Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's Trendy in Titles?

I'm terrible at choosing titles, and this certainly isn't the first time I've admitted it. My Katherine Wake story has had so many different, awful titles, I've probably driven my dear Escape Artist coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.

So what's trendy in titles? More importantly, what makes a title utterly unforgettable? Let's look at some popular themes.

1. Main character in the title (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Peter Pan)
While I think this is effective, I'm not sure the character's name would decide for me. Umm, unless it was 'Hugh Jackson's Delicious: Let Me Count the Ways.' All my ladies...would you buy that book? If you say no, you're lying! Gentlemen, if it were Halle Berry, same question. hehe

2. Play on words (or the dreaded pun)
I loveLoveLOVE this. Yes, I'm that dork. I spent an hour after I wrote my book (first draft of the first version) trying to put 'Kat' into my title, googling cat sayings, piecing together acceptable, sometimes 100% not acceptable, titles. Kat Outta the Bag, While the Kat's Away, Kat on a Hot Tin Roof, Kat-tastrophe. That one made me stop, shred my legal pad, and reevaluate if a blog was a good idea. :) Needless to say, I've given up this method for titling.

3. One word titles
Twilight is the obvious example, but think of all the others. Evermore, Shattered, Betrayal, Deception. The list goes on and on. If you had to title your book with one word, what would it be, and how will that word tell your story and grab your potential reader? It's a tall order!

4. What your book's about
I struggle with a two sentence hook. How in the world do I get it down to a short and catchy title? Yikes! The Hunger Games makes perfect sense. Katniss is the star, but the story's about the games. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Yep. Stuck on an island with the same name. Eat, Pray, Love. She eats in Italy, prays in India, and loves in Indonesia. Easy, right? Wrong!!!

5. Anything goes
Some book titles have no connection at all to the story. They may be lovely, memorable, funny, just something that gets a reader to buy the book. One of my favorite books is a recent read called When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer. Without googling, I have no idea what the connection is between the story and the title, but isn't it a gorgeous thought?

How do you title your works? A method? A friend's suggestion? Some kind of activity? I'd love to know, and hey, maybe your advice will save me from my Brain-eating Title Monster. Well, we can hope anyway.



Escape Artist said...

You make me laugh! One page of possible titles by the end of the week please! Ha. Challenge accepted?

Marie Rearden said...

Challenge accepted (as long as you give me the weekend). :) And to answer one question from your notes in chapter 1, I did see the discussion of LGBTQ in YA on Kristen Nelson's blog. That article got me FIRED up. I think I'll do a post on Friday about it actually. Hugs! Marie