Monday, March 22, 2010

Title: Vital?

I'm a big believer in having a great title. I think it can help you focus your ideas and get your one-sentence pitch right from the very beginning. Yes, the title will likely change if you should be so lucky as to have your work published. But if you can come up with something catchy; a great phrase to sell your idea and concept straight away, then the rest should (hopefully) be easy. Or easier, anyway.

For my current novel, I originally had the title The Ex Factor. I thought it was great (and I still think it is!) but a search on Amazon revealed the title had already been taken. D'oh! Second try came up with The Hating Game -- a play on The Dating Game and rolling in the vengeful attitudes of the exes my protagonist will encounter.

How do you come up with a title? Do you leave it to the end, or is the title the first thing that comes to mind?

25 comments:

  1. God that is fantastic Talli, The Hating Game.

    It took me months before I hit on Remembering You and I haven't googled it yet but I'm sure it's been used. I don't know what I'll come up with if it is.

    Titles are hard for me and I'm not really good at them.

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  2. The title of the novel I'm working on at the moment came to me in the middle of the night. Half asleep I scribbled it down in my notebook and wrote it about twenty times for fear the pen I was using was out of ink.

    By then I had been working on the novel for well over a year, and just referred to it as "Ruth and Clive", which are the names of the two main characters. My fiance and I still call it that sometimes.

    Things certainly did start feeling more coherent when I finally had a title, but in terms of quantity I think I wrote more when I didn't have a title, as if I were trying to find one in amongst the pages I was writing.

    Isn't it horrible when your title is "stolen"!! I was horrified when I saw that someone had used the title of my next yet to be written novel - I came up with the premise and title when I was 18, a good ten years ago! - but I think I'll still write it anyway and call it the same title :P But who knows, after such a long germination, another one might come to me and be a better fit.

    Good luck with your title! Maybe you could try Ex-pectations! :P

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  3. My WIP's working title is Overcome. It's a dramatic thriller about a deranged man who hunts down a woman he doesn't know, because her phone number was generated by a computer on the day he snapped -- and she becomes his scapegoat for revenge.

    Don't know if it'll change, but so far I like that it's one word, and that it hints at a chase.

    Hope you have a fab week!

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  4. Oh the Hating Game is a fab title!

    I seem to write the story first and the title last! I don't know - I guess I find if I write the title first then I am constricted. If I just write free-form and let the story take shape first then suddenly, I will think of a title. It's like writing a blog. I write a blog piece first and title last!

    It's so fascinating discovering how other writers do things! Thanks for a thought-provoking and thought (I can only do one thought a day - LOL!) provoked piece!

    Take care
    x

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  5. My current work the title just came to me. I am still unsure if I love it but for now it will do.
    Have a great day!

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  6. I try to have a title before I start writing so I have an idea of what's pushing the plot along. Sometimes the title changes, other times it remains perfect. The title for my WIP came from listening to one of my favorite artists' album and "borrowing" an element of it. It's the perfect title for the WIP. I'm quite pleased.

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  7. My title happens somewhere along the way of the writing. It's usually a concept taken from the story as it develops, an idea, a theme, that sort of thing. And they're not always permanent either. I have changed titles several times!

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  8. Great title!! Great post! I have to say that I start out with a title but I never expect to keep it. This round I have chosen Finding Me and I still find that the title fits the story, but events have also caused it to take a different approach therefore the title might change. I say you choose something at the beginning but by the end it could evolve to something greater!

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  9. Wow - great comment; thanks everyone! And thanks for liking my title, too. It's so interesting to hear everyone's title and how you all have come up with it.

    I think it might be OK to have the same title as someone else if you're in a totally different genre. But I've got dinged before by an agent who sent back a rejection with 'Same title as a book in 1949' scrawled across it. Seriously!

    Thanks for chiming in. I love to see how other writers work.

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  10. I'm so bad at titles.I'm so bad that mine actually changes every few days. LOL. But I agree with you and think that they are very important. I mean, they are on the front cover and other than the covr itself, the title represents your book. It must grab a readers attention. I love a good title!

    Happy Monday!

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  11. I find titles to be a rough patch with my work. I basically have to wait for it to come to me in a flash of brilliance, or it will just feel awkward. Most of my titles are working titles until I come up with what I'll really call it.

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  12. Only once have I had a title come to me before the story. That was my novel. I had the title before I had the novel. Every other time, it's like pulling teeth to get one as I suck at naming things.

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  13. The Hating Game is a great title!

    The love story in my current WiP came from a song, so initially I referred to the book title as the song title. Unfortunately, one of my favorite authors used the word in her latest book of a popular series. Since I "know" the author through a website and she has offered some critiques of this WiP, I didn't want her to think I was copying.

    Lo and behold, as I went along a new named just popped into my head - Roulette (I'm sure it's been used before, haven't looked though). It works much better, and on the two levels of the story (the romance and the suspense). Of course, it's rare for a publisher to keep the original title, so if this is ever sold, who knows?

    The title to my others came while a good way through writing, if not after finishing, I can't remember now.

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  14. Wow, I just posted about looking for a title for my WIP novel last week, so I really feel you on this. I still haven't decided on the title itself but do have a solid idea that I need to do a little more research on before I declare it as THE one. I found it in dialogue. I was also going to go through some poetry and possibly the Bible as my antagonist quotes the good book throughout my novel.

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  15. Titles totally reflect the book. My first title, "Walk Beside Me" had a kind of pensive, companionable feel to it. Which no longer fit when my publisher decided it should be a thriller. The title I really liked, "Shattered," was taken by, oh, only like five other books last year! We finally selected "Perilous." It has the right ring to it.

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  16. Titles are powerful indeed. I'm still undecided on one for my current ms. I had one, but a book just came out with the same title about 2 months ago. Oh well.

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  17. Just popping in again to let you know I have something for you at my blog. :o)

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  18. Titles are one of the first things that come to me. I have to remind myself that they're subject to change, though.

    And I love "The Ex Factor"! Often it's okay for books to have the same titles, so hang on to it for as long as you dare. :o)

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  19. Hello! Clever titles make me happy. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those. I’m waiting for lightening to strike. The Hating Game is great! And how vengeful are these exes? Enough to be The Ax Factor? :D

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  20. I love the Ax Factor - sadly there are no metal implements involved (although I could write one in...).

    Thanks all for sharing your thoughts!

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  21. Great post on titles. I like to have a working title when I start a project, just to have something to call it. So far, none of the working titles have survived, though. ;) Book #1 has had 3 titles so far, and Book #2 has had 2. I'm outlining my next book right now, and I *love* my tentative title for that one, but I won't be surprised if I change it later.

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  22. Nice title. :)

    I usually come up with a title after 8 pages (nearly exactly there, every time. It's very weird.) When I don't I get worried.

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  23. The Hating Game - I love it!

    I often know the title as I write the first line. I've got it by the first page, at the latest.

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  24. I cant even decide if I want to make coffee in the morning or buy it from mcdonalds. A title is something that escapes me, much like where I get my coffee. If I ever happen to reach the end of my story and a title hits me in the face, I will let you know. Until then, I have nothing. Now, Im depressed.

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