Monday, October 20, 2014

The Trouble With Titles (NaNo Prep Post #1)


Hello all!
This is the first post in a series on NaNoWriMo prep, as I get ready to attack the dragon that is National Novel Writing Month. Our topic today is my arch nemesis: creating a title for a book.

Why on earth do you feel the need? The book isn't even written!

A title is not something I will normally try to come up with first. I simply nickname my books, much like parents who call their child "baby" because they cannot decide on a name. The nicknames are sometimes clever, normally not. For instance, my NaNo novel has thus far been called "Steampunk Story." Fabulous, I know.
The NaNo website encourages participants to create their novel. The current name and wordcount of the work will be listed on their profile and the stats will be given in the Novels page.
But it needs a name.
It has option for a title, genre (easy), synopsis (to be dealt with at a later time), and an excerpt (also to be dealt with later), and cover.
So one evening I got home from youth group and kicked my shoes off. I pulled out my collection of Shakespeare's plays (because Shakespeare), my Bible (what better place to pull a title from..?), a notebook, and my trusted Chromebook. Grabbing a pen, I laid down and began the momentous task of choosing a title.

However did you complete such a massive task?

I wonder if professional writers have this problem.
Google.
Google is my best friend.
Google and various writing bloggers.
After wasting much time searching aforesaid blogs, I picked up my pen and I scrawled title after title.
Let me tell you, they were horrible.
Absolutely horrible. 
Some sounded like elementary school fantasy. Some sounded like a long and arduous memoir. Some sounded like romance novels.
I struggled with these horrible titles. I tried to take whatever I felt was redeemable and twist it into something else, which always seemed to end up as bad as the ones before.
After contemplating giving up, running away, and becoming a hermit in the rain forests of Africa, I finally hit on the one word that was the catalyst for actually becoming successful.
I played with it, edited it, tried all kind of things. I did some stealing from both Shakespeare and Scripture.
In the end, I decided on something simple, but that I felt had a good feel to it.

Well? What title did you come up with?

The Fate Machine.
Yup! It's Steampunk sounding, and very relevant to the plotline of my story. I searched it on Google and no other books came up with that exact name, which is also a very good thing.
Genre fitting and relevant. That's all I really wanted in a title, so this one is currently working very nicely.

Another interesting side effect has been the recent ponderings of turning the book into a series. The Fate Machine sounds like it could definitely be part of a series, which is a proposition I am open to.

Keep an eye out for more NaNo Prep posts as the long awaited day draws ever nearer.

Does your book have a title yet? If so, how did you find it? Let me know in the comments!