Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Choosing a Title

Choosing a title for a novel is hard. Well, it is for me.

I called the first book in the Guarding universe "Meskka" for quite a while. My thinking on this went something as follows:
The series on a whole is about the Guardians, with more being revealed about them and their history over the course of several books. Each book will be about something else in the same universe, with some of the same characters and some over-arching plot lines tying each book together.

So, the first book in the series was about the Meskka, thus, "Meskka" for a title. The only thing I didn't like about this was that the title just by itself didn't tell you much about the book. Sure, it'd make sense after reading the book, but the title should say something by itself to someone who's glancing at titles on a shelf. There's also the danger of having a made-up word for a title, it really doesn't say anything. Some readers don't care, and some will browse right past them.

I played around with several different titles looking for one that I liked the sound of, fit with the series title (The Guardian Chronicles, Book 1), and described the book. Some examples of the brainstorming process:
"Cats of Alkask" (I thought "cats" was somewhat misleading, and it didn't sound good)
"Allies of Alkask" (I like, except one of the very minor plot points is "are the meskka going to be allies or not?" this title kinda ruins that, or at least creates the impression that it does.)
"CATS IN SPACE!" (I wasn't serious about this one at all, but it popped into my head... too many muppets....)
"A Strange New World" (This one kinda sums it up, but it's already taken ;) )

I didn't really love any of these. Then I thought about it from another angle. I wanted the title to fit in with the rest of the series, and I'd already thought of a title for the second book in the series, "Threat From the Past". Thinking about this gave me the title, "A New Threat" for the first book, that sums up a few different plot lines in this book. I like it, and people I've ran it past seem to like it too.

Anyone else have title tips to share?