What’s In a Title?
The other day at a meeting with other writers, one NYT bestseller author said she couldn’t start her book until she thought up a title. Most likely the publisher would change the title before releasing it, but it helped guide the author in the feel of the story line.
I totally understood what she meant. Ninety percent of the time, I have a title for the book I’m writing even before the first word is written. My editor at Loveswept understands that. She even helped me decide which one to use, and when the first title had to change, we worked together for the new one along with the other Brothers of Mayhem titles.
Hidden Heat was originally Burnout, but another author had one coming out with the same name. To think of it, I don’t remember seeing the book afterwards, but my goodness, everyone and his brother has that title. So I’m happy with Hidden Heat. LOVED the double entendre, don’t you? If you don’t know what I mean, then you need to read the book.
If you’re wondering, how can a title affect a story? If you read the title, How to Flirt With A Vampire, would you think it’s a romantic suspense? No. More like a romantic comedy paranormal. What about As Far As The Eye Could See? That could easily be a contemporary romance or literary fiction. Any title with dark, deep, blood, shade, kill, and die, can be romantic suspense or paranormal.
Most titles can be interchangeable and easily forgettable, but a writer or publisher should never let it be misleading, like placing the title Purple People of Mars, and it be about a gunslinger in the late 1800’s American west. (Made me remember the movie, Cowboys and Aliens. Good, fun movie if you don’t let logic play a part.)
Like I said, titles are important to me when I write. Since I started using Scrivener to organize my work-in-progress, I’ve started giving each scene a title. I usually have two scenes per chapter (can be as many as four, but not as often), with one POV per scene. It helps me remember where I’m going with each scene. And if for any reason, I need to go back to a certain scene, it’s easier to find. Plus I love having fun with them. You should’ve seen Hidden Heat’s. I have to say they were hilarious and dirty.
Here’s an example from Naked Heat on the left.
For those who have taken my workshop, Save The Story, you will see I’ve used my beats for each chapter. Then the scenes are titled below it. You can almost tell what I’m about to write about. “Once more with a smile” should be easy to figure out considering I write HOT romantic suspense. HA!
So, for many authors, the book’s title is important. Although most readers never remember them, no matter how good the book. For that matter, the story is more important. Well, that and the author’s name. 🙂