Titles are important to me when I'm writing. To me a project isn't "real" until I've given it a title. Many projects begin simply as a concept listed in my writer's notebook with maybe an incomplete puke sheet completed for it. If I can't come up with a title for something I am writing, it means I don't have any idea what I'm writing about and that never ends well.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. I KNOW titles change and I am prepared for that but without them, I cannot focus on a project.
Titles are the hardest "synopsis" you can create. You need to essentially boil down what the book is about into 3 to 6 words. That's crazy, right? Yet we all do it. We have to. Untitled rarely sells. Think about the great titles of the books we love:
- A Game of Thrones: Perfect title, tells you exactly what the entire story is about in a few words.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Harry Potter and the....well, you know.
- The Hunger Games
- The Empire Strikes Back
Title motifs are important to me. They have to fit. I think of the Dragonlance series of my youth and those books were immediately identified by the title motif. So I decided each of the books would include a season in the title. Plus, it's an allusion to the books I loved in my youth. (Look at Mr. English Teacher throwing around all kinds of literary terms and elements around like I know what I'm doing.)
Sisters of Khoda was harder, by far. It began life as the "Young Jaiman Zaracheck novel." I took the MC from a trunked novel and decided to tell a story from his teen years. I struggled for a long time to nail down a title and it took almost a year and a half to finally nail down Jaiman Zarachek and the Sisters of Khoda. I cut out the first part for now and just kept it simple.
Point Guard and the Space Princess is a simple title. I'm not completely happy with it and I wonder if that is the reason it has been so easy for me to get stalled on the project.
So what about titles? What works for you? Are they as important to you as they are to me?