Monday, August 13, 2007

The Perfect Title

Some titles are perfect. They stay with us forever. We can remember when we watched the movie or read the book. Even if the plot eludes us over time, we always remember a great title. GONE WITH THE WIND. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. THE YEARLING. Nothing else needs to be said.

I love titles taken from scripture like THE SUN ALSO RISES or from song titles or lyrics like LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART or STREAMS OF MERCY.

But how does a writer find the perfect title that teases the reader into picking up the book and not setting it down until they've reached the last page? What's the process?

Humorous titles are always a good bet. DEATH OF A GARAGE SALE NEWBIE by SHARON DUNN just begs to be read. Familiar titles like FOUR TO SCORE or LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN of the Stefanie Plum series by JANET EVONAVICH are impossible to mix up with anything else.

I am particularly fond of one word titles. ROBIN COOK is a master at these. Who could forget COMA or CRITICAL. This isn't always an accurate depiction of the storyline. I recently read SHOCK by Mr. COOK and the title had nothing to do with the book. It was a medical thriller as I'm sure you deduced. And it was shocking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone. But I kept wondering when someone would go into SHOCK. It never came up. I was a tad disappointed in whoever named the book, but it was still fantastic.

I'm getting off track here. I'm supposed to be figuring out where great titles come from. You see, I just sent in my latest work to my publisher. This story will be included in a compilation with romance writer Molly Noble Bull. The stories share a common theme and will enhance one another. The only problem is, the title must do the same.

Everyone at TsabaHouse is brainstorming tonight to come up with ideas that let the reading public know what they're getting in two words of less. No easy feat. Especially when you have several creative people with their own ideas of the message to convey throwing their two cents in on the issue.

Hopefully this still untitled book will be available in a bookstore near you next summer. You are in for a treat, dear reader. Let's just hope by then we have settled on a suitable, and more importantly, a memorable title.

I'll keep you posted.


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