Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Title Trials

Like most authors, I have my own writing process. I utilize a plotting method that incorporates elements of seat-of-the-pants plotting, as well as story board visuals and chapter outlines. My method isn't pretty, but I get the job done.

And, again, like most authors, I have my idiosyncracies. And one of them is wreaking havoc with my writing productivity. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I'm working on a new proposal for Harlequin Intrigue. I'm doing the requisite character work, plot development, and am getting close to having the necessary word count for the proposal. The only thing I don't have is...a title.

Now this might not seem all that dire. I'm sure many perfectly wonderful manuscripts have been written with the word UNTITLED in the header.

Just not mine.

I've always had a working title for all my books.

Until now.

And it really irked me just looking at the bloody word in the header.


I became so frustrated that I spent one afternoon trying to come up with a suitable title that wouldn't embarrass me when I submitted the proposal to Allison Lyons.

No luck.

I finally enlisted the help of my son. I gave him a somewhat abbreviated version of the storyline and we began a list of possible titles.

After about an hour we came up with one that works on two levels. The working title of my Harlequin Intrigue is MILES FROM HOME. (And if you guessed that one of the characters is named 'Miles' you earn a gold star.)

If you're a writer, I'd love to hear how you go about finding a title for your story. Are you like me and can't stand the sight of UNTITLED in the header and you sit and stew each time you open that document, or are you content to wait until the book is done and worry about the title then? As a reader, how important is the title of a book to you? Are there things you like to see in a book title or things that turn you off?

And now, I have absolutely no excuse not to finish that proposal. So off I go!

Have a super Thursday!

~Bullet Hole~


Joanne Kennedy said...

Robin, I love the title "Miles from Home. Very evocative, and cute, too, since it has the character's name in it. But titles are so tough to come up with! Mine are doubly tough because all my contemporary Western romances have the word "Cowboy" in the title (Cowboy Fever, One Fine Cowboy...). My editor came up with some of them, and I brainstorm with lists of "cowboy this" and "cowboy that." Plus all my friends know I need titles and once in a while I'll get an e-mail with a title suggestion. My upcoming release has my fave cowboy title ever: "Tall Dark & Cowboy."
And by the way, I love the new nickname!!!

Diane Kelly said...

I tend to pick out one detail of the book and focus on that in a title - a detail that has some type of symbolism. Such as in "Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure," she's always chipping a nail when she has to fight criminals. Titles can indeed be hard! It's like deciding how to wrap a present!

Cynthia Justlin said...

Kathy, "Miles from Home" is a great title! Hope you get to keep it. I'm in the 'need a title' camp too. Somehow having a title helps the book flow better. My current WIP is entitled "Becca" and it's driving me nuts, referring to it by the heroine's name! LOL.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for commenting, Joanne! I'd love to be able to get 'cowboy' in my title, but just couldn't find one that worked. I'm sticking with Miles From Home for now. Chances are I probably won't be able to keep it.


Kathy Bacus said...

It's also hard to pick a title when you want to link books in a series, Diane. I envy those authors who have a knack for clever titles.


Kathy Bacus said...

LOL, Cynthia!

For my book FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS, I had another title picked out that I loved. Unfortunately, just after I finished the book I discovered a newly released romance by that very same title and I had to come up with the new one.

I was lucky I came up with another one I liked.