Saturday, May 17, 2008

Working Titles

In the latest issue of Hearts Talk (the RWAustralia newsletter ) there is a very good article by Aussie Harlequin M&B author Ally Blake on the importance of a working title. (Checkout her site on my website links)

It really hit the spot for me. She quoted quite a few well known authors who say their working title sums up the essence or the theme of the book. The title is often changed by the publisher, but for them this is the core, the lodestone of the story while they write.

My first book The Right Chord, was Leopard's Spots. For me that sums up Grace's dilemma. She wants to change her personality from affable and obliging to tough and direct, but can't get it right because it goes against her true nature. The self awareness achieved by attempting the change results in a different Grace by the end of the story.

Strings Attached was always the same title. It's perfect even if I do say so myself ! Jack doesn't like his women with strings attached, but Hannah, in his words 'has more strings attached than a harp.'

My forthcoming Avalon release Coming Home was initially Lame Duck but I knew (sorry in advance :) )that title would never fly. Coming Home does a pretty good job summing up the storyline though. All the main characters find their home both physically and emotionally.

Ally's article made me think about the importance of the working title. I'd always liked to work with a title on the top of the page and I realise now why that was so. It's a guidelight. My current wip didn't have one except for the heroine's name, but as I'm a seat of the pantser that didn't help beyond a certain point. The wip had been muddling along for a while. I had a big think and came up with The Right Place and for me that sums up what my heroine is searching for. The hero has already found his place in the world, but she hasn't and at the moment neither of them can believe it's with him.


Natalie Hatch said...

Now Lis, this would be great IF I had any books coming out... Ah well, soon, soon.
Great site, will add it to my blog.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lis,
Just thought I would pop by, I live in Melbourne and am TWRP author like you. Holly and the Millionaire my Champagne Rose is out now, and I have two Vintage TWRP coming out in August and September. My short story Kindred Spirits, is also out as a TWRP Free Read, so, we have a bit in common.
Kind regards
Margaret Tanner

Elisabeth said...

Hi Natalie and Margaret. Thanks for dropping by. Margaret, will you be at the conference?

Miss Mae said...

Yes, I always want a working title too. I was glad the one I chose for my English Tea Rose was accepted, and hopefully the ms I now have up under consideration will be approved too--if the ms is as well, of course...LOL..

Very nice blog. Clean and uncluttered to the eye. Nice job!


Tricia Jones said...

I always have a working title. When I was about to submit my book to TWRP I couldn't decide on a title. Hubby asked me what it was about and I said it's about a temporary arrangement the H/h make. He said, use that. So I sent it and they liked it. Sometimes life is just that simple ;))

Toni V.S. said...

Every book has to have a working title--if only to have something to hitch your ideas to. Sometimes, however, the real title doesn't come until long afterward. Most of my titles are the first ones given to the book I'm working on, but sometimes, naming it is the most difficult part. One of my current ones is simply called "Untitled Novel" because as yet I have absolutely no idea where it's going, and--after the first introductory chapter which sets the scene for...something...the characters are waiting for me to give them the "Go" sign. Several of my books have gone through a progression of names before finally having a permanent one. BLOODSEEK: The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic, Book One, started out as "I am Barbara!" From there, it went to "Sword of the Hawk" and "Blood Seek" (as two separate words). Then, it was noted that--in the Grand Scheme of its author--this was to be part of a bigger story, and it became "The Chronicles". At last, "Bloodseek (one word): The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic, Book One" became the permanent title, written in 1977, published in 2007. Similarly, an off-shoot of that series, BLOOD SIN: The kan Ingan Archives, Book One, went through a like metamorphosis--"The King of Arcane's Daughter," and "Blood Ties". The latter title actually became the second book in the series, while Blood Sin finally became the first novel's permanent name.
In some of my books, I have the characters reading, and the titles I've made up for what they read are sometimes more intriguing then the real ones.
Let's hear it for all titles--whether they're the final ones or not!

Elisabeth said...

Titles do seem to be important, don't they?

Toni--how encouraging your book was published after 10 years. Strings Attached has been around a while too. Nearly 6 years. During that time it's undergone many facelifts and a heavy bout of liposuction LOL but the title has never changed.

Elisabeth said...

Thanks for the compliment re the site, Miss Mae. I'm not very blog conscious but TWRP has made me do it!! :) I like uncluttered sites, too. But mine is mostly uncluttered because there's nothing else to add LOL

Tricia, it's great you could sum up your book in such a simple phrase. That's what a good title does, I suppose.