Friday, July 30, 2010

My Name Is...um, Can I get back to you on that?

What's in a title? Would a book by any other name smell--er--read as sweet?

I don't want to go into whether a title draws your attention today - I'd like to discuss the magic that takes place waaaay before that.

More specifically, the title of your work, and when/how you arrive there.

Today I was thinking about what I would call my book, but nothing sounds right, and I think it's because for me, it's not finished.

I, for one, have never titled my work before I've started writing. I always wait until the end, and then give my story its name. (I even do that with my blog posts!) I don't know why it's like that--it's just always worked for me.

I know some authors can't write a single word until they've formulated their title, and that works too. To each his/her own :)

When I've finished writing, sometimes the name just comes to me, sometimes I play around with a few, but the one I like the best--when it's right, I just somehow know. (I know sometimes Agents/Publishers suggest different titles based on marketability, but we all have to start somewhere).

What do you do? Do you title your work before or after you start writing? What helps you to determine your title?

p.s. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

34 comments:

Melissa said...

Umm, I'd say it hits me somewhere in the middle. But titles in general don't help or hinder my writing process at all. Maybe thats just me but I dont feel like they influence the story.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Sorry, had a comment disaster above. lol

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...
Arghhhh titles. Sometimes they come to me straight away, othertimes I feel like I'm pulling out my hair.lol. For the new wip I named it one thing then changed it as I wrote. The new one sounded better.
I'll probably change it again once I've written the whole draft. :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

The title usually pops into my head when I turn my thoughts to it. Sometimes I think about it right away, and I have a titled work from the get-go. Other times, I'm ready to post my work in my online portfolio and I realize I haven't titled it yet. I don't think I've ever changed a title. The first one is usually the right one.

Happy weekend to you, too!

Justine Dell said...

I title it before I start. OCD...lol. I've used a play on words, the book theme, a song title that said everything. All of my title have thus far come from random places, and I didn't struggle with them. I'm not looking forward to the day I do. ;-)

~JD

Janet Johnson said...

I chose my title at the end, but I'm not totally set on it. And even that was hard to come to.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm working on a sequel to my book and at the moment no title has struck me. However, I envisioned CassaStar long before I ever began writing. The title and the two main characters are all that really stuck from my original idea, too.

Mesmerix said...

Title generally comes along with story concept for me. It's one of the first things I put down.

Some of my titles I absolutely love. However, I try very hard not to become too attached because I know a publisher/agent may want to change it, and I don't want to be a difficult writer to work with.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I have a hard time coming up with titles. I always hope that by the time I'm done, the perfect one will come to me.

However, I always give my manuscripts a working title. Not sure why I need to do this but perhaps it's a constant reminder to keep my mind open for something better.

Melissa Gill said...

It depends on the book. The first book I wrote had a working title, that I knew wouldn't stick, but I needed some way to save it. I'm not good with number, so I have to have some word to stand in. My recent WIP, Zombie Rabbit, is pretty obvious because that's what it's about. I get a lot of reaction to the title, so I hope it will stay, but I'm not married to any title.

But I think you're right, sometimes the right title doesn't come out until the end.

Jemi Fraser said...

For me titles either just pop into existence or they're the hardest things in the world to find. It's never in the middle.

Vanessa Di Gregorio said...

For me, it depends. For some, the title comes first and sparks a story. But most of the time, I stuggle with titles. My current WIP is still titled "story.doc"! I just can't think of anything suitable for it. It's also not finished yet, so I'm trying not to worry about it; I'm sure, over time, something will come to me.

Lua said...

Since I’m a big fan of outlining, before I start to actually write the book, I like having a title and calling my WIP by the name :) The title usually changes once the book is finished (and sometimes once again after the revision) but that’s not very important, I guess it’s that having a title makes it more personal…

Nathalie said...

I've gone both ways. Sometimes, a title just comes to me, others, I have to soul search. My one WIP was titled "Hot Guy Trips" for about four months before I came up with a good substitute. I eventually settled on "Halo". See how the two connect? LOL

The Red Angel said...

Very interesting way to start this post! :D I'm one of those people who like to title a work beforehand, I just don't feel right if I start writing without a title in mind. In some ways, the title ends up guiding me as I write. :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm thinking about renaming my fantasy YA novel before I send out more queries. Having the perfect title is so important but it's so hard to pick sometimes.

Kenda said...

I always figure my title is simply a working title,with hopes that a line--that one special line--comes to me in an "aha" writing moment that inspires the real title. It's fun to be on the lookout :-)

Angie said...

It's kind of like naming a baby. Some people wait until the baby is born before they pick out a name. I have to pick out a name practically before I even conceive the baby. But I don't always do that with titles. Often I do, but I've also had many where I waited until the middle or end of the story before I thought of something. (I write short stories, so I've come up with LOTS of titles over the years.)

Talli Roland said...

I try to come up with ideas beforehand, because it helps narrow my thoughts onto the real concept of the novel. Easier said than done!

The Words Crafter said...

Funny you wondered about this. I get ideas for books all the time. Then, I think up some really awesome titles for them. Soon after, the whole idea just kind of melts away....

This time, my first attempt to actually put into writing the story that's lived inside my head for more than a year now, I cannot think of a single title. Not one....strange, ya think?

Amanda Sablan said...

You know, I don't even remember when I titled my book, before or after I had already started. /:

Anyway, I love coming up with titles! It's so much fun, which is why I have chapter titles too. For those, I just think of something quirky that goes along with the events of the chapter, but for my book itself, the title is one of the themes.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've always gotten the name - BOOM - right in the very beginning. Sometimes along with the first line. But since you read my last blog, you know that a member of my critique group preferred another name that came up in one of the chapters. Now the manuscript has a new name.

I hope you find just the right name soon.

Sandra Cox said...

I know the title shouldn't be a huge issue while you're working your wip, but I worry it like a bone till I get it figured out.

Terri Tiffany said...

I start with a working title and then it changes as I go:) I know if it ever gets published they will change it but it gives me something to call it by.

Lynda Young said...

Sometimes I have a title at the beginning and sometimes I don't. Usually by about a third of the waythrough my WIP I'm solid on a title. Although if things change, I'm more than happy to revise it.

W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

... and that's all said...

The title comes after my thoughts are entitled to be composed.

Jan Markley said...

I'm pretty good with titles (like to use the word 'dead' in them). But I have one wip which remains untitled ...

Christina Lee said...

I've done it both ways. I do feel settled if I have my title and names in place though!

Belle said...

I am just terrible at coming up with titles, so I need them to come to me by magic, which usually doesn't happen until I'm in the editing stage. In the meantime, all my WIPs get called by their MC's first names. Which can lead to some confusion - one recent MC is named Nantucket (Nan for short) and everyone thinks the novel is about Nantucket Island when it's actually a murder mystery with a paranormal twist :)

Sarah Callejo said...

I do the same as you, always after writing the contents, but I find it very difficult to choose the right one.

MT said...

Sometimes I come up with a title that inspires a story, but by the time I'm done with the story, the title may change. ;)
Have a great week!

notesfromnadir said...

It's different for every writer, of course. You'll know it when you hear it in your head, or maybe some1 will speak it, or you'll just see it. That's always a great feeling when you get handed that title.

Amie B said...

thanks for stopping by my blog and entering my contest!

this is a really great topic - and for me it varies. sometimes the book is inspired just by the title alone. other times the concept comes first and the title later. but in either case, when it's right, it's right and i just know it.

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