“We’re catching up with daylight,” another passenger exclaimed, and I thought, “That’s the story of my life.”
But other titles don’t appear so easily, so I did a little research about this all-important banner on every book’s cover.
Ane Mulligan: I type whatever comes to mind, no matter how bad. One idea sparks another, and another, until you finally find what works. :)
Ruth Logan Herne: the story’s emotion inspires the title. "Red Kettle Christmas" was perfect for an industrious Salvation Army bell ringer and a WWII vet/NYPD cop.
"Try, Try Again" is a marriage reunion story. And "Safely Home" for a Minneapolis cop who thought she'd never go home again, yet, here she is, fresh out of an abusive relationship.
Alison Stegert wrote a YA ghost story about a high school photography field trip to a historic cemetery. Weird things happen to some teens when they develop their photos...no matter what they do, they can't get rid of a certain ominous photo.
“One day I drove out of shade into blazing sun and needed my sunglasses. Photophobia popped into my head. I had my title!”
Dina Sleiman’s YA series Valiant Hearts—tough heroines in traditionally male roles—captures the heroine’s cover expression and indomitable spirit: Dauntless,reduced from Dauntless Love. Dina’s advice—“Don’t get too attached to your working titles.”
Lee Carver: Make your title brief, powerful and reflecting the genre. An agent once insisted on "Love" or "Romance,”, even though my books many friends wanted "Hijack" in the title, but that was a 3-chapter subplot, so we agreed on Love Takes Flight. It's so much more than a romance novel, and I feel it turns off male readers.
My WWII novel, A Secret Life, involves hidden identity, romance, battlefield scenes, and Jewish persecution. The title fits on so many levels as the protagonist has dual citizenship and conceals his American background and U.S. sympathies.”
Sara Goff’s friend came up with her debut novel’s title, I Always Cry At Weddings—right to the key emotion.
Rachelle Rea: On my way to college my sophomore year, I heard this sparkly, cymbal-y sound at a song’s beginning. I remember thinking, The Sound of Diamonds, and spent the summer writing and figuring out what that title meant.”
I often try three or four working titles before finding the ONE. My first World War II novel started as A Time For Flowers, since my beleaguered heroine found joy in her garden.
But my final pick, In Times Like These, an old hymn title, fits the overall plot and story emotion far better. Still, I had fun creating a one-sheet with Addie and her victory garden vegetable basket!
Thanks, authors, and I hope you’ll share your favorite titles, or helpful title-creation ideas.
About Gail: Sometimes we learn what we've done only after we do it. I wrote my memoir Catching Up With Daylight over a ten-year period, but learned the term "spirituality writing" only after the book was published. Figuring things out after the fact is a life theme for me, but even though it isn't the easy road, I learn a lot in the process. My very patient husband (37 years) and I live in St. Ansgar, Iowa, where a small creative writing class meets in my home, and we enjoy our grandchildren. I facilitate workshops on creativity/memoir writing/aging with grace. My first fiction release with Vintage Rose, titled In This Together, will be released sometime in 2015.
Connect with Gail at http://www.gailkittleson.com/ and www.facebook.com/gail.kittleson