Monday, March 7, 2011

The Title

Hello Everyone,
I hope you are doing well.  Things are good here in my neck of the woods. Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but I've been preparing my manuscript for a writing contest.  Not only do I have to ensure the piece is polished until it shines, I also have to write a synopsis and include a title with the submission. 

I completed everything but the latter.  The plot changed in my second draft, making the working title, "The Thirteenth Baktun," obsolete. As I'm sure many of you know, creating a title that summarizes the entire novel is not easy.  I came up with a few ideas and ran them by my husband last night.  He immediately shot them down.  Either the titles didn't summarize the story, or they were overly dramatic.  I have a week to come up with something fitting, but am drawing a blank. 

Out of desperation I conducted a bit of research on the subject.  Although there are several interesting articles about creating a title, one of the most informative pieces I found was written by Alex Shapiro at Absolutewrite.com.   He says the title is very important because it is the first thing that draws a potential reader in.  Sometimes it sells a book.  Further, a hot title must be catchy and fit the genre of the story.  Some examples he gives are "The Hours," by Michael Cunningham, Or "Misery," by Stephen King.  Shapiro goes onto say that some authors use special words or characters in the title.  James Patterson did this in his thriller series, "The First to Die," "Second Chance."

I'm sure you're thinking, yeah, this is great, but how do I come up with such a great title.  According to Shapiro, titles should come from inside the writer.  Consider uising the name of a main character, or using expressions and keywords from the manuscript.  He references the Bible, poetry, and famous quotes as sources of inspiration.  Foreign words may also be useful, but they can be tricky for new authors.  He recommends the writer conduct his or her research first.  If all else fails, turn to family and friends.  Really listen to and consider their suggestions. 

In the spirit of drawing inspiration from others, I decided to open my book for title suggestions.  The following is a summary of what the story is about.  Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.  If you can't think of a title, but have a great process for creating one, I'd be open to that as well. 

Following her father's murder, Soledad Mendoza inherits a mystical weapon that was entrusted to her family by a Mayan High Priest in the sixteenth-century. With the protection of a mysterious angel, who has watched over the object for nearly a millennium; Soledad must accept her destiny to use this weapon against her father's demonic murderer, before he can win her mother's heart, then the White House.

Until next time, my fellow writers, happy writing.