Welcome Wednesdays – Working Titles

Welcome Wednesdays – Working Titles

Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesdays!  I hope y’all are finding new authors to read, and new readers for your books with these weekly questions.

Let’s talk today about titles.  They can be tricky things, and they can make or break a book.  So I want you to tell us all about how you came up with the title for one of your books/series.  Was it easy?  Did you have a title before you began writing?  Did it change?  Or did you wait until you were done before you came up with the right title?

Be sure to tell us a little about the book, too.  And make sure to  leave a link so we can learn more about it!

I’ll begin!  I had a LOT of trouble coming up with a title for DREAM STUDENT.  The original working title was “Dreamchaser” (sometimes “Dreamchasers”).  But i never really liked that title, and I couldn’t think of anything else.  It wasn’t until the book was finished and I was actyually started on the second book that I finally came up with the idea of “Dream Student” – I think that knowing it was going to turn into a series, and needing a common theme to tie together the titles of however many books there’d be, pushed me in the right direction.  I may actually have come up with the title for the second book – DREAM DOCTOR – first and worked backwards – it was close to three years ago, after all, it’s hard to remember!  But the idea was born – each book would have “Dream” plus a noun  – and it’s worked for ten books so far.

And now it’s your turn!

(when you’re done here, please stop by Exquisite Quills, where there are daily memes just like this one and plenty of fantastic authors you can discover!)

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10 Replies to “Welcome Wednesdays – Working Titles”

  1. I love coming up with titles! For my most recent release, I knew that I wanted to start off with the idea that the sirens of Greek myth had been misrepresented in many ways–as the siren Skyla says at the very beginning of the novella:

    The poets lie, you know. They say our songs seduce the sailors, draw them into the ocean to drown. But if the ocean sings to them, it is not our doing—no more than the earth’s call to us is theirs.

    And Odysseus never tried to resist.

    So I began with the idea that it’s not a siren’s song that is dangerous to humans, but her kisses–and that a human’s kisses might be just as dangerous to the siren.

    The novella is the beginning of a series, and it’s included in the Falling in Deep Anthology (available this week for only $.99!)

    Check out Siren’s Kiss below!

    Siren’s Kiss

    Her kiss might save the world . . . unless his kiss kills her first.

    It’s been almost two thousand years since the mer-shifter Skyla walked the streets of Athens—not since her heart was broken by a human man and she exchanged the land and sky for the ocean depths. Ever since, she has lived in the underwater ruins of Atlantis, studying with the priestesses of the goddess Amphitrite, refining her mermaid powers and ignoring her human half.

    But her studies are interrupted when she is called upon by Poseidon himself to investigate rumors that the world above is being polluted by the magic of creatures from another realm—and worse, that the ocean kingdom of the mer-people might be next.

    When her arrival in modern-day Greece leads her to an American detective, Skyla realizes that the magical problem she’s been sent to research is bigger than she anticipated—and that one human’s kisses might be more dangerous to her, and her world, than she ever could have imagined.

  2. Ah, titles.

    Transpecial started with the title – the original idea was somebody who somehow changes from one species to another, and I kept it when I changed the concept to a character who got on better with aliens than she ever did with humans.

    The Silent Years was shamelessly inspired by several other books. I ended up slightly regretting the title because it’s impossible to search on without being spammed by Christian religious stuff (nothing against Christians, but I can’t find any random reviews not posted to Amazon), but I think it nicely sums up the plot.

  3. Some titles just come complete. “Kitsune-Tsuki” translates as “fox possession,” which is both a literal and metaphorical fear in the story of the search for a kitsune shapeshifter. (On the other hand, non-English titles are hard to move in certain markets….!)

    Some titles I have to work for. “And Only the Eyes of Children” comes from a poem which isn’t directly referenced in the story, but is relevant.

    The fairies went from the world, dear,
    Because men’s hearts grew cold:
    And only the eyes of children see
    What is hidden from the old…
    ~Kathleen Foyle

    And sometimes it’s just an all-out struggle. I just blogged about title frustration; I’m still flailing for good options for a few pieces!

  4. Dang, so many of the great titles are already taken, so the work to come up with something new is grueling. Anyone else notice how most book titles, old and new, are rock band group names? So after you learn what you CAN’T have, you have to ‘work the words.’ I list nouns describing the themes in my books. Next to the noun column, I list verbs, then a column of adjectives. I try two-word combinations until I find something new and interesting (and not taken by another author). In a book about shades of trauma (from PTSD to childhood anxiety), The quote by T.S.Eliot, a high anxious person/poet, goes: “I see fear in a handful of dust,” pushed me to find a title that showed magnitude! After much experimentation, I chose the title FEAR LAND. I like it…I hope the reader does, too. See the hand on my cover sifting dust/sand on the Afganistan terrain?

    Tally Rosella, acclaimed child psychiatrist, avoids adults because their brains rant at her. When she begins a child study to connect her findings to PTSD, devious colleagues at a California university block her progress.

    Army Major Cole Messer won’t admit trauma destroyed his marriage and ability to lead. His priorities: enroll his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and return to active duty.

    Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles put Cole and his boy in jeopardy. Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.


  5. Titles come easy for me. My first book Troianne was a name I made up, so I thought. I found out it is widely used for a girl’s name. Second I used a name of a princess, Diana’s Magic. Then I wanted to honor my oldest daughter Rheanon’s Heart. Her Soul to Save was given to my by my Design Artist. Haunted By Allen is a spooky Psy-fi and I just thought it fit. My next book is Prince Anwar’s Affliction. I love the name Anwar for some reason. So I use all kinds of elements to title my books. Friends and Family input are always welcome.

  6. Coming up with titles and naming characters are a particularly enjoyable part of the writing process for me. Most of the time a title presents itself and seems exactly right. Love those moments! Once an editor told me the title I chose was too long and would have to be trimmed back from four words to two so that it would fit the cover. Fortunately, that worked out fine. Another editor renamed my book to fit an existing cover and release slot. I’ve never been happy with that one and plan to change it in the future. I confess to having lists of titles waiting for a story to go with them. It would be shame to leave those titles orphaned.

    I chose to title my Western Historical Romance DELILAH’S FLAME from a line in a song the sultry stage show singer, Delilah, includes in her performance. She’s a woman with a secret identity and a perfect plan for revenge. When she targets the wrong man, dueling acts of revenge have them both feeling the heat.


  7. Hi James,
    Interesting discussion. My scifi/romance/suspense novel, “Shepherds”, started life with the title “Spirit Song.” While I didn’t like that title all that much, it was indicative of the spirituality that the dolphins professed in the book. However, while the dolphins do have a lot to say since one of the main characters can speak to them, they aren’t the main focus. The other main character, Olga, is a genetically engineered “mermaid” who herds a school of tuna in the open ocean and while she faces a lot of racial prejudice and has a number of derogatory names sent her way, in her mind she is a shepherd. Eventually, I came to realize that what she called herself should be the title. And thus, “Shepherds” it is.
    Right now the book is on sale for 99 cents and here’s a link for the Kindle version.

  8. I usually try to set my books in specific locations, which I try to bring into the title. Then like many authors I have favourite names for characters. As I stay with simple romance plots and stories I use simple names – sorry no shifters, werewolves, demons or goblins – although the last one has just given me an idea. Once or twice I have changed the title when I finished the first draft.
    My latest novel is Claudia and the Lords of Peterborough, published by Global Publishing Group.

  9. ah yes … the RIGHT name/title… that goes from character names to the selling name of the book/series.

    For me sometimes it has been a case of a snappy title and then a story structured around it. As to a series title that encompasses all the stories within the series, they usually come afterwards. And yes, I always call the first title a working title of the current WIP … sometimes it is adequate for lack of coming up with something that is more appealing, other times a great title hits me in the eye after I finish (sometimes a word someone says in the book, or it comes out of the blue, and on occasion a friend comes up with a ripper of a title!).

    I have just dipped my toe into self publishing with a SFR prequel to a series called THE CHAMELEORDS (trilogy). Originally it was just a short for a charity anthology … the short originally had the working title of THE MONEY SHOT and was relevant to both hero and heroine. However by the time it went off to the anthology it was christened formally ON TARGET(available on all four major booksellers online for 99c) which gave a lean towards the hero rather than sharing the limelight with the first title that related to both heroine and hero. And from this short the series evolved in order to bring story cycles built into the short to a satisfactory conclusion to readers. Thus the CHAMELEORDS series was born.

    Again I have a medieval series with an all encompassing name and with adequate single titles for the books in it … which would sell more? the single title or the identifying series title? Good question ..people will recognise the series name well before they recall the author’s name or show an interest in the single title. A current SFR series I am working on has single word titles (these appear to be growing in popularity of late) but is identified by the series title of THE MAXIL MOB (which can spin off to a secondary series) … will people recall THE MAXIL MOB before they recall book one as SCARRED? interesting to see when the series is up and alive.

    Inspiration for names? Yes we tend to steal from the world around us 🙂 Songs, rock bands, poetry, events, history to name a few sources. How many books I have seen called DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!!! We all want something distinctive and original to stand out … but you know, sometimes the trick is writing a great book with a title that is well used and making YOUR book the definitive one when folks think of that name! And the other small thought is you have to remember to make the title relevant to the era the book is written in …you couldn’t call a book (well you could if steam punk or SFR) THe DUKE’S ROCKETING DUCHESS if it was a genuine Regency in setting and characters.

    You are welcome to peek in at my site if you want to see the names I have for current, past and future projects 🙂 at mahleeashwynne.webs.com

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