Wednesday, November 25, 2009
THE WHISPERING EYE
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Water For Elephants
The Hunger Games
The Time Travelers Wife
Sometimes even before the cover image, the title is the first impression we have of a book. And whether we want to admit it or not, they’re important. HUGELY important. And you know what? I kinda suck at titles.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my title. Love, love it, and maybe even want to marry it. But it was an accidental title, a placeholder title that ([insert sarcasm font here] with my vast knowledge of the publishing industry) I was sure the publisher was going to change anyway. THE BODY FINDER…it was what my main character could do, not a well thought out title of a YA novel. I even had a short list (a VERY sort list) of alternates, just in case I was consulted in the matter. But that’s the weird thing…I wasn’t consulted. Because my publisher—the editorial staff and Sales and Marketing—they loved the title too. Thus, THE BODY FINDER it was.
And I was left standing there going: “What the hell just happened…?”
For book two I was more careful. Thoughtful. I spent a lot of time thinking about what meaning I wanted to convey. I weighed the feel of the book and the path that my main character took. And I came up with the perfect title. My agent loved it, and my editor too. Close your eyes and imagine it: *waves hand dramatically*
THE BEAUTIFUL DEAD
It had everything, it was evocative and dark and a little mysterious…
Umm, yeah, well apparently it was the perfect title. For a series of books in the UK. And it was way too close to Francesca Lia Block’s book (also by HarperCollins) titled PRETTY DEAD. (I wish someone would have told me before I bought http://www.thebeautifuldead.net/. Yeah, it works…)
So it was back to the drawing board. And then one day I was going through my edits and I came across a line that stood out to me: “…the desires of the dead.” And that was it, my title: DESIRES OF THE DEAD. Another accidental title. But, again, I love it. And again, a possible impending nuptial. (What can I say? I’m fickle like that!)
My current project doesn’t really have a title yet. And I’m struggling to come up with the one. S-T-R-U-G-G-L-I-N-G! I’ll know it when I find it. But I haven’t yet.
One morning after watching the movie Role Models, I woke up and my husband had renamed my manuscript “THE WHISPERING EYE” as a joke. If you’ve seen the movie you’ll get the reference. If you haven’t, then you’re on your own to figure it out. But I wonder what my editor would think if I sent it in like that. I can just imagine the Sales and Marketing meeting for that one. I’m guessing it would be fairly controversial…
So, I want to know what titles you love and why. And if you’re a writer, I wanna know how you’ve come up with your titles.
Because this title thing, it daunts me. Because, like I said, I sort of suck at it…