Book title inspiration!

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress

Book title inspiration!

Postby karenbb » 20 May 2010, 15:10

I swear that finding the title of my book is going to kill me...the thing is written, I've done seven top-to-bottom revisions and now I'm getting feedback from a wider pool of beta readers. But, the title I have right now is the most generic title ever, like it could be the new Katherine Heigl/Jennifer Aniston/Kate Hudson vehicle or even worse, a Lifetime movie. I will share it and cower in the corner..."Bring Me Back".

It's a line from the Plimsouls song "Million Miles Away":
I'm at the wrong end of the looking glass
Trying to hold on to the hands of the past and you
And there's nothing left to bring me back


Much of what happens in the book has roots in the 80s and there are a lot of relationships that it fits--my MC still isn't over her mother's death 17 years ago, she's in love with this guy that she's been obsessed with for half of her adult life, her daughter is going to go off to college in a year and she's a single mom.

So if the lyrical reference isn't going to work, any other ideas? I have tried brainstorming and writing down random words that come to mind and trying to put them together but that's apparently how they do it at the Lifetime channel too. I tried Wordle, hoping that would give me some great, catchy, unconventional grouping of words but no luck ("Hey Something Happened"? "Got Amazing Face"? or my favorite, "Suck Finger Everybody"). Any bright ideas? Anybody?
User avatar
karenbb
 
Posts: 66
Joined: 01 May 2010, 13:21
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby dios4vida » 20 May 2010, 16:54

I write fantasy which tends to be a bit easier to name (at least, in my opinion), but I'll share anyways. I got my WIP's title from a quote that I created specifically for the book. This quote is from an ancient religion, and I used it a few times in the story to describe my MC and later on as a clue for him to discover what he's looking for. It works so well because it's an intriguing phrase that makes so much sense once you're inside the story and endears itself to my MC.

Is there a phrase that a character uses that sums up some of the emotions you want to convey? You know, does she send off her daughter with a touching, unique expression of love, or does she pine for her high school love by writing poetry or something that contains all her love for him? Things like that tend to make memorable, touching titles.

That's the only advice I have to give. I don't know if it will help, but I hope it at least gives you a place to start.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
User avatar
dios4vida
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: 22 Feb 2010, 14:08
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby beacon22 » 20 May 2010, 17:17

What if you took a more unique phrase from the song like....Nothing Left to Bring Me Back or Hold on to the Hands of the Past.

I took a line from my book to help develop my title (kind of like what dios4vida said).

You could look at a theme from the book too and create something from that.
Come on over to my blog and lurk a little!

http://www.freckle-head.blogspot.com
beacon22
 
Posts: 54
Joined: 15 Jan 2010, 07:11

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby polymath » 20 May 2010, 17:44

I've noticed titles tend to be analogous to the narratives they entitle. Thematically relevant, character, setting, idea, event, dilemma, and message. Typically one or another is the primary focus of the novel. They're best when they begin introducing tension development.

The Old Man and the Sea, character, setting, theme: man and nature.
Dune, setting.
Valley of the Dolls, situation emphasis setting, dolls are slang for pills.
Twilight, setting.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, character, setting, and event.
Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, character, setting, event, and tension.
The Corrections, idea, event.
The Sum of All Fears, idea, dilemma, event, theme, message, tension.
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, character.
Catcher in the Rye, character, event.

"Bring Me Back" suggests character, first person narrator, and nostalgia, and from nostalgia possible idea, dilemma, event, theme and message, and tension development in what seems at first glance three simple words. It's good, in my opinion.
Spread the love of written word.
User avatar
polymath
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 09:22
Location: Babel

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby Robin » 20 May 2010, 19:20

Karen,

From what you wrote, the first thing that came to my mind was some sort of resurrection. Here are some ideas:
The Resurrection of Jane Doe (dont know your mc's name)
Resurrecting Jane
Robin
"A glass slipper is only a shoe. Dreamers who only dream never have their dreams come true."

http://www.RobynLucas.com/
User avatar
Robin
 
Posts: 315
Joined: 08 Apr 2010, 18:09
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby J. T. SHEA » 20 May 2010, 19:46

SUCK FINGER EVERYBODY would be my favorite too, but it might send the wrong message! Beacon22's ideas sound good. How about just HANDS OF THE PAST? Or MILLION MILES AWAY? But BRING ME BACK is not too generic, in my opinion, and what's wrong with sounding like a movie?
User avatar
J. T. SHEA
 
Posts: 449
Joined: 20 May 2010, 10:55

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby GeeGee55 » 20 May 2010, 20:44

I have a terrible time putting a name to my short stories and to my novel. A more seasoned writer suggested that a possible title could be found by identifying something symbolic in the work and then playing with that to come up with something fitting. Or not. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - not exactly a real grabber, not symbolic, but once you read the book it seems exactly right. When it's right, you will know it. I wrote my novel for a couple of years without knowing the title, and people told me You MUST know, but I didn't. When it finally came, it was right and I've never wavered from it.
GeeGee55
 
Posts: 173
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 21:01

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby Mira » 20 May 2010, 21:18

Hmmm. I think it's good to respect your unconscious. If it wants 'Bring me back', then that's important.

Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with 'Bring me back'. Sounds okay to me.

It puts the title in first person, though, which is unusual, but maybe it works.

If you really don't like the phrase, is there another way to capture what you're trying to say?

Letting go of.....

Finding.....

Starting.....

You might try some synonmysmsnsns (sometimes it just bugs me that I can't spell) - you know those words that mean the same or simliar things, and see if one feels better for you.

Don't forget - if you go through traditional publishing, they'll have the final say on your title anyway. But - for now - if the book's name is 'Bring me back', then that's the book's name.

Is it? Does it feel right? Does it click?
User avatar
Mira
 
Posts: 1354
Joined: 07 Dec 2009, 07:59

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby karenbb » 21 May 2010, 05:07

Thanks to everyone for the input. I appreciate the suggestions of new ways to come up with a possible title but also your thoughts on the current one. It helped me analyze what was really bothering me (now it's like we're all on Dr. Phil) and I think I was worried that my title wasn't sexy enough. Time to be a big girl and recognize that it's more important to have a title with meaning for my MC, especially since the book is so deeply personal from her point of view. I think I'm going to play around with some of the suggestions and see if I find something else but otherwise be happy with the fact that I found a title that works.
User avatar
karenbb
 
Posts: 66
Joined: 01 May 2010, 13:21
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby Quill » 21 May 2010, 07:45

From what I have heard, the publisher will select a title, ultimately. It may be the one you picked, it may be something they feel is more accurate or more marketable. So, unless you are self-publishing, probably no need to really sweat it.
User avatar
Quill
 
Posts: 1058
Joined: 17 Mar 2010, 18:20
Location: Arizona

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby bronwyn1 » 21 May 2010, 08:19

Quill wrote:From what I have heard, the publisher will select a title, ultimately. It may be the one you picked, it may be something they feel is more accurate or more marketable. So, unless you are self-publishing, probably no need to really sweat it.

I've heard this too. And this is good for me, because I am terrible at making up titles.
bronwyn1
 
Posts: 82
Joined: 07 Mar 2010, 16:38

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby dios4vida » 21 May 2010, 09:20

karenbb wrote:I think I'm going to play around with some of the suggestions and see if I find something else but otherwise be happy with the fact that I found a title that works.


Let us what you decide to do - if you keep Bring Me Back or come up with something new!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
User avatar
dios4vida
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: 22 Feb 2010, 14:08
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby pdr » 22 May 2010, 10:03

From all the discussion, I like "Million Miles Away." It has a little alliteration, and suggests at a complex level what the problem is: MC is a million miles away from her past, or needs to be a million miles away, or is a million miles away from where she needs to be.

Paul
pdr
 
Posts: 5
Joined: 22 May 2010, 09:59

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby karenbb » 22 May 2010, 16:06

Paul,

I considered Million Miles Away but had concerns that it might have a fantasy or science fiction connotation. Maybe that's just me...sort of like "In a Galaxy Far, Far Away..."
User avatar
karenbb
 
Posts: 66
Joined: 01 May 2010, 13:21
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Book title inspiration!

Postby izanobu » 23 May 2010, 16:11

I also like A Million Miles Away. I don't think it has sci/fi connotations (it could, sure...), it sounds quite figurative, not literal to me. Titles can be tough, but the good side is that a working title is rarely the title a book keeps when sold :)
izanobu
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 08 May 2010, 01:11

Next

Return to All Things Writing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron