Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!
Ever wonder how writers come up with titles? The methods are as varied as the writers who devise them, and some authors think them up in multiple ways.
One of the popular methods of coming up with a title is to base it on the theme of the book. For example, Rose Fairbanks has a book that is based on letters Darcy and Elizabeth wrote but never intended to send. She called it Letters From the Heart. I wrote a book where Elizabeth had to choose between Darcy and Collins and called it Decisions & Consequences. Lilacs and Lavender was based on a flower theme.
Another way to come up with a title is to use a favorite line from the book. I Promise To … was so named because Darcy and Elizabeth made promises to each other that began with those three words, “I promise to.”
Sometimes, I name books based on character actions. So, Lady Catherine Impedes was titled that way because she tried to come between Darcy and Elizabeth, and Caroline’s Censure was given its name because Caroline both censured Darcy and Elizabeth for their marriage and was censured by her brother. Darcy was looking to get married in Darcy’s Wife Search.
Leenie Brown named one of her first books Oxford Cottage, which was the name of the cottage Mr. Bennet sent his daughters to so they could practice managing a household. She also named her Willow Hall Series after an estate in the first book: Willow Hall. So, some writers use locations in their titles.
Often, JAFF writers use phrases from Jane Austen’s work. For example, The Essence of Love came from Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth asked her aunt, “Is not general incivility the very essence of love?”
Once an author chooses a title, it’s always a good idea for her (or him) to search Amazon for similar titles. Sometimes, I also check Google. As long as it’s not a hugely popular title overall or a title that has been used recently in the JAFF world, we’re usually okay to go. However, it does happen now and then that two books releasing close together have similar names, or in fact the same name. Both have happened to me; in the first case, they were different enough that the other author was happy to have me leave mine (hers was begun long before my book) and in the second case, I changed my title a little bit.
Oh, here’s something that I almost forgot: I try to keep my title short enough to fit on a 5” x 8” cover. In other words, not too wordy; short and sweet is best.
Some books are a struggle to name, and sometimes we authors don’t have a title until the book is finished. Sometimes, we have a title before we even begin a story. It really depends on the story. I have even changed a title in the middle of writing, because the one I came up with ended up not fitting. That happens when one is a pantser with no actual writing plan. 🙂
This post turned out to be more interesting than I thought it would! Go me! 🙂
Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3