Titles Are Tricky

“What should I call it?”  This is a common question students ask me.  I suppose asking is better than   titling it ‘Book Report’ or ‘Essay’ or ‘Poem.’  Think how awful it would be if you went into the library or your favorite bookstore and all the books were called ‘Book.’  (insert scream of horror here)  Your title is original.  It is yours.  And it should reflect the content of your piece.  If you are doing a book report on Hunger Games, for example, you cannot call your book report ‘Hunger Games’ because that is not your title.  You should not call it ‘Book Report on Hunger Games’ because that is deadly dull.  The next title students come up with is usually ‘Games of Hunger.’  I will accept that one, but it is pretty painful.  Instead, try titling your book report with something that reflects the theme or author’s message of the book.  How about: ‘Determination Beats Hunger?’

Recently, I attended the Big Sur Writing Conference.  It was a fabulously motivating experience, and I was very encouraged to continue working on my novels.  One thing everyone agreed on, though, was that my titles were terrible.  One agent said, “No boy is ever going to pick up a book called Love, Lies, and Longing.”  A publisher told me Wings, Waves, and Wisteria sounded like a romance title.  It was a revelation to me.  As soon as they said that, I realized they were right.  I was so caught up in the alliteration of the titles (they really do sound good) that I wasn’t paying attention to the marketing of the book.  People stand in bookstore aisles and scan titles.  I do not want my books skipped over because buyers think they are romances (they aren’t).

So I need a new title for Love, Lies, and Longing.  (no, I am not going to call it Book).  It’s a story where the main protagonists are a teen boy and a teen girl.  In order to reach her goal, she must stand up to her father and her best friend.  A goal has been set for him to become a Rider of the flying horses, but he is afraid of heights.  He must accept his fear and show he can have a meaningful life.  They do all this while saving the flying horses from a deadly illness, including relocating them to a new town.  Okay, that’s not the best synopsis, but you have theme, I think.

I want a title that is exciting and young.  Here is what has been suggested so far:

Soaring Wings, Flashing Hooves

On a Wing and a Dare

Equine Angels

What’s your suggestion?  Do you like one of these (as in would you pick it up to buy?) or do you have a better one?

On my Kindle: Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

10 responses to “Titles Are Tricky”

  1. How about “Wings Over Fear”?

    1. Hmmm that’s a possibility, Katherine. Thanks!

  2. I named my novel Ready Set, Magic because he is going on an adventure and it has magic in it.

    1. That’s good, Jelena. I like that title

  3. this might be a good title. “Tremirson’s Time of Despair”?

    1. Not bad, Jesse. What does everyone else think?

  4. How about, Tremirson’s Time to Shutter?

    1. I think that is a good title

  5. i think that’s a great way to think of a title. i never knew!

  6. When I read this post I was laughing like crazy, a book called `Book`. hahahahahahahaha

Leave a Reply

All my news and events are announced in the Paper Lantern Writers’ newsletter.

This site contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.