Monday, April 7, 2008

"Romancing the Stone" and Other Catchy Titles

Some authors dread writing a synopsis; some labor over the back-cover blurb. Me, I have an issue with book titles.

A title is like an interview suit. Right or wrong, someone's going to make a split second judgment based on that one thing. You don't want to have a coffee stain on your blouse or toilet paper stuck to your shoe. But I digress.

What would my ultimate title do? In a nutshell, it would...
- pique the readers' curiosity
- reflect my story's theme
- hint at my characters' personalities
- convey a Regency setting
- tie into the plot, somehow, AND
- be completely original.

Phew, that's a tall order for 2 or 3 words. Frankly, I'd be ecstatic if I accomplished two or three of the above items.

My first manuscript is "Taking the Bait." I love that title. It ties into the fishing theme that I wove throughout the story, and it has a little innuendo to it. It's playful, and though it doesn't scream "Regency," I figured I could always address that aspect with some fantastic cover art (dream big, I always say!).

My second story is called "Midnight Promises." I'll admit this is a bit generic, but let me explain. See, my main character was jilted by her betrothed at her own engagement ball, precisely at midnight. And the hero of the story has a chance to recreate that awful scene, only with a happy ending. Also, "Midnight Promises" was really just supposed to be the working title. I slapped it on my manuscript before entering it in its first contest, and couldn't believe it actually finaled. After that, I was reluctant to change it - for superstitious reasons as much as anything else.

That brings me to my WIP. It’s saved on my laptop as “Phoebe’s Story.” Which is not entirely true, as it is actually Phoebe’s AND Rhys’ story. Also, I’m tired of calling it that. It needs an identity, even if it’s only another temporary one, so last night I began brainstorming for a proper title.

I scribbled some ideas on paper. Themes include finding one’s true self, learning to trust, risking all for love. Not much help. Fire plays a major role in the story, but any mention of fanning flames or burning embers seemed too …predictable. The heroine is a companion and the hero is a marquess, but neither started out that way. There could be something there.
Anyway, you get the idea.

Then, I thought of a title I really liked: “A Kiss to Remember.” There’s a pivotal scene in the story where Rhys experiences a flood of memories as he’s kissing Phoebe for the first time. It sounded classic and a little intriguing, no? I schlepped over to my laptop, went to Amazon, and searched for “A Kiss to Remember,” and guess what? It’s already taken -- a 2001 book by Teresa Medeiros. At least I was right – it was a good title!

So I went back to the paper and kept experimenting with variations of “kissing” titles, until I came up with… “The Kissable Companion.” I like it for now. I’m going to go with it. But before I get too attached to it, I’m going to go check whether “kissable” is a even a real word. Wish me luck.

No comments: