Saturday, September 15, 2012

This is Where the Title Goes

I love titles.

I love titles and summaries, to be exact. People allllways tell me: "Don't title or summarize your book before you write it!" But where's the fun in that? I mean, if you're good at it why wouldn't you make your title and pitch first? Because honestly, writing them makes me feel like it's already a book.

Titles are so hard to get right though. I mean, there are those that feel like they could change the world, those that are silly and let you know it'll be funny. Titles can portray what sort of book it will be-- scary or funny or inspiring or a combination of feelings. Titles stick with you, too. Like, am I ever going to forget "The Fault in Our Stars" or "If I Stay"? Will I forget "The Probability of Miracles" or "13 Reasons Why"? (Hint: This is a trick question.) Of course not! That's the point of a title-- fitting a book so you'll never forget it, even if you forget what actually happens in the book. God forbid.

It's very easy for me to come up with titles. I dunno why that is, but summarizing and titling come natural to me. When ideas pop into my head I need to put them down on paper (or in docs, as the case may be), and the words just kinda... write themselves.

Okay, that sounds silly, but I'm having a bit of a writer's block at the moment. Forgive this rambling post of randomness.

Back to relevance: It took me ETERNITY to come up with the title for Death and Other Things I Fail At. Seriously-- I was sitting in class one day and the title just popped into my head. And it was just perfect! Because it gives hints as to what the book's about-- a girl who dies, but sort of doesn't at the same time-- and it's ironic, since technically she did die, but since she didn't apparently she fails at death. Not to mention it's humorous, and it shows that the MC is a teenager (because what adult would say "Yeah, I fail at dying"?), and female for that matter.

Oddly enough, that title came after I came up with the idea for the book. It's usually the other way around. I wrote a sonnet once for school with the lines: "Rage to blood on pearl and lace/Way to kill the human race", which then spurred this crazy book plot about a girl who grew up after zombies had more or less taken over the world and was used to them. So really, the title came first with Way to Kill, as well as Oops.

The Lucky One was a little tricky. At first it was called Harm's Way, and it was actually about a man whose knack for almost dying on a daily basis was softened by the fact that a guardian angel always saves him-- a mysterious woman who shows up, stops whatever it is trying to kill him, and then disappears without a trace. I'm not sure how that plot evolved to the point of going from Adult Thriller to YA Urban Fantasy/Supernatural, or that it needed a completely new title, but it did. I'm saving Harm's Way for when I actually am an adult and can understand how adult stuff works. :P

Of course, changing the title to The Lucky One was fine up until I learned there already was a book by the same name, written by Nicholas Sparks, no less. And then it was made into a movie. Yeah, I'm still a bit bitter about that. What can I say? I feel slightly cheated. That almost forced me into changing TLO back into HW, but I decided it wasn't worth it. Harm's Way is a future project, and The Lucky One fit.

I like titling things, complicated or not. Titles give a book purpose, make it memorable. And summaries, well-- they keep my ideas together. I dunno why they come so naturally to me. They just do. :P

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite titles? Have issues creating pitches and summaries?

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