Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thoughts on... Titles
The title is often the first impression one gets for a given book. And as much as we tell ourselves not to make judgements based on first impressions, we just can't help it. And gosh darnit, I want to have a good title!
Recently my husband pointed me in the direction of a couple of blog posts about titles written by sci fi author Mike Flynn. Entitlement Part I Entitlement Part II In these posts not only does he give his thoughts on titles, but also the thoughts and favorites of several of his author friends. He lists a few properties that he thinks a title should have:
A title should catch your eye, causing you to pause and wonder.
A title should give some idea of where the narrative is heading or at least indicate that something interesting will be happening. Playing on metaphor and symbolism or invoking atmosphere are a good way to hint at what is to come without revealing too much.
You can also catch a reader's attention with a title that challenges him. Perhaps a title that works on multiple levels or one where the meaning only becomes apparent after reading the story. Though be careful not to tip over into pretentiousness.
A title can also attract readers by having a good beat or flow. Alliteration is often a fun way of accomplishing this.
I read those posts about two weeks ago and I guess subliminally they must have been working on me all this time since yesterday I managed to come up with a title for my current WIP. And I really like it. I'm calling it a working title for now, but I think it will probably end up as the finished title. Here it is:
The First Day
So what do you think? Does my title fulfill any of the above criteria? Does it sound intriguing to you? How do you find your titles? Is it difficult or easy for you?