What’s in Titling A Book?

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.

Well, wait. Not quite. First I must insert the naming of characters. I take naming my characters very serious. The name has to fit; has to have a certain ring, as I get instantaneous visuals of personalities by the ring in a name.

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 Seriespart 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 tableblack 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.

Comments

  1. Ahh, I know the feeling. Coming up with the perfect title is something that I struggle with quite a lot. I love your title Storytella.

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    1. Hi there Kathryn, and thanks. I must say that at least coming up with a title is a fun struggle... nothing near in comparison to the struggle with the story... I'm sure you'll agree too. LOL!

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  2. i think a great title and a great cover are a book's first sellers -they are certainly important to me when picking books

    it's great learning about your process. have you ever thought of "Bev's Boundless Beauty" or "Bev, the Big-Boned Barmaid"

    just saying :)

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    1. LoL.

      No, how about this one; Bev is Begging to GET RYCJ in TROUBLE!!!

      Kidding... though you did get me once, and I'm just tickled about it. I don't ever expect to see anyone holding up that book cover and reading. Oh Lord... let me get offline so I can breathe! Crying out Loud!!!

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  3. Leiatra, a gorgeous melodic name - and title. I recently gently scolded an author who asked me to review his book for titling his novel "The Church Retreat." Title like that spooks people who *don't* like churches, and ticks off those who do, once they read the book and find out it has NOTHING to do with a church.

    All of these are intriguing titles. Adding to my TBR list now.

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  4. Thanks Bev. Laughing here too... "The Church Retreat" ...really? You do have a point though. After reading a few church books I often push away from these titles too. Many just don't seem to 'hit it' just right.

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  5. I am currently really struggling with developing the title for my next work, I won't go into the details, but you can see them here:
    http://www.authonomy.com/forums/threads/103202/what-makes-a-good-book-title-/

    Especially how the title I have been going with is very detailed, but kinda pigeon holes it into a pulp fiction genre, whereas I see it as a more literary project.
    I am looking for the same punch but which hints more at the literary aspects of the tale!

    I agree so much is in a title, you've got some crackers though!

    Kind regards
    Kit

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  6. Hello Kit, and thanks for commenting. Actually, anything goes with any of these genres, since all written work falls in the definition of lit. Just keep at it, be creative, get tickled (in other words don't think too hard on it), and it'll stand out.

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