Quite a response to yesterday's post on titles! Clearly I'm not alone in my title-challengedness. It was interesting how, after I called for title-writing advice in the comment box, most folks who came forward said things like, "I suck at this, too!"
Commiseration is a wonderful thing.
It's interesting, too, how the title dilemma, like writing in general, brims with subjectivity. While there are, truly, some Very Bad Titles out there (and in my .doc files), there's always debate on whether a particular titles "works" or "grabs" or "sings".
And now I will humble myself. (Again.)
The title of my Very First Novel (the YA fantasy with two protagonists--one who is the decidedly-not-YA-age of 12--and absolutely no concept of what POINT OF VIEW means) is: The Seeds of Perin Faye.
Okay. We can give it a little more breathing room, perhaps, because this IS fantasy. But here's where I really went wrong. I came up with the title before I wrote the story. And, somewhere in the middle of writing it, I realized I had to come up with some way to fit SEEDS into the story.
For, you see, I was desperately in love with my title. And was compelled to make the seed thing work no matter what. Because, DANG, I had a GREAT TITLE and there was no way I was going to change it.
You can imagine how lame the seed part of the story turned out to be.
Okay. The entire thing is lame. It's my LEARNING-HOW-TO-WRITE-A-NOVEL novel. I'm still using printed-out pages for scrap paper. And my husband is still reading them out loud and making me laugh. And die a little.
So, yeah. I've definitely got title baggage. But one thing's for sure. I am determined to NEVER become emotionally attached to a title again. I've watched friends have their titles changed, and I've taken silent notes. And I've realized--wow. In the end, it doesn't matter if you end up with a title that's nothing like the original one. Or nothing like you'd imagined.
Somewhere along the line, someone on your team, whether it's a crit partner, agent, or your editor, is going to capture the soul of your story in a title you'll end up loving. Or at least feeling intense gratefulness for.
Okay, then. What are some of your FAVORITE TITLES, from both contemporary and classic novels? And why do you love them?