"Ask your friends what they think (about your title), and then watch their eyes. If their eyes fill with light, it means you've raised their expectations, and they're returning this joy with a tough assignment for you: Write a book as good as that title." --Steven Taylor Goldsberry
Does my title convey the essence of the book? Will it help catch an agent's attention, stand out? Is it unique enough? Will it raise expectations for what's between the book's cover?
Knowing that any title goes through many revisions, and most likely will change once it's in a publisher's hands, still--can I make it better now? And if so, how?
From notes I took this week:
Steven Taylor Goldsberry, author of The Writer's Book of Wisdom: "Collect good titles (like good first lines, collecting good titles helps us better recognize what we're aiming for). Practice (writing your own). Stay away from abstractions."
Emma Walton Hamilton, in the blog post, What's in a Title?: "Titles should be catchy, short, appropriate to the material, imply what the story's about, be specific to your book, and be memorable." Some of her ideas include--
Hidden meaning (revealed in the story).
Possessive (e.g. Charlotte's Web).
Memorable line from story itself.
Something intriguing (e.g. A Wrinkle in Time).
Writers Digest's Jacob Appel's Tips to Land the Perfect Title for your Novel: "Maximize your choices by making a list of at least five different titles before deciding upon one." Also, "don't forget voice and point of view."
Carol Benedict at the Writing Place, How to Choose a Good Title for your Story: "Brainstorm using a key word or phrase that runs through your story...a popular expression related to your subject...a play on words." She also notes, "An effective title should be interesting, convey the tone or central idea of the story, and be easy to remember."
I'm going to take some time here in the next few days to re-evaluate my title along these lines. How about you--any tips for choosing a good title?
p.s. for fun, you might want to put your title to the test. Lulu Titlescorer will analyze it, and rate its chances at becoming a bestselling title. You might be surprised at the results!