I ask all my students to name their assignments with the idea that you feel like you own it, in your mind, if you have named it. It becomes real. Choosing a name can be an agonising process because selecting the right one is vital. It can tell you so much about the story. (It is also a great way to prevaricate and avoid the actual writing so be warned!) One of the favourite names of my novels was not thought of by me, my daughter came up with it - Disjointed was an earlier novel about cannabis psychosis. A novel I think I may try and convert into a script as I think it would work better in that format, but that is an aside. Ham and Jam had a reason behind it too. It was the signal to be given by the British army when they had captured the Pegasus Bridge during the D Day Landings. Very relevant to me but not the greatest selling point. I am hoping the new name will do its purpose - to attract the reader's attention and give them a clue as to what the story is going to be about (however vague)
Once you have got a name think about doing both a Google search and one on Amazon to see what other books have that title - if at all. Having a good, snappy name can be a good way to attract attention when submitting to agents/publishers. A name that sticks in the memory must be a good idea as it will help you stand out from the rest. But, and this is a big BUT, be prepared that there is a good chance that if (when) you get a contract from a publisher they may well change the name again to something that they think will sell it, to make it even more marketable, so don't be too precious about it.
Short and sharp names seems to work well. Thinking of Lucy Christopher's Stolen; Miriam Halahmy's Illegal, Mary Hoffman's David, Mal Peet's Tamar, Rachel Ward's Numbers, Nicola Morgan's Wasted and Tabitha Suzuma's (and Judy Waite's) Forbidden. Others work well with short sentences: Candy Gourlay's Tall Story, Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, There is No Dog, Keren David's When I was Joe, C J Skuse's Pretty Bad Things. (I know these are all YAF but am not sure it is that different when naming any MSS) Obviously, this list is not exclusive or all encompassing but is made up from books that I can see from my desk as I write this. I am sure you can, and will, add many more to it. Neither am I telling you that this is the only way to do a name. You have to find one that you feel good about and helps you to own your piece of writing and keep focused. Have fun with it.
As for the new name of the work in progress.....at the moment it is Trafficking. What do you think?
Thought we would have a bit of Kate Rusby this Sunday morning with her song 'No Name'
I like the new name a lot.ReplyDelete
I din't get the reference to WWII in the first one, it made me think of Doctor Seuss. This one feels more grown up and gritty.
Loving all your recent blogs BTW :-)
Thank you George. That was the problem with Ham and Jam - though initially I thought I was being very clever, it was only clever if you knew what it meant - D'oh!ReplyDelete
Am really pleased you have enjoyed the recent blogs, that means a lot
If you hope for a bestseller, it's also worth buying the URL of your title, if it's available. But that won't be possible if you have used a single word.ReplyDelete
That's really good advice, thank you, I had never thought of it. I have to confess I have bought the URLs for my name.ReplyDelete
I've always wanted to write a novel with a title like The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily or 15 Days Without a Head or Eating Fire and Drinking Water ... but when the crunch comes I always seem to end up with short titles!ReplyDelete
I wonder what the longest book title (fiction) ever is?Delete
Ness, it is absolutely *essential* to buy the URL for your name - both .com and .co.uk if you can get them. So don't apologize!ReplyDelete
I did buy .com and .co.uk. I was rather worried I was jumping the gun and putting the kibosh on my aspirations but then decided I didn't want anyone else to own them so they are mine, all mine!!Delete
I always find the true title is the last thing to fall into place.ReplyDelete
Names, on the other had, I never have a problem with.
My PhD novel title also changed - and was moved to the third title in the trilogy, which has also changed. The second volume's title became that of the the first and the PhD title was moved to the third volume. It has moved again and now only describes the whole trilogy.
That all sounds terribly complicated Gill. Often I find the name changes as it develops but I believe in naming it early so you 'own' it in your own mind.Delete
I like Trafficking a lot. I find it so hard to come up with titles but they are so very important. Now off to Google the title of the current WIP!ReplyDelete
Thank you Sue, I struggle too. Good luck with your searchReplyDelete