Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why's the Title the Hardest Part?

You know what sucks? Titles. No matter what, the title I pick for a novel once I complete it never seems to work. I read other books with titles that seem perfect and wonder why it has to be so difficult for me to chose one. When I first started writing seriously (middle school, as you'll recall, or not...very few people read this blog, so...), I used to decide on a title right away and then attempt to craft a story to go along with it. This didn't seem to work very well, so I decided to flip the process, which would work fine if only I could figure out a decent title once I've gathered together 100,000 or so words. I don't have this problem with short stories. The titles come somewhat easily after I finish writing them, but naming a novel length project is like pulling an impacted wisdom tooth sans a local anesthetic. Not pleasant. Either the title that seems right is too damned long or it just feels forced. I can never come up with one of those catchy single word titles that seem to be super popular amongst every third writer nowadays. If I can't keep my novel south of 100k, there's no way in hell I can come up with a one word title to describe it. I just can't help but think that this shouldn't be so difficult. I just finished writing thousands of words. I of all people should be able to come up with a snappy, appropriate, awesome sounding title to describe the work I've just done. But damned if I can. I mean, I do. I have to. It's hard to write a query letter when your novel is title-less. But I rarely like the titles I choose. They have to grow on me, and that's a slow process. I do occasionally come up with a name easy-peasy, but the last time that happened, I did a quick scan of Amazon to see if another novel came up with that same moniker and there were two. Yes, not one, but TWO. Balls. So I high-stepped it back to the drawing board, eventually coming up with a name that isn't perfect but will do in a pinch.

Good news: the current WIP (hovering at an oh-so-lovely 61k) might not suffer from the same fate as every other novel length project I've ever written. I think I might already know the name. Shit. Probably just jinxed it.

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