By any other name, would it read as sweet?

Well, here I am again. The title is chosen and the cover done. Nearing the point of no return. This time I have gone for something that signals the genre a little more explicitly. Though having decided I need to be more overt, less of the enigmatic and ‘trying to be clever’, I then read a totally conflicting piece of advice that one ought to ‘add some mystery’ to the choice of title. Typical really.

A year or so ago, during a similarly pained process, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece on Choosing a Title for Your Book (link below) that considered some of the common tropes and models that appear to be applied in the book naming process (in fiction).

Come to think of it, I have noticed another common paradigm, using ‘Daughter’ in the title – Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter; The Alchemist’s Daughter by Katharine McMahon; The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn; Karen Viggers‘ The Orchardist’s Daughter; The Butcher’s Daughter by Jane E. James; The Arbotionist’s Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde… I even noticed a psychological thriller named The Paramedic’s Daughter (Tara Lyons) the other day. It’s not entirely new, Philip Pullman published young fiction The Firework Maker’s Daughter a few years ago (2004), and I’m sure there are others.

The old-fashioned or esoteric professions of these titular women’s fathers (or is it mothers?) also seem to be a trend – clockmaker, alchemist, orchardist. Presumably they signal a particular time period. Interesting how titles seem to go in fashions.

Titles: The challenge of making your book stand out

Maybe there should be a prize simply for the best book title – well, it seems an art in itself.

Quick brainstorm and I am adding in the below (some translated into English, as you see). Not a totally original selection, but that’s probably no coincidence.

The Dud Avocado Elaine Dundy
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
(with a special mention also for Adams’s The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul)
The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

What are your favourite book titles, fiction or fact?

Original article Choosing a Title for Your Book
https://librepaley.com/2018/05/10/choosing-a-title-for-your-book/

24 thoughts on “By any other name, would it read as sweet?

  1. It is difficult. Usually, they come to me somewhere as I’m writing. I try them out and then change them or keep them. Sometimes — as with my current saga — I have all the title lined up with no story behind them. That is motivating me to create a novel that lives up to the story.
    Good post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I often change too. There is a title I am so keen on for something I have only partially written, I keep wondering if someone else will use it – but then, I am probably over-estimating it!

      Like

  2. As Shakespeare said – What is in the name – but now I have to think twice ❤️ – I love your work

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for reading. In saying this (and elsewhere in Romeo and Juliet: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy), Shakespeare nailed so much that is prejudicial in our attitudes to others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. When I went to UK last year. I visited his town and everything. So much I have learned from his work.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. His enrichment of language has been incalculable.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. My WIP or WISP (work in slow progress) is going to have the title I thought of when I first had the idea – ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. Though I guess I could call it ‘The Civil Servant’s Daughter’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think either title is killer. And I’ll have to borrow WISP – nearly a WASP, work after slow progress.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Case in point I NOW actually want to read ‘The Abortionist’s Daughter’, btw I’m not joking for effect that’s one hell of an intriguing book Title!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Not in a position to recommend – I have only read a couple on the ‘Daughter’ list. Looks like it tackles the abortion debate in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually have a blog post coming soon with “daughter” in the title. Glad I’m among good company.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fingers crossed for a best-seller on the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Would you suggest ‘The Rites of Seduction’ is chick lit? Or might an age50 guy enjoy reading?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not chick lit – or I hope not! I had thought it more a female read but who knows – bit Gothic, bit kinky… Welcome to be added to free copy list. No obligations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Noo freebie, I’m looking forward to buying my own copy. 🙂

        Like

  7. My Name Escapes Me: Diary of a Retiring Actor by Sir Alec Guinness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent one – love titles that have a pun in them, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your erotic novelette ‘Laying the Ghosts of Christmas’ (purchased and downloaded onto my Galaxy kindle app) though I’m nervous of writing an Amazon review hence this reply. As an aside you may remember me commenting you earlier that Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ is my favourite book, a ghostly tale I read every Christmas without fail, though 😀 I’ll agree yours is (extremely) loosely based though I sensed the staves and plot similarities and so much more, laying the ghosts of Christmas indeed!!

    (Even a little Cinderella in there as well)

    Hmm I’m wondering here and now is one purpose of erotic writing to sexually arouse the reader as well as telling them a fun yarn? The conscious imagination is a ‘funny old thing’ and I’ll let you into a secret more than once I hardened whilst reading in my garden, becoming sexually excited is surely the acid test for good erotica. Though I should say I enjoyed your beautifully descriptive scene setting often lacking in the erotic tales I read here on WordPress, ‘geometric squares of leggy jasmine and delicate wands of Japanese quince creating stark silhouettes’ was particularly memorable line, and of course LOTS of Ebby’s naked bare breasts for as you know I am a breast man through and through 😉 . My silly witterings’ to one side, Laying the Ghosts of Christmas is beautifully paced and a fun read.

    (I could write an Amazon review though I’m afraid it won’t be as well written as F. R. Larkins)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you for reading – and taking the trouble to write back about it. And glad it had a desired effect – be it the jasmine or the breasts! I thought it was a cute idea for a short book, and a seasonal read would be nice – but it’s shifted very few copies and, as you see, been very little reviewed. Oh well, hardly anyone gets rich with ebooks – or any books come to that. I think erotica is best with a story – I did read that’s the difference between erotica and steamy romance, the latter must have a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think titles are very important. they have the power to give one pause or push a reader away. I’d rather give a story a neutral title than – one word only – than risk making it sound *what’s the word?* let’s say bla. As for the daughter on titles, last year I read a book – fantasy – called “daughter of the pirate king’. I’m currently reading the sequel, ‘daughter of the siren queen’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree on the importance of titles; they pull the reader in. The Daughter phenomenon is interesting – on the one hand the main character is (presumably) a female, but on the other she’s defined by her (usually) father’s role. ‘Daughter of the Pirate King’ sounds like it has all the intrigue you could want, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kings and queens and shadow and blood and crimson are also common words found in a title. It’s the power of the word, I suppose, that draws a reader. for example, put fish, or leaf, or tree, and you’d need to make it interesting else these words – weak as they are – wouldn’t draw the reader – but that’s my opinion and what i’d think if I came upon them.

        Like

  10. I like titles that make you think. Titles that don’t give away the whole plot/ ending. But research shows that those aren’t as popular among readers, which is no shock to me – I seem to have different tastes/ opinions from the general public. I’m currently struggling with coming up with the title for my WIP. I’m trying to make it short and not a paragraph-long one.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close