LEARNING TO WRITE: THINKING OF A TITLE
From Failure To Success
I didn’t realize how difficult it was to find a title to a novel until I did a historical analysis of 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 Leg’ emblazoned across the book cover? I admit that I haven’t done a full investigation of this issue facing all writers, but these original titles seem totally uninspired and even hilarious in some ways when you think about it.
I did a random search on the internet to find out what you should 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 book’s genre and attract the desired audience.
- Provide a preview or hint to the context of your story.
- Compliment it with striking 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.
My Novel’s Challenge
I find the initial problem to be as follows:
- The identification of the traits of your protagonist (main character).
- The overall thrust of your story.
- The key element that conveys interest to the potential reader.
I tried to create a name for my manuscript during the initial rough drafting stage to keep things flowing. However, I kept changing it to reflect my current ideas about the flow of the story each time I did a major edit.
Since I created a former Navy Seal Soldier who both ‘experiences’ and ’causes’ catastrophic events to occur, I wanted the title to have either the word ‘Soldier’ or ‘Man’ in the wording. The adjective that best describes said main character is where I tested different words to fit my requirements, but my final choice remained illusive.
I then engaged with the process of doing one final massive, all-encompassing, and somewhat frustrating super edit with the help of the grammar editing software that I noted in my first Learning To Write article. The name of the program is 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 had more tools available for a full blown edit that helped 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 another 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 category or blog series 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. Maybe 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.
With that said, I write my unique articles 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, hanging out 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. I also try to respond when I can. So until the next time, Arrivederci!
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!