Friday, June 13, 2008

It's all in the Title

Nothing quites spurs my creativity like a trip to my local library. Just seeing shelf after shelf of books, untapped minefields of potential discovery, magic, and yes, disappointment, is enough to get me fantasizing about all the books lurking inside me. Lurking inside each of us, really.

The real creativity kicks in once I start pulling titles off the shelf. I often marvel at the genius behind some of the titles on these books. How did the writer or marketing department inside the publishing house or whoever, choose those two words that would make me want to know more? It's an art each writer needs to learn.

I am very impressed by writers who consistently come up with intriguing titles that are a perfect fit for the book. Titles are usually the hardest part for me. Sometimes I come up with a wonderful title and file it away, waiting for the book to present itself years later. With other books, the title comes pretty easily. RE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DARCY CARTER. I think I had that title worked out before writing the first word. Other titles come during the course of writing the book. A word or a phrase inside the story reveals itself, letting me know where my title lies. RE: A TENDER REED and EVIDENCE OF GRACE.

The there are stories where the title is elusive and contrary, like in the case of my current work in progress. I am in the editing and polishing stages, looking forward to sending it off by the end of the month and I still don't have a title. Barely even a theme for a title. I'm thinking of sending it in untitled, but I hate to do that. Someone inside the publishing house might come up with a title that doesn't suit my vision at all.

Song titles and lyrics are usually a goldmine of possibilities, especially the old hymns. I guess I'll go online in a few days to search through those for that elusive title. Something that will make a potential reader yank the book off the shelf in anticipation.

If you have any suggestions or methods that work for you, let me know. Even after all these years, it's an art that continues to elude me.

Happy Hunting.

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