Learning To Write: Finding A Title
From Failure To Success
I didn’t realize how difficult it was to find a title to a novel until I read about some history about the problem. Many famous works that fill the shelves of libraries, colleges, and private homes would not be recognizable today under their original or previous moniker. Some examples are as follows:
- Gone With The Wind …….Tomorrow Is Another Day
- To Kill A Mockingbird…….Atticus
- The Sun Also Rises….. …..Fiesta
- War And Peace…………….All’s Well That Ends Well
- Of Mice And Men…………..Something That Happened
- All The Presidents Men….At This Point In Time
- The Great Gatsby………….Among Ash-Heaps And Millionaires
If you really want a laugh, how about the title “Jaws” sitting on a bookshelf with the words “What’s Noshin’ On My Laig” emblazoned across the book cover? I admit that I haven’t done a full investigation of this, but it still sounds funny when you think about it.
I did a random research on the internet on what to provide in a title if you want any measure of success. Some of the rules that I found include the following:
- Keep the title short and easy easy to read (5 words or less)
- Make it memorable and easy to remember
- Keep it simple within a basic concept that conveys meaning
- Make it describe your story and add some intrigue
- Give it lasting appeal
- Allude to the books genre and attract the desired audience
- Provide a preview or hint to the context of your story
- Compliment your cover art
This list presents multiple challenges. And those issues are difficult to address. The author for Gone With The Wind had to approach 38 different publishers before she got one to accept her novel. “Tomorrow Is Another Day” sounds good to me, but not to all those who rejected that particular choice.
I find the initial problem to be the identification of the traits of your protagonist (main character), the overall thrust of your story, and the key element that conveys interest to the potential reader. I have tried to create a drafting name for my manuscript to keep things flowing, but I change it periodically to reflect my current ideas about the flow of the story each time I do a major edit.
I created a former Navy Seal Soldier who both ‘experiences’ and ‘causes’ catastrophic events to occur. I want the title to have either the word “Soldier” or ” Man” in the wording. The adjective that best describes said main character is where I am testing different words to fit is still missing.
I am in the process of doing one final massive, all-encompassing, and somewhat frustrating super-edit with the grammar editing software that I noted in my first Learning To Write article called ProWritingAid. I used the free version to start, but have since purchased their “InfoStack” promotional offering which included massive training resources for writers and 1 full year of their Premium version for $49.
What this means is that I now have more tools available for a full edit and help to draw me closer to an acceptable title for my novel. This article will not discuss the details of what is involved in a full scale extensive premium edit. That is for the next blog.
Since this blog, and others like it, fall under the category of “On Building My Website”, I may have to create a new category called “Learning To Write” or “My Writers Newbie Corner”. Since everything I do in this arena is evolving and will continue to do so, no blog will be an end in itself.
These are my experiences and I am sharing them with my readers. If you thing I am biting off more than I can chew, you are right. I am, but I don’t care. It’s what I do. I write, work on my house, and fix meals for my wife who broke her arm on Father’s Day weekend.
So I blog to share what I learn as a writer along with the other things I do. There is not enough time in the day, so everything takes longer. It’s better than sitting around doing nothing, sitting on the back porch in a rocker all day, or polluting my mind with endless bobs of fake news on TV.
I hope all of you readers continue to benefit from what I provide on this website. It’s what I live for and I appreciate every comment posted, whether it be positive or negative. And I try to respond when I can. So until the next time, arrivederci!