Monday, August 31, 2009

Title 5

Cricket McRae

Lye in Wait
Heaven Preserve Us
Spin a Wicked Web
Something Borrowed, Something Bleu

Okay, so the titles of my Home Crafting Mysteries are admittedly punny, maybe even a little corny. Hopefully memorable, as well. Each one does manage to touch on the home craft which serves as a backdrop for that particular story of murder and mayhem. I've never had any trouble coming up with titles. Easy peasy.

So it was with a certain amount of dismay that I realized I didn't know what to call the fifth in the series. All the other books were a title in my head first, and much of the story fell out of those few words. They had power. They were the hook on which I hung my tale when I left for the night.

Now I'm working on a another mystery, and it doesn't have a name. Oh sure, there's a working title. I don't hate it, but it doesn't resonate. It also doesn't reveal enough about the home craft behind the mystery. It's ... well, it's pretty bland.

I've thought about having a contest, but hesitate. What if I don't like any of the entries enough to choose one? Is that merely negative thinking? Why is this so important to me? Am I just being a control freak? Because, believe me, that's certainly possible. Oh, yes.

The longer I go without THE TITLE, the better I want it to be. This one needs to be clever, memorable. Punny, but in a good way. (Is there a good way?) If it's going to be this tough to come up with, it should be downright awesome.

Please understand: I'm not under the the illusion that my existing titles are genius. That's not the point. The point is the role they played in my head while I was writing. This one is different. I don't know -- maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I won't find the right title until the book is done. That's what a lot of (most) writers do, isn't it?

How important are titles to you? Do you have one when you start a piece, or does the title come out of the story after you've written it?


Lisa Bork said...

Cricket, is the home craft for book five a secret? Inquiring minds want to know.

My agent didn't think my working title created the right imagery. I ran dozens of new title ideas past him before he said FOR BETTER, FOR MURDER was perfect.

G.M. Malliet said...

Titles are absolutely essential to me, as they help me keep a steady focus on the book during the long slog of writing it.

Readers should be aware that the author has no final say on titles, however. Or any say at all. This is why a contest may not pan out!

Cricket McRae said...

Lisa, the home craft for #5 is old-fashioned wine making. Think dandelion or elderberry wine, sans the fancy equipment.

Gin, sounds like you're like me -- the working title affords personal focus during that lengthy writing process, even if it doesn't end up on the cover in the long run.

Paul Lamb said...

The title of my current WIP illustrates the story's theme, but I had the theme long before I came up with (borrowed) the title. Not knowing the title would not have slowed me down with the writing.

That's pretty much been the case with all of the fiction I've written. I know the story I want to tell and generally only come up with the title later.

Deborah Sharp said...

From one control freak to another, do the contest. For each of my clever MAMA titles, someone else suggested something much better than my original idea. Ex: Mama Rides Shotgun, versus my lame original, Mama Rides with Danger. Yours are all good, but I HATE coming up with titles.

Jess Lourey said...

Grapes of Death? :) It IS hard! Titles are important for me, too, Cricket. September Fair originally had a different title which I wrote a chunk of the book around, but then we found that title was taken. I kept the chunk because I liked it.

Good luck!

Keith Raffel said...

Okay, Cricket. It's late, but here goes.

I Walk the Wine
Fine and Dandelion
Listen to Your Elderberries
Daze of Wine and Roses
That's Not What I Ferment
Wined and Died
She Cried Grape (bad taste, I know)
A Fine Body or A Delicate Body, etc.

Cricket McRae said...

Thanks, you guys! Keith, I love your list. Seriously, don't be surprised to see one of your gems on a book cover down the road. I guess I just needed a little help from my friends...