Creating your novel title. How do you do it?

Titles. How do we create our titles? And what’s in a title?

My recently completed novel A Human Element came from this premise. We all have a human element in us that is redeemable, even if we’re half alien and a bad-ass. Even if we wander through life with a vision-less goal, making the wrong choices until we find the right one. (Kinda like the author).

I found a title generator online that was fun:
Some good titles: Bloody Bananas. Freaky Aliens.
Favorite: The Daring Murders. (What murder isn’t daring?)
Funniest: The Human Runs. (Talk about messy)

My new novel I’ m plotting was a bit more abstract. The River in Me. An adopted girl who never feels like she belongs as the blood that runs in her is not that of her adoptive family. The climax occurs around a river. In the end she learns to embrace the river of blood she carries within her. She belongs to herself and there is peace in that, and it can’t be taken away. Ultimately she creates her own family where she belongs. Being adopted myself, the title came from deep inside. The river in me.

I want to know. Do your titles come from your own personal experience or the plot itself?

Are you drawn to creating your title before you write your book? I am. It solidifies the premise for me and fuels my blood – the blood that runs unique in me. And now my own created family completes me. I do belong. We belong to each other.

What makes your title unique?

Share it here.

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12 Comments

Filed under Writing Techniques

12 responses to “Creating your novel title. How do you do it?

  1. jmcooper

    Titles are so fun to come up with. Mine tend to just pop into my brain at any given moment, but I think because I know that they are likely to be changed in a publishing contract, I don’t get too attached. Just in case, ya know? 😉

  2. I agree with your perspective on the importance of a book title. All your readers should be aware that publishers retain the rights to create the title for your book and the cover art. I was lucky in that my publishers accepted the title to my first novel, UNHOLY GRAIL, and my latest thriller, SIROCCO. For SIROCCO, a bioterrorism thriller, I created four possible titles (UNHOLY TERROR, DEADLY DECEPTION, SIROCCO, and UNHOLY JIHAD) and sent them with a short synopsis of the novel to many readers of UNHOLY GRAIL and asked them to rank them. SIROCCO won by a large margin.

    A few of my author friends had the titles of their novels changed by their publishers and were not at all happy. So I agree with jmcooper, don’t get too attached, just in case.

  3. Jess an David, you bring up good points – topic for another post! And while you hope your title will remain the same by the Publisher, the name you choose can at least serve its purpose to fuel your story and writing as you create it – and then you must let go. At least it aided me in writing to have that visual from my title. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I am terrible at titles. Coming up with Light and Dark was hard. Everything was either too cliche or didn’t describe the book at all. I finally settled on Light and Dark because it represents the juxtaposition of the book: the bright lights of Las Vegas and the underground world beneath it. But I didn’t have the title until at least halfway through writing it.

    The Prophet came easy. I wrote the flash piece and there it was. As soon as I named my villan, I knew I had it.

  5. jmcooper

    Absolutely, titles help us with our creative process. Just like making our own covers and trailers, which I personally love! Not all writers get into that, I’m sure, but for me it’s loads of fun.

  6. Stacy – I think Light and Dark fits perfect with the lights of Vegas above the underground tunnel world in your book. The Prophet – excellent title. Sounds like a villainous type!

    Jess – I love creating covers too. Want to get into making a trailer too…havent gotten there yet. Have you?

  7. I’ve also been fortunate. Both my titles were accepted as is. My favorite? “Frank, Incense and Muriel.” 😉

  8. Anne, how lucky you got to go with your titles – and what a fun one you posted here! Love it. thanks for sharing.

  9. I love coming up with titles, and wouldn’t want a publisher going anywhere near them. No one knows your work better than you do, and titles are so personal no one else should be qualified to touch them. Glad I swore off submissions and decided on the indie route. I’ve already met some terrific people and some high quality writers that have kept my eReader stocked without breaking my bank.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I am always interested to hear success with Indie authors, something I am considering myself. Would love to hear more about your work and experience with Indie.

  10. I have a trailer for REM on my blog: http://rem-jmcooper.blogspot.com/2011/03/rem-book-trailer.html

    It was fun to make. I don’t claim any level of accomplishment in making it, that’s for sure, but I loved doing it!

  11. Jess, love your trailer – especially as I know the book! What fun to have made…you inspire me to create one too!

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