I’ve been thinking a lot about titles lately because it looks like I’m going to have to say goodbye to the original title of my YA novel, GOODBYE, CHARLIE. I’m totally cool with this and from what I’ve seen, changing the original title is pretty common. But what is surprising me more and more each passing hour is…HOW HARD TITLES ARE!
You would think that anyone who completes a manuscript (or writes more than a paragraph for that matter) would be able to come up with a title. I mean, how long are titles, really? Two, maybe five words? And yet, I can’t come up with a decent one to save my life! These days, possible titles are pretty much always on my mind—while I’m driving, while I’m eating, while I’m talking to someone. And besides my agent and editor, my sister and husband are on the case as well. I keep emailing myself ideas as I head into the grocery store or am in the pick up line at my kids’ school, afraid that I might forget what at the moment sounds GREAT only to read it later at home and realize how terribly horrific it really is. The other day as I was falling asleep, something came to mind and in a half stupor I asked my husband to email me the idea so I wouldn’t forget it. Pretty much on my mind all the time, and still, no dice.
But it’s suddenly hit me why. Yeah, titles are usually only two to five words, but those two to five words should sum up what it took 60-80 thousand words to write. Two to five words that should make someone stop in their tracks, pick up your book, and open it. Two to five words that somehow capture the very essence of your story. Two to five very important words.
No wonder I’m banging my head against the wall! But hey, maybe I can gather some inspiration by browsing the aisles of the bookstore or just by being reminded of some awesome book titles. Any memorable titles come to mind? What makes them memorable?