It’s something that has always troubled me. I am one of those people who cannot have an untitled work-in-progress. However, I find the title changes back and forth over time. It’s frustrating.
A title is the fist thing many readers will see. It has ti catch their eye, hold their attention. It tells the story in a word (or three). It can allude to a deeper understanding, or simply scratch the surface. A bad title does nothing good for the book it names.
So how do you choose a title? Part of me wants to say you don’t. As the book grows and fills out, the title reveals itself. That would be the ideal situation, but not quite how it has ever worked. A short I wrote years back, Shadows in the Light of Darkness, titled itself. It is the only work that has.
Instead, I have an arduous task. Whenever the title doesn’t fit what I’m writing, I have to go through the process of finding a new one? What is one of the key elements? How can I say that without betraying the story? Does it fit? No? Start again. Right of Blood was one working title for my current WIP. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t flow. The Blood Within is the current working title. It holds a lot of meaning to the book and reaches further than just what is read.
Already I am having misgivings. When I hear it, my mind goes to a vampire book… not where I intended it to be. So, more likely than not, I will change it again. It may be that I circle back around, but who knows?
So what grabs you in a title? If you write, how do you choose one? As a reader, are there certain judgements you make on the title alone?