Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Title Bout

It seems I'm always fighting with my titles. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don't like them, and almost always they just seem lame. Lately I've been wondering if the lameness of my titles is effecting how my books are perceived by the people I'm querying. Lame title = lame book?

Spectacle originally started out as "The Comet" - which if possible was lamer than usual. Then it moved to the title "The Doomsayers", spent a few weeks as "Fearmongers". Both of those titles were more geared toward the original premise of the book, and since I changed the basic slant, neither of those worked. Finally, I settled on Spectacle. (Because the fear instilled in us can make the world seem little better than a spectacle. Deep? Yes. But it's also lame.)

Caldera never underwent any title changes because I was fed up with trying to find something snazzy, and Caldera, if nothing else, is an accurate title.

Blink's actual title is "Blink of an I" - because the premise behind it speculates on what would happen to the world if mankind gave their individual rights over to the government.

And AWJ originally stood for "A Widow's Justice" until I changed who the bad guy was. Now it means "A Warped Justice".

Finally, the little story waiting to happen is "Bloodflow", but was originally called Nano. It's about nanotechnology being used for evil. The name Nano fell by the wayside when I realized that if you pronounce it with a long A, it becomes my baby-hood word for the belly-button. (I couldn't say navel.)

Oh, and I can't forget the novel that's waiting in the wings... P.S.S. Redemption. Originally just Redemption until I found out about Leon Uris's novel by the same name, and now Karin Tabke has a novel with that title, too. P.S.S. Redemption is the name of a submarine in the novel, so I guess it works for me. (You'll have to read the book to find out what the P.S.S. stand for, so I guess I have to get cracking on that one.)

I wish I could come up with something snappy like To Kill a Mockingbird or Atlas Shrugged. Nothing too cute, just something that'll attract attention, like Tutu Deadly or Fear No Evil.

What say you? How are you on titles, and what are some really good (or really bad) titles you've come up with? Or even what good or bad ones have you read?


Tia said...

My three novel titles are:

Oath of the Songsmith (trunk novel)
Forging a Legend
Starcaster (or, A Spy and a Lady)

Nathan Bransford is having commenters list their favorite titles. There are a lot of bizarre titles out there.

liz fenwick said...

Titles are a tough one. A good title will sell a book alone - think The Devil Wears Prada btw I haven't read the book but and agent gave this as an example during a panel). However I know from many published friends that their original title rarely sees the light of day so I wouldn't worry too much:-)

Janimé said...

Oh piffle!

I like "Spectacle". I think it fits in very well with the story. It's certainly not lame.

I think Caldera fits as well. It is accurate, both in terms of the thing that you're telling a story about, and about what goes on in the story as well.

Since I've not gotten to read Blink, I can't tell you if it fits or not. But I like the title all by itself.

I'm not as sure about "A Warped Justice", but "Bloodflow" sounds interesting.

So stop with the "lame" thing already! :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Jan. You're a dear. No matter what the title ends up being, Spectacle and Caldera will always have those names in my head. =o)

I'm sticking with Blink. AWJ will probably change. We'll see about the rest. Liz is right: original titles almost never see the light of day anyway.

Interesting titles, Tia. I think it was just a coincidence that NB and I posted about similar topics yesterday. Heh. Great minds think alike?

Shannon said...

I've always sucked at titles. My ex-agent changed the title of my first book from Sahara's Song to The Neural Net. (She said the title shouldn't be focused on the character but the plot) When we parted ways I changed it back...and felt better.
ps. I like Spectacle.