Oh, For A Title…

Next to perfecting my query, coming up with a better title than TO OUR FUTURE is a big one for me. I thought summarizing the story into one sentence was hard, but now I need to do it with a title.

I did some brainstorming exercises yesterday to try to come up with some possibilities. By the end I was getting pretty silly. I thought I’d let it stew in my head and let my subconscious work on it for a day or two, but just now, when I turned off the TV after watching Castle, an alternate title for this blog post popped into my head: Oh Title Where Art Thou?

No, no, no! Stupid subconscious! Work on the title for my book. Argh!

Anyway, a full day’s gone by and not a peep from my creative juices for the book title. I finished the 3rd draft in the beginning of October and thought it would be good to take a break from it so that I could see it with fresh eyes when I got my betas’ feedback. But now I’m thinking I’ve been apart from it for too long and have lost the thread of it. So I think I’ll  reread it straight through over Thanksgiving break and see what might pop out at me for a title.

Are you also struggling with a title?

I know that some say you shouldn’t get too attached to a title, because the publisher might change it. But I’ve also read that agents can be drawn or repulsed by a title. If we can have a strong title to help sell it, why not, as long as we know it might change. Here’s some links I found that helped me brainstorm.

  • Agent Rachelle Gardner’s How To Title a Book
  • I love Katie Macalister‘s titles, so I added her name to my search parameters and came up with this post: Finding the Perfect Title
  • Someone on critiquecircle.com had a great brainstorming list, but since that’s password protected, I just googled and found the same list here. By the time I tried this though, my brain was pretty fried and I couldn’t come up with numerical much less ironical versions.

Titles need to set the tone

Besides all the other reasons why nailing the title is important, there’s also setting the expectation for the reader with the right tone. A quirky, fun title for a dark horror story would just not work.

My story is light and funny (mostly), and I’d like the title to reflect it. I’ve revised my query down to this so far:

Isabelle Rochon has met the man of her dreams.  There’s only one problem: he lives in a different century.  Talk about a long-distance relationship!

A modern American working at the British Museum, Isabelle just wants to know what it was like to live ‘back then.’  But not really. When a silver card case strands her in 1834, she must navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, find out how to get back, keep her origins a secret, and, oh, resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than to keep his distance from the strange Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he needs her to masquerade as his fiancée. A bargain is struck. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her mentally as well as physically. Now, nothing makes more sense than to make their engagement official. Except to his fiancée.

Isabelle must find the case, or she’ll be stuck in 1834 where they haven’t heard of toilet paper or women’s lib. The fact that she’s falling in love with Lord Montagu isn’t helping either. Staying would be the ultimate follow-the boyfriend move and she can’t go through that again.

TO OUR FUTURE is a 95,000 word novel featuring such historical figures as Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Fans of LOST IN AUSTEN will love the modern woman’s fish out of water foibles, while experiencing a more scientific and mechanical London. It is similar in tone to THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION, and Katie Macalister’s contemporary romances. It is a standalone novel with the potential to be a prequel in a series of steampunk romances.

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far, from the okay, to the bad, to the just plain silly:

  • A Viscount In Time
  • Man from Another Century (the literal approach, lol!)
  • A Kiss in Time
  • Soulmate in Time
  • Time for a Soulmate
  • Lord Drool-Worthy (that’s her nickname for him in the beginning)
  • Timeless
  • London Calling
  • Dang This Corset
  • Worlds Apart
  • My Historical Hunk
  • Sweet Adorkable You
  • To Love is to Embrace
  • Like Water for Corsets (I know, bad!)
  • Isabelle’s Excellent Adventure
  • The Once and Future Dork
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Time’s Embrace
  • Embracing Corsets
  • Ripping Breeches for Fun and Profit (this one was so silly I had to tweet it to some tweeps I knew would appreciate it)
How about you? How do you come up with your titles? Do you have your title before you even start writing, or do you struggle afterwards like me? Please God and all that is holy, do you have any ideas for me? :D Do you have any authors you love who have great titles?
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15 Comments

  1. Does Lord Montagu have a first name? If it’s Nicholas, I’ll give you one of my titles (which is just a title, not a story yet): Nick of Time. Seems to fit, really. :)

    Reply
  2. I’m afrraid I don’t have any help for you, but I’ll commiserate, since I’m equally bad at coming up with titles for my stories. My working title for my WIP about a woman with telekinesis, including the ability to stop bullets is… [hold your nose] Stopping Bullets. :-o LOL

    Reply
  3. I’m not the best at coming up with titles, though I’m pretty happy with the title for my first novel, “A Head For Assassination.”

    If the story is light-hearted, then something like “Embracing Corsets” or “Isabelle’s Excellent Adventure” would be quite fitting.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  4. Kitty

     /  November 22, 2011

    Great post – I’ll be checking out those links! I have no advice because this is a struggle for me, too. I tend to really like titles that are one word (Twilight, Mistborn, Fallen, Uglies, etc) but if you thought it was hard to summarize into just a few words – trying to find just one word to summarize… ugh!! Good luck to you!

    Reply
  5. I like Time’s Embrace, but it sounds kind of serious. Your story seems fun, so I’m not sure that would work…

    For me, titles jump into my head, then I make a story out of them.

    Reply
  6. Time for Love
    Time Bends
    Time Flies; when you’re travelling through it
    Just in Time
    Oh toilet paper, where art thou?

    No Reception
    At The Ball
    The Dangers of Shiny Objects
    Engaging Manners
    The Adventures of Viscount Studmuffin

    Reply
  7. I feel like you’ve got to go with your funny impulse here. For me, words like “love” and “time” suck all the personality out of a title unless there is some quirk in there to balance it out. Plus, this doesn’t sound like a standard romance. Why use a standard romance title? Sounds like you need something that says “time traveling romance with a sense of humor.” I think there’s a niche out there for an unconventional time-bending adorkable heroine. I’d try to aim your title at that niche. :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Jarod! I believe you’re right… those standard titles just don’t work for it because the book is not the same in tone as what the title would suggest. I’ll keep digging for the one that captures the humor… Thanks!

      Reply
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