Monday, June 13, 2011

You Name It!

There are a lot of steps in getting to know your novel, don't you think? Some of them have to flow in a certain order, but others can... you know... occur when they may.

One though, that can, out of nowhere, give you coherence and direction is the title. Oh, I know. Important not to get too attached in case your publisher wants to call it Biscotti con Leche or something. But I find most of my books have a MOMENT. Sometimes it is early (like before I even really start:  Kahlotus Disposal Site or Player Down) and sometimes it comes later. But it is this sensation of 'THAT'S IT!'

Really my yard. Really my wine.
And you know, sometimes a name can make all the difference in whether somebody is interested or not. Take this wine, for instance. Normally I buy my wine in a box. It has to do with quantity and price... but there was just SOMETHING about this I COULDN'T resist... If you spot it, maybe you could let me know...

The catchy title of course was complemented by the sale price, but between the two I thought... Hey, surely I will have host gift needs or dinner guests at SOME point in my future... I'll take TWO!


But back to books...

With Confluence, my first book, I don't remember when it came to me, but it has a triple meaning within the story, so if I ever manage to get it published, I am going to fight like heck for it. It is literally a river confluence, a confluence of blood lines and a confluence of events. Legacy has at least double meaning... the intentional and unintentional legacy left from adults to children...


These mysteries are a little tougher... they don't have quite the same narrow path and epiphany moments. So I've come to play a game with them.

They have a THEME... and then there is all that DEAD stuff (murder, slay, kill, death...) and they tend to have a lot of clever word play, eh? Some more than others.

So it started to bug me last week that I didn't have a title for my WiP yet, and I decided to play a little game...


What tools did I have to work with?

Beer
Ale
Brewing, though I confess Cleo Coyle has mostly hogged all the good brewing ones for her coffee mysteries (that note of jealousy should be taken with a heap of admiration—I love her titles)
Pub
Hops
Yeast (erm... yeahno...)
Barley
Malt...
TAPPED... (Say... that's one I may come back to …)

And I thought about it...

Probably you need a speck more info.

My fictional Microbrew Pub is called the Beer Boutique. It's an art theme (fine art) and the ales are named for artists (did I say this last week? It seems I may have). So HERE is the list of names I came up with:

Artisan Ale-ments
Trouble Brewing (one that blasted Cleo has surely used)
Microbrew/Macro-slew
Beer Boutique Blues (which held place overnight)

But... I am going with:


What Ales Me


So there. And just HAVING a title gives me a new sense of commitment... whatever that is... I mean... it's not like I am a girl who doesn't follow through. But it has renewed my excitement on the matter.

How about you? What's your naming process?  Do you feel like you NEED it?


Don't forget to come back tomorrow. Elizabeth Spann Craig, who knows more than me on pretty much every front (except maybe statistics) is coming by for a visit and she's going to be sharing some tricks to writing in serial (not to be confused with writing in cereal, which really you can only do with Alphabits).

22 comments:

Pk Hrezo said...

lol... you're too funny. :)

SOmetimes my titles don't come to me til halfway thru the first draft either. But I love choosing a title. Sounds like a good post tomorrow! I'll be back *spoken in bad arnold accent*

Al said...

My title for Veiled in Shadows didn't come till I was working on the final draft.
I often struggle over MC names too!

Old Kitty said...

I want some Naked Grape Wine. The more Naked the grapes the better! Thank you!

Yay for What Ales You? LOL!!!!Brilliant! Take care
x

Christine Murray said...

I love 'What Ales Me', it mad me laugh out loud :)

KatieO said...

Fun post! And I agree, names are important.

Love the title you've chosen, although I also think something with "Brewing" would convey more action...

Naming your babies is a hard task, made harder still by the fact that you might have to change it when it does get published. But the name helps hook people...

Jessica Bell said...

I have a hard time with titles, but when I find one that fits it's like the Big Bang! Once that moment comes, it sticks :o)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looks like those wine bottles are already empty!
I'm still stuck because I haven't come up with a name for my next book yet. It hasn't hit me!

Jan Morrison said...

We've been buying our wine because of their names for awhile now. Seems to work out well - we really like Red Truck and The Accomplice!
Naming my books is crucial. Naming anything is - it takes me weeks to name a new kitten! My most popular play was Death, the Musical - Kareoke at the After-Life Bar & Grill. I loved that. I like one name books - my first unpublished novel is Feckless, the next one is True. My mysteries are to do with the local area - the first one is The Rock Walker (about Peggy's Cove) and the second is Earth Bound which refers to the fact that the victim is a gardener found pinned in a garden.
I love naming. It is the essential thing...names of characters too.
OK - I have to get to work. Nice chatting with you Tartlette.Jan Morrison

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

LOVE the title! It's so clever on so many fronts

Michael Offutt said...

Confluence is a very good title. Short and means a lot.

Boonie S said...

I don’t have a title for my next book, but I do have an underlying ethos for it, which is, “When my grapes are squeezed I let out a little whine…..”
Thanks for this fun post.

All the best, Boonie

Talli Roland said...

I usually start out with the title, oddly enough, and go from there. Love how you chose your title!

Krista M said...

That's a hilarious title!! I have trouble with titles sometimes too. The last book that I wrote had sixteen different titles at one point. It was difficult, but I think that I'm finally okay with the one I have. But, if a publisher has a better name, I'm all for it. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sometimes I start with a title, sometimes it hits as I am writing.

Hart Johnson said...

Hey--thanks so much everyone, for stopping by! I am BURIED at work and home life is offering up heaping stress (or rather car-life) so I feel horrible for not being here, but I may not manage until I get home tonight.

As for titles--I ADORE one word titles. ALL my non-mystery ones have had them (except Kahlotus Disposal Site, but as that's a proper noun...). Mystery though, I feel obliged to give a little teaser.

Walter Knight said...

Be sure to google all titles to make sure your title has not been used before. I had to make that change (for the better) just before publication.

Anne-Mhairi Simpson said...

I think I'd written more than three quarters of For The Love Of Gods before the title came to me. My current WIP, The Pearly Light, I had the title about two days after the story idea.

There has to be at least a double meaning, for me. Otherwise, it's just so many words.

Johanna Garth said...

What Ales Me. I love it! Sometimes titles come right away and set the tone for the whole work and I have some books that I STILL haven't managed to name properly.

GigglesandGuns said...

Somewhere in time it just hits me. Changing is always an option as long as it's short. Long titles scare me off.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I might have been able to write about cereal, too, considering that's usually what my cart is full of every week (what is it about teenage boys and cereal?)

The naming process is a real struggle. Sometimes I don't name characters until halfway through the book. Names of businesses, streets, towns...all tough. All important!

I love "What Ales Me." Brilliant!

erica and christy said...

Good God, I hate titles. That's what agents and editors are for. :)

And WTH with the taps you pictured?? Of all the light beers in the world, they had to go with Bud and Miller?? (I, being a true WI girl, support Miller, but Miller Lite is worse than water and only a tiny bit better than Bud lite). :)
erica

Arlee Bird said...

Since titles are so important they usually come early in the process for me. I like them to be brief, clear, and to have more than one meaning (as your example had). I have written stories starting with the title and building upon it. The title is a first impression that is often the deciding point for a reader to keep investigating and not move on to another title they find more interesting.


Lee
Tossing It Out