Monday, June 14, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name - (Cliché Alert)

The other day I was walking by a table of books in Books-a-Million and Russell Brand's memoir called MY BOOKY WOOK caught my eye. Funny, funny title! I'm not crazy about all of his humor, but he has his moments and to me the title of his book told me he didn't take himself too seriously. I also saw him interviewed the other night. He was so sweet when he said about his fiancée, "I love her you know" and not in an inane tone.

Anyway, titles tell a lot about a book and, like most authors, I struggle with mine. The book I'm working on now was originally called THE ONES, and then DEADLY TEMPTATION, and lately THE ONES: BLOOD WARS. I changed it the first time because a judge and a CP told me the title wasn't romantic enough. Then in another contest I had a judge tell me the book wasn't a romance. Funny, isn't it? The first page is about how much the heroine has a crush on the hero. I figured the judge said it wasn't a romance because the book is in first person. Now I've thrown out the ending and added tons of words, working on the new ending. I decided it's closer to urban fantasy with romance in it. So I gave it back the old title with a modifier.

Some titles come easy to me. Like my two books I wrote for Silhouette Romantic Suspense: A SHERIFF TO CALL HER OWN and PREACHER'S SON. Since I finaled in the Maggies with both of them, they ended up on Wanda Ottewell's (Harlequin SuperRomance) desk. She later rejected them. So after some major revisions, I retitled them and sent them to RS as WATCH MOLLY RUN and PROTECTING MARY. Rejected again. Ho-hum.

I've found I have a thing for the word shadow. My first romantic suspense (and the second book I wrote) was called CRYSTAL SHADOWS. Presently, I have three more books with that word in it: SHADOW HEALER, OUT OF THE SHADOWS and IN THE SHADOWS. The first is a paranorml romance and the other two are romantic suspense.

One title that was rather controversial was my romance (not paranormal or suspense) THE FEMALE CHAUVINIST. The heroine wasn't a bitch. She loved men but being a successful business woman, she didn't have time for romance or love. She treated men like men treat women all the time. They were sex objects to her. To help her scratch an itch and then to go on her way, taking care of business until she met the man who swept her off her feet. Love that book. I'll probably rewrite it one day since my voice has changed so much, but I'll keep the plot the same.

I like twists for titles. One of my favorites (I didn't write) is THE TAMING by Jude Deveraux. Back in 1989 (whoa!), I thought the title was referring to the hero taming the heroine, but suprise! it was the opposite. So I was thinking of that title when I named another paranormal of mine called THE CHAMPION. It wasn't named for the hero, though he was a champion in his own right, it was the heroine who wanted to be a champion for helpless children.

I have so many more titles for books I've finished or started, such as THE AIR SHE BREATHES, THE BILLIONAIRE'S REVENGE, TREASURE, WEEKEND LOVER, FOR AN ETERNITY (short story - ironic, isn't it?), GOOD BAD LUCK, FULL MOON, DARK DESIRE (doesn't everyone have a book named this? Or the next one here...), DARK BETRAYAL, CONVICT, BLOOD PROTECTOR (this will probably be the second book in the BLOOD WAR series - thinking positive), THE CAGED HEART, THE RICH MAN'S SON and last but not least, THE PRINCE, THE WARRIOR & THE QUEEN (this one is pure erotica, let your imagination run free). I think I have a few more I need to move over from a floppy disc. Yep, they're that old. LOL!

Tell us some of your titles and why you picked them.


JoAnn said...

My titles are not great, but they're servicable.

A Thousand Flowers (the heroine owns a flower shop)

The Nature of Love (set in the wilderness)

A Suitable Wife (heroine is charged with finding a wife for the hero)

For the Ages (paranormal time-traveling fantasy. HA!)

Jeanie said...

Titles are hard. You want them to be snappy and catchy, but also convey the gist of your story. In other words, you want your title to do everything.

No pressure there, huh?

The PN I just sold (thanks, Carla!) was originally entitled DARK ENCOUNTER. It sounded cool and mysterious and romantic. And then the story morphed into funny, and the name DARK ENCOUNTER didn't fit anymore.

I struggled with a title for several months and finally came up with DEMONS IN DIXIE. I liked it. Thought it sounded perky and conveyed something about the book and my voice.

Of course, no matter how much you love your title, once you sell the publisher can call the book anything it wants, like ATTACK OF THE THREE-PRONGED DOO DOO HEADS FROM OUTER SPACE!

Fortunately, DOO DOO HEADS was not the title chosen for my first book. Whew!

It will be called DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE. Pretty close to my original title, so I am mucho pleased.

Kat Jones said...

I always seem to call the book something related to the story, but don't seem to have a real 'title' for them. One is simply referred to (even by my writers' group) by the heroine's first name. Another is simply 'Vegas', which is where the hero & heroine meet. I'm a work-on-progress. :)

Cari Hislop said...

I find my titles either born with the story or I have to hunt them down like some elusive animal everyone's heard of, but no one's ever seen.

Of the two stories I'm working on, one is called Dancing the Maypole. The heroine is 5ft 11in. hence she is the maypole. She's never danced around a maypole, but there is a feeling of dancing a maypole to the story...if that makes any sense. Of course I could be imagining things...writers' delirium...

The other book I'm working on I wracked my brains in vain for about a year and then one day I read an article in the New York Times and there in the article was my title. I swear the words were practically
flashing, "Once Upon a Wager". It's if I could just finish the book...

I think titles are soul singers for their books. One of my books I was going to name after the anti-hero, but after my husband suggested it could be better, I came up with 'An Unlikely Hero' which I really like.

Of my stories, my readers' favorite tends to be "The Invisible Husband"
which is a Gothic tinged regency. I knew the title before I started writing. It's a great title because it invokes a question, "Why is he invisible?" Questions are good!!!

Carla Swafford said...

I didn't know you'd written a paranormal/time-travel/fantasy, JoAnn. WOW!

Carla Swafford said...

DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE! I like it. You're right, so close. :-) Congrats again, Jeanie.

I'm with you. They can call any of my books whatever they want as long as they call me! LOL!

Carla Swafford said...

Well, Kat, those are better than THAT BOOK! :-)

Carla Swafford said...

Ooo, I like those titles, Cari. Yeah. I agree. THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND certainly gets you to thinking. :-)

Heather said...

Great post! I do a better job at naming my cats that finding titles! My current WIP has had so many different titles that the word processing folder looks like a Kindle library - all for the same book!

Christine said...

After reading several of this month's Silhouette Desires and Special Editions as well as American Romance etc., I am convinced I have the perfect title for my NEXT book regardless of content:


Seriously, all the books released had titles like that --really.

I am not joking. I will title my next book the above title.

Louisa Cornell said...

Love these titles!

My first manuscript is titled Lost in Love because the hero gets lost on his own estate on his and the heroine's "first date." He pretty much stays "lost" the rest of the story and like all men refuses to ask for directions!

My second manuscript is titled The Raven's Heart. The hero's estate is Ravencrest and people call him The Raven. (Gothic Regency)

The sequel is called The Nightingale's Song (heroine is an opera singer)

The third in the trilogy is The Swan's Cry (heroine sort of comes back from the dead and according to legend swans only make a sound at the moment of their death.

My "manwhore" trilogy starts with

The Deceit of Desire


The Truth of Beauty

and finally

The Price of Obsession

Oh, yeah, if some editor snaps these up I KNOW they will change the titles.

Carla Swafford said...

Heather, what are your cats' names? LOL!

Carla Swafford said...

Christine! Too funny! What's even better is that title will certainly catch an editor's eye.

Carla Swafford said...

Great titles, Louisa.

Christine said...

I am going to do it--and when I get it out into the real world, we'll all have champagne to celebrate :-)