A lot. That’s what’s in creating a title. After coming up with a premise for a story, and then taking that story through a malicious paper ratchet, to finally land at that sweet long awaited lengthy sigh, the dealmaker then follows. And that dealmaker is none other than the title.
Take for instance, the name Calvin. I would cast a character with this name in a strong leadership role of sorts. I wouldn’t make a Calvin a mushy creature is what I’m saying, though I’m not about to go on and on explaining in lurid detail this assignment process. It’s not all that cut and dry. Just know that much thought is weighed in on naming my characters. This is my number one motivator for driving a story. A mismatched character (with name) can torpedo my spirit and sink my mood if I’m not feeling him or her, or it.
…And something to a similar sort goes for titling a book. I want the title to sing to me, especially since it’s going to be the first thing staring me, and everyone else, in the face while it’s singing, or not singing. Just imagine that. A choir carrying a note, and dressed like the tune it’s carrying too. Yep, I want my books, from the title to character names, singing in both ears. As such, I’m prepared to share a little backdrop on how I arrived at the title for a few of my books. (Nope: Can’t do ‘em all, since I don’t want to give all of my secrets away.)
Leiatra's Rhapsody. First, before the title, I had to get the name of my heroine right. Her name had to be unique, and it had to be powerful. It took a while, ensuring her name had that perfect ring. One I hadn’t heard before. And sure enough, soon as my lips formed the sound “Lee-ate-tra,” I knew this name was it. I searched the Net, which in 2004, even continuing up to as late as last year, no one had this name. And please tell me if this name doesn’t exude the energy I was going for? Never mind. You don’t have to. I already know it’s one of a kind.
Titling Leiatra’s Rhapsody, therefore, came easier… since the novel is her song.
This One I Got Right, also a part of the Rhapsody Series—part III, I came up with after catching wind of a few low grunts. "Tone it down," came with said wind, which I know it was a little ornery, so please try to hold it down after I write this, but I conceded through a sage smile (to no one in particular) that I would ‘tone it down,’ and then turned the dial up, and oh… came up with a title that couldn’t be nothing but a sure winner. This One I Got Right.
Rye & the Rump. (Part IV of the Rhapsody Series) ...is mentioned somewhere here on my blog before, how this title came to be. My father! That’s who titled Rye & the Rump. I held a book party where his entry to name the next novel in my romance series won the most votes. I asked him how he came up with the title, to which he said it was the feeling he got after hearing me describe the storyline. Basically, he was thinking of a loaf of bread; as in a manifold couple who belong together. Sweet, and very perceptive, huh?
Atlóta. Short and sweet; the title means All The Letters of the Alphabet. It’s a poetry book, with the central epic piece, Atlóta, being inspired by an encounter I had with an English teacher in the 11th grade.
Black Table. This title resulted unanimously, named by my family, for a now ‘renowned’ table where we held some of the most eminently reputed family discussions ever. Black denotes the color of the table—black lacquer; our family is multicultural. The stories, however, are primarily ‘selected’ memoirs of our more favored tales from the 70’s, set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Storytella. Take a good guess how this title originated.