As you may have noticed, I don’t even have a working title yet for my NaNoWriMo novel. Titles are not my strong suit. I hate coming up with titles. How else can I say this? Inventing titles for my books is harder for me than writing a book.
So much hinges on a title, for one thing. It’s the first impression a critiquer, editor, agent, or reader gets of your book. It’s your first chance at getting in a narrative hook and getting people interested. It’s like deciding what to wear to your job interview – you want it to represent you and your work, but you also want it to have some pizzazz and professionalism. Job interviews aren’t my forte, either.
Nevertheless, titles are a necessary evil of writing – if for no other reason than that you need to call your book something while you’re talking to your friends and relatives and writer’s groups about it, especially if you have more than one book. Or, you know, if you’re a poet and don’t want to call all your poems “untitled”, thus confusing everyone, including yourself, on a regular basis.
Sometime I may try the dart board method of naming a book – just pin random words to a corkboard, throw a couple darts (preferably in a not entirely sober state), and name the book whatever gets hit. Until I have a corkboard, darts, and booze at my immediate disposal, however, I have to try other methods.
In instances of successful titling, I’ve written out lists of brainstormed title ideas and agonized over which one to use until finally I decided I liked one best. Or, in the case of The Life and Death (But Mostly the Death) of Erica Flynn, I used what was originally the title for the first chapter (chapter titles don’t scare me so much, so they’re easy to think of (go figure)) and pilfered it for the book title. Then I renamed the first chapter. Song lyrics are a good go-to for phrases that may or may not be made into good titles, although be careful about copyright issues on that.
And really, why am I posting advice on this? I suck at this. Why don’t you guys give me some advice? Because I can’t for the life of me think of a decent working title for my upcoming NaNo novel. Right now it’s Book One of The Trilogy. Yep. That’s some creative titling work right there.
Clearly, this is weighing on my mind.