Wednesday, April 25, 2012

how to title your book

If you haven't entered my blogoversary giveaway of Insurgent, hurry up!  You only have until Friday at 7 am!

So I found this article from Rachelle Gardner on how to title your book.
Awesome.  Because I was having problems.  I started Novel #2 recently, and I really needed a title.  It could be a working title, but I needed something, so that I could save the Word doc (and not just as Novel 2).  So... more brainstorming.  My fave, right?  So I read Rachelle's blog and I think it really helped.

The first thing I did was made a lit of titles that I liked.  My favorite titles were not necessarily of my favorite books and visa versa.  I did some analysis and tallied up what each title signified, for example, a setting/place, character or thing.  (Most of my favorite titles were setting/places followed very closely by characters).  Then I picked my three favorites which were The Dark and Hallow Places, The Left Hand of Darkness, and Let The Sky Fall.  I think all of these triggered some sort of emotion from me and made me want to read them.  (fyi: I've actually never read any of these novels, so take that as whatever you want).

So then I made a list of single words that fit with my novel.  Anything that came to mind.  Just general association.  Objects, people, emotions, things, whatever.  Then the real fun started.  I began to put them together.  (I don't do single word titles because I think they get too easily confused with other titles.  Read my post about that here.)  I wanted something that triggered an emotion, but obviously had something to do with my story.  But I didn't want to give too much of the story away in the title.  I wanted something that would entice the reader, from just the title, to pick up the book and read it.  So I made a list of possible titles, not editing myself, and just let them pile up.  I sat on them for a little while and when I came back, one or two popped out at me.

It was beweteen The Disloyalty of Colors and The Abandonment of Senses.  I decided on the former because I think colors is a cooler word and had more to do with my book than the latter.  Plus, I felt like it kind of gave a synsethetic feel to the title.  Colors are neither loyal or disloyal in reality, so personifying them is kind of like mixing up the senses, and I thought kind of a cool way to get synsethesia across in my book.

So now I want to do that with my first book, but I'm kind of stuck in mind-set of Code of the Firefly already being the title, so I'll have to see if I can break out and come up with something better.

How do you come up with titles?  What are some of your favorites?


  1. I like titles that are intrinsically linked to the story (like a mini synopsis). Fablehaven, for example, is about a reserve called Fablehaven. If the title has nothing to do with the story (it's just a cool title), I'm a bit, eh, on that.

    When it comes to titles, I think up the theme of the story and whip up a cool title that fits that theme. :)

    1. I do get what you're saying about if the title has nothing to do with the story, that it's just eh. I'll definitely have to think about that. And themes are a good idea too. So many options!

  2. Love this idea! I'm not sure how I title each of my projects, I think its different each time. Although I do keep a list of titles in the back of all my writing notebooks.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    1. It is different every time, so true! My first book's title just kind of made sense because it's so central to the story. But this one was harder because the central part of the story is less concrete. But I love lists, so I'll def have to start keeping one in the back of my notebooks just for titles. (A good title is great inspiration too, right?)

  3. Yeeeah. This whole "titles" conversation has me nervous, because one of hte Entangled editors tweeted that a bad title can make her consider something less. I don't know what exactly constitutes a BAD title, but I do know that I never gave mine a second thought - it just felt right.
    Just another way I'm terrified I'm disadvantaging my manuscript, I guess. Brava to you for tackling it head-on and coming up with some amazing-sounding titles!

  4. I saw that tweet and wondered the same thing, what constitutes a bad title? But I've also heard that editors have the last say and can change the titles, so I shouldn't even get attached to mine anyways, lol. But I think if it just feels right, then you know you've got a good one!