Titles

It’s a little like the whole chicken and egg thing… does the title come before the book or the book come before the title?

What I mean is… do you generally have a working title in mind before you start writing a story? I know if I’m ever lucky enough to get published, the editors will almost definitely choose the title, but I’ve found with most of my wips, a strong title (which reflects the book) has come to me before I’ve even started writing.
Examples:
1) The Divorce Coordinator – a story that will NEVER see the light of day.
2) For Love or Ratings – this was actually an exception as this story started its life as ”Farmer Finds a Wife.”
3) Falling For His Magic
4) No Business Like Show Business
5) The Who’s Who of Matt McKinnell
All these above titles said something HUGE about the book for ME. But in the last week or so, I’ve been trying to plan the next wip and found titles a little elusive. I had two vague ideas and then FINALLY a title came to me for the second of them. Since then, I’ve been scribbling furiously about this idea but the title for the first idea still eludes me and it seems without a title, I’m unable to delve very deep into the idea.
Does this happen for any of you or are you one of those people who titles hold little significance for? Would love to hear your thoughts….
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5 thoughts on “Titles

  1. Rach, your titles are original and evocative (esp. number 5) and am very envious. I can’t think up titles at all. I usually find myself scraping the barrel (at the eleventh hr in the MH competition case) and then cringing every time I have to read it.

  2. Lol, Lucy!! I too am hopeless with titles. I can never think of them. I tend to call my WIPs by the name of the heroine. The only decent one I had was my MH competition entry – thank God because everyone read that. I like yours, Rach. These days I go for the joke title because that's all I can think of. My current WIP is It Started With a Panic Attack. And another one I have is called Old Coot, because it has an old coot in it. The one I'm revising at the moment is called The Electric Millionaire (which I hate) because it was orginally The Electric Millionaire's Nerdy Girlfriend and I could not submit it to M&B with that kind of title… 🙂

  3. Hmm, my comment just got eaten. Hopefully this doesn’t show up twice! Rach, your titles seem to be great reflections of your theme or the essence of your story. Maybe this is why you have trouble writing before you have nailed the title – without the title you still haven’t sorted out in your head the heart of your story? I’m like Jackie – my titles are more a description of the story events and are really just to remind me which book it is! So I can easily write the whole book before I make up some dumb title. Funny how we all have our different ways of doing this!

  4. Hi Rach,I have a working title, but find the title does change. My titles usually reflect my novels. But it is up to the editor in the end if she likes it or not, or it is a marketable title. It’s good to have at least three titles upon submitting.Cheers,Suz 🙂

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