A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

What's in a Title?

Okay, I'll admit it. I love titles. In fact, I'm a title junkie. I enjoy choosing the titles for my novels while having abundant hope the publisher will like them, too.

Unfortunately, I don't always get what I want. I've written eleven novels. The first three books I wrote all had their titles changed leaving me to wonder about my particular skill in this area. When I got to keep my fourth and fifth titles, I was elated. Maybe this title thing wasn't so hard after all. Then...CRASH. The sixth and seventh titles were changed. Still I kept the faith. To my delight, I was permitted to keep the titles for my eighth through eleventh books. Hooray! (For the time being, anyway)

I especially like it when a title fits a novel. I mean, really fits it. When I'm reading along and I come across a passage that makes the book title make sense, it gives me a thrill. For my latest mystery release, NO ONE LIVES TWICE (Carina Press/August 2010), I tried to play upon my love for titles by choosing one that specifically fit this book. Since my story is a high-tech spy caper, I chose a twist on a James' Bond movie title, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. The theme and style seemed to play well with my novel. But if you read the book, you'll discover that the title is actually an important clue to the plot of the story. I must say I was tickled pink when I later read a positive review that mentioned how well the title fit the book. Yeah! Mission accomplished!

Here are some of my all-time favorite titles: "Something Wicked This Way Come" by Ray Bradbury, "The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things," by Carolyn Mackler, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," by Milan Kundera, and "The Sound of Building Coffins" by Louis Maistros. There are a dozen more examples I could cite, but these are a few that I like the best.

So... do titles attract you to a book and are you a title junkie like me? What are some of your all-time favorite titles?


MaureenAMiller said...

Your title lets the reader know what they're in for. Take that and combine it with the cover and the reader knows, "This one is going to be a fun ride!"

Another title that caught my eye was from our own Sunny Cole. I believe she is still working on the novel, but it was, "Lethal Lasagna". :)

Wynter Daniels said...

I like catchy titles, it's easier to remember the book. One that I love is "Big Hair and Flying Cows." The favorite from my own books is "Rude, Nude and Socially Unacceptable." My editor said she'd buy it on the title alone!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Titles: always a struggle. NO ONE LIVES TWICE is perfect for yours!

HEALING HEARTS gave me fits. Until I stopped and asked myself what the book was about.What it was reallyabout.

But I relate to your problems with your previous books. Went through the same thing with my erotic paranormal, Sleepy Hollow Dreams.My originally title for that was "Dream Voyager," since that was the hero. I'd even named my blog "Dream Voyagers"! But...not to be. The publisher thought they'd recently purchased too many books having "Dream" as the first word! So the title ended up being picked for me, more or less!
I think you've really hit on a great one with NO ONE LIVES TWICE. A reader definitely knows what's inside!

Shirley Wells said...

No One Lives Twice is a wonderful title. Congrats!

I know writers who can't start writing the book until they have the title. Mine changes on a weekly - or daily basis. :)

Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my all-time favourites. I love the book too!

Julie Moffett said...

@Maureen: I feel lucky that I got such a great cover AND they kept my original title. Yeah!

BTW, I love that title, "Lethal Lasagna!" I would buy it on the title alone! Go, Sunny! :)

Julie Moffett said...

@Wynter: Love Big Hair and Flying Cows. I haven't read it, have you?

I'm now going to find your backlist and buy "Rude, Nude and Socially Unacceptable." Love it!" LOL!

Julie Moffett said...

@Taryn: I like the title Healing Hearts. From the description of your book, it sounds like you found the perfect title.

BTW, congrats on Release Day!! :)

Julie Moffett said...

@Shirley: Thanks!! I like the title for the next one in the Lexi series, too, "No One To Trust." That will be followed by "No Place Like Rome." Yep, it's my "No" series. Only I hope readers say "Yes!" to my "No" series! LOL!

Toni Anderson said...

I love your title too :)

I'm not good at titles. My first book was titled Venus's Slipper and got changed to HER SANCTUARY. Then although I did eventually think up SEA OF SUSPICION it was originally called OUT OF TEARS after the Rolling Stones song. For STORM WARNING I never expected to keep that title. I figured it would get changed so I picked the title fast and wouldn't you know it--it stuck :)

I love some of the clever titles out there.

Diane said...

Your "No" series sounds fun! When I am looking for a good read the title is what draws me in. Love the aha moments when the title makes sense. "No One Lives Twice" was certainly in this category. Even better when you have me laughing. Look forward to the next book!!!

Elise Warner said...

Editors do enjoy changing titles. Seometimes they really catch the reader's eye. My all-time favorite, that an editor chose, for an article I wrote on Gelati was "What's Not to Lick?" If I find a perfct title right away, the writing seems to flow.

No One Lives Twice will hook a lot of readers.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Titles are SO important. And I'm SO bad at them... I used to do newspaper layout (in the old days, with waxed columns and exacto knives) and the bane of my existence was coming up with headlines. My first Carina novel was originally titled Ghosts. It was changed to On Her Trail. So I was pleased when Carina kept my title for my next one, The Shoeless Kid, which was the FIRST time ever that I actually liked a title I came up with.

I think your cover and title are fabulous, Julie, and I'm sure they're attacting a lot of attention!

Julie Moffett said...

@Toni: I actually like Storm Warning! Plus you got such a great cover with Sea of Suspicion. They really made the title fit the cover, which is a whole 'nother blog!! :)

Julie Moffett said...

@Diane: So glad you liked the title AND the book! Hooray! (Jeez, now I sound like Lexi!!) :)

Julie Moffett said...

@Elise: Almost spewed my Diet Coke reading that title, "What's Not to Lick." LOVE IT!!! LOL!!

Julie Moffett said...

@Marcelle: I adore the title "The Shoeless Kid." The excerpt sounds terrific and the title instantly caught my attention. Good combination should mean you'll sell a lot of books. :)

KC Burn said...

Oh, my. Titles are the bane of my existence, even though I managed to keep the titles I choose for my three books. Usually they're the last thing I pick, and I agonize over them.

Your title is great - glad you got to keep it :)

As for books I've picked up based on title... Dragonfly in Amber, The Eyre Affair & The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

Jenny Schwartz said...

Titles are purgatory. Dreaming them up, that is. I love reading the clever ones. "No One Lives Twice" rocks. I also love the old-fashioned ones, like Allingham's "The Beckoning Lady".

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