We've got N up for grabs in today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:
Naming Your Novel
So you've finally finished the last line of your manuscript. It's maybe even been through a dozen or so re-writes. Your critique partners have scoured over it - and your beta readers love it. But...what did you end up naming it?
For some, the name just comes, as they write. For others, maybe it's at the end, when all is said and done. But for many, finding the perfect name isn't as easy as it would seem. In fact, it may have been easier to write those 80,000 words that make up your manuscript - but the few simple ones that will adorn the cover? Yeah, not so much.
Why is a title that big a deal?
A title is everything! It’s the first thing a potential reader sees - it's what will either catch an agent or editor’s attention or send all your hard work straight to the trash can. Just as your name represents you, the title of your book must be representative of your novel.
I've determined that titles can be separated into three groups: The good, the okay, and the not-so-good…
The first is the good: These are the titles that catch your attention right off the bat. They make a reader pick up the book, scan the front, turn it over and read the back...and ultimately, move on to the cash registers, with said book in hand. Examples: The Hunger Games, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Lovely Bones.
The okay: These titles have a 50/50 chance of getting the attention of a reader - but that might only be because they had a great image on the cover, or maybe an impressive quote from the New York Times (or another reputable author). Examples: Twilight, Shiver, and Hourglass.
Then the not-so-good: Oy vey. If you didn't know a stitch about these books - hadn't heard any buzz what-so-ever...chances are, you'd walk right on by. Examples: The Road, Fallen, and Passion.
So...how do you come up with a name?
It's all about being creative.
Here are several tips that I use, when naming my novel:
Ah, my favorite: make a list:
1. List out all the names of your main characters.
2. Add all the major places in your book - school names, places of employment, locations.
3. Do you have any special talismans/objects that play a specific or important role? (for example: The Sorcerer's Stone)
4. Does your book contain any unique creatures, animals, or beings?
What is your story about?
1. What is the plot of your book?
2. Do you take your reader on a journey - and if so, to where?
3. Does your book relate to a current event or a trend?
When all else fails, turn to Google:
1. Search for pictures that represent your characters, your plot, maybe the school in your story - anything that represents aspects of your book. This is a favorite for me - and something I do from the very beginning of writing a story (and yes, I keep a spreadsheet of all my pics, so I can reference them later).
2. When you think of what other books your's would sit next to in the book store, what are their titles? This might get the creative wheels turning - but just make sure your title isn’t too close to another book already published!
Be creative and have some fun:
1. Pick out words that are unique to your manuscript - is there something there that can be played off of?
2. Use humor to help grab the attention your book deserves!
3. But don't forget - make sure your title is original. Don't be too quirky - but do pick something that's catchy.
Here are a few great articles I've found to help aid in finding a creative title for your story:
Writer's Digest posted a great article on the 7 Tips to Land the Perfect Title for Your Novel.
Absolute Write also posted a decent article, A Title for My Novel.
What's in a Name? Everything. So tell me, how did you come up with your title?
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