living Dandelions. 

A couple years ago I held an informal naming contest for my book I was pitching at M&M. We decided Tempest Rising fit it perfectly. One month later I discovered a new book by that title and was totally stalled by having my title usurped. Not intentionally of course, but it felt that way. 

So here I am with a new series, trying to figure out no only the name of the first book but how will my titles relate to each other within the series. Is there a common thread, word, color that I can incorporate. Well, right now I just need a working title for the first book. I've figured it out for now and I can move forward. 

How about you? Do you have to have a title that fits before you can write the book?

Readers -  Do you have any favorites? There are some great ones out there. 


  1. I have to at least have a decent working title before I can move along with the book. I mean, I can't just call it BOOK A or something. haha

    I wrote ninety-nine percent of my current book with a title I was about seventy-five percent invested in. (The World Next Door) But that extra twenty-five kept bugging the crap out of me. haha.

    I finally came up with something totally different and now I love my new title. (Against the Falling Moons)

    I can't think of any book titles offhand that I love, but that's probably because it is three o'clock in the morning. yawn. Going to bed now...

    Congrats on figuring out a title for your first book. What is it anyway?

  2. Originally it was Tempest Rising. Her name is Tempest and she's a storm witch of sorts and she hadn't come into her own - hence the title. Didn't it fit? I'm still mad about that. But now the title is Destined for the Storm. (She lives in Destiny.) I've got the blurb for it and everything but like you, until I'm finished with it I'm about 75% invested. (I was 100% in the first title.)

  3. I'm terrible with titles! I come up with one (whether it works or not) and stick with it to the bitter end, but that isn't the way to go. As the story progresses, the title can and perhaps should change/grow with it. Intriguing post, Livi!


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