© Marta Stephens 2010 all rights reserved
Finding a good book title for my novels was at times, harder than writing the manuscript. Titles are as critical to the success of the book as are the cover art and the first few lines of the book. It has to grab and intrigue the prospective reader and it also needs to say something about the story.
Most writers give their manuscript a working title. I do too so it’s no surprise that neither of my published novels began life as SILENCED CRY or THE DEVIL CAN WAIT.
It was weeks before SILENCED CRY was due to go to press and I was desperate to give it a proper name. Days passed and we were getting really close to the drop-dead deadline when I was thumbing through the pages and I finally found the title on page 110 in the line: “Someone had to know what happened sixteen years ago to silence a baby’s cry.” That was it! Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Every victim in the book had been silenced at one time or another and it seemed—perfect.
When it came time to name the second book, I read the blurb, and thought about the plot. I knew the title was somewhere in those few paragraphs but I wasn’t there yet.
I began by writing down all the verbs and nouns I found in my blurb and added several other words that came to mind as I thought of the plot. I also included synonyms of some of the key nouns to see of any of those might spark ideas. I asked a few of my friends to help by doing the same thing and for the next several days, we played around with a combination of those words. I instantly knew some titles were out of the question, but soon a few good titles began to emerge.
If you try these steps and you’re still not happy with the results, think about the plot, what drives it? What theme runs through the book? Trust me, the title is somewhere within its pages. All you have to do is find the right two or three words and juggle them a bit to find the right blend.
Right now, I have two other completed novels that have been on my shelf for several years waiting to be edited. Guess what? I’ve yet to name them. I call them my spy novel, and Harper #4. On the other hand, my WIP isn’t quite done and it’s already had several titles. Currently it’s called SHROUD OF LIES. Will I keep that title? Only time will tell, I suppose.
Keep up with my daily progress on SHROUD OF LIES by visiting my Prose & Musing blog!