Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Title Me This

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's question: How do you pick your titles?

Titles. Along with blurbing and comp titles and authors, titling your creative opus is work. It has to be thought through. There might be chocolate involved.

Yeah, I have problems with titles. This explains why I number my haikus. When I think of titles, I immediately go to loft and snobbish titles. For years, Falling to Normal was called Trials and Tribulations: Memoirs of a Teenager*. I loved that title and refused to change it for a looong time because nothing I came up with sang to me as my pretentious-almost-Russian-author-esque title did.

Did I come up with the title Falling to Normal? Hell, no. It took an hour brainstorm session where I told Hubby all about my plot  and he came up with the title. He's the marketing and sales person in this relationship.

So how do I come up with a title? If I'm lucky, it will just come to me, like most blog post titles. Most of the time, I have to work for it. Most working drafts have vague titles like "Untitled 1st POV" or "short story 29." As it was, when I first drafted Phoenix Rising, it had the most awesome title of "nanowrimodraft09." It took months thinking about the main characters before I got the title I have now.

If you have an actual process on titling, I'd love to know the secret.

Don't forget to stop by YA Highway and learn more secrets of titling!




* Of course, I came up with the title when I was 16 and then-Trials was a 10 page short story.
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Last.fm hit of the day: Hey, Good Lookin' by Hank Williams

20 comments:

  1. I read something interesting where an author complained about coming across the title in the text. He thought it was distracting.

    I kind of like it though. I think it's clever, and it always makes me giggle.

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  2. Oooh, Falling to Normal is awesome. Does your husband want to come up with my titles from now on? ;)

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  3. I do what Bethany said - I usually come up with a key, related phrase in my MS that kind of sums up the story, but not really.

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  4. Um, I totally love your long Russian-author-esque title, LOL. Then again I'm a sucker for ridiculous silly titles, like every Sufjan Stevens song. Cracks me up.

    But for books, short and sweet seems to work best! Love the titles you eventually came up with!

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  5. Hmmmm... you just gave me an idea. I've been thinking of re-titling my manuscript, but haven't been able to come up with anything good. I might ask hubby.

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  6. Thanks for putting my contest on your sidebar, guys!

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  7. I would definately buy a book called nanowrimodraft09 if I saw it at the bookstore :)

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  8. I don't have a method to titling- I'm like you. I just mull over the story for a while and hope that something will come to me eventually. My current project is called Young Sleuth WIP...yep, clever.

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  9. I love Falling to Normal! I don't have a particular method, but generally they just come to me, usually before I begin writing.

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  10. Your husband is good! I think Falling to Normal is a fabulous title, and I totally see it fitting in on the YA shelves. Phoenix Rising is cool too. It paints a vivid image in my head.

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  11. I'm with Meredith--I totally want to borrow your hubby to title my WIPs. :)

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  12. Man, the number of working drafts I've let MS word name for me because the right title hadn't arrived yet. I have folders full of things with names like 'He walked into the room.doc'.

    Your hubby clearly knows his stuff. Falling to Normal is a great title :-)

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  13. I just make sure that the two/three/four words sound nice when they sit together :)

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  14. Love that your hubby helped you with the title brainstorming! Clearly he's got a gift. :)

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  15. Hubby is pretty flattered that you all want him to help with the titling process.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. I gave you an award on my blog www.katherinescott.blogspot.com

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  17. I have a tough time with titles, too. The thing is, it's a lot of pressure finding that perfect title. And I believe that the PERFECT title is essential.

    Yeah, thus, I have several WiPs in my computer labeled lame things like: Nano 08 or WiP #3, etc. Sexy, no?
    Sometimes I manage to come up with a half-good-ish working title and place hold it there, but it still festers and niggles at me until an exemplary one hits me over the head.

    Sign me up to get in line for your husband's title doling! :)

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  18. That's a great title - nice work, Mr. Alicia!

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  19. If anyone really wants help with a title. Give me a brief synopsis, main character names, and main conflict. I'll see what I can do.

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