“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
~Juliet/Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
When do you choose the title for your fiction? Does it come first and then you build the story around the words on the cover? Does it come to you partway through what you’re writing? Do you sometimes find yourself worrying that title to death? According to Juliet, a rose is a rose no matter what it’s called. But when it comes to the title of your book, you have a handful of words to capture someone’s interest. Frankly, if someone had named a rose “crap,” I’m not sure I’d be as inclined to press my nose into those pretty petals and inhale deeply.
The title of the book has to be engaging, informative, and, ah…original? But…there are only so many “pretty” words out there! I’m lucky to have a writing partner who is a title genius. So even on the things we do NOT co-author, I can go to her and hit the button for automatic title generator and soon out pops the perfect title. For my October 2011 release, Heartsent, which is about a surprise miracle, I wanted a title that would fit in with my Heart Stories – which is a series I’m constructing that may or may not have related characters but always there will be love and some sort of miraculous type occurrence. Heartsight is about a blind man who “saw” a young mother and her mentally challenged child a little differently. I wanted a title that would tell in one word what the book was about – something that the readers would “get” once they got into the story. I originally had Heartcries – thinking heart, sadness, baby. And that would have been just as descriptive. But something didn’t feel quite ritht. Bbecause the baby comes to this girl in a particularly special way and at a special time, my writing partner, Kim Bowman, said “It’s like the baby was sent…Heartsight…Heartsent.” As soon as she said this, I knew that was the title.
Other titles have come to us in different ways. Now, finding the perfect title that’s original and not cliche has become a challenge for many since we can’t all write Pride and Prejudice or the next Old Man and the Sea. Once a title is taken, is it fair to write your own story and use the same title? Do you really want to? So how do YOU choose the titles for your books?