Thursday, April 19, 2012

The ABC's of Middle Grade: T is for Title

Just like a sign catches our eye along a road and points us to a certain place, a book's title catches a reader's eye and points to the wonder that book could contain.

So . . . there's just a wee bit of pressure on a book's title.

And because the title has such a big and important job, the title can change--sometimes even in later stages of a book's publishing route. As a writer, I consider all my titles as working titles, subject to change by me at any moment (or WHOA!) someone along the publishing road if I get that far someday. A book's title is that important. Making a title that hard to decide upon.

Titles in middle grade must be flashy and attention drawing, I think. I also think they need to be short--if they're too long, they're too easily forgotten. Book titles need to give readers something intriguing to care about--a character's name, a place name in the story, or a key concept in the book. And they need to relate the feel of the story.

Wow. That's some tall business for a short little thing. What other jobs do book titles have? Did I leave anything out? And just how important do you think a book's title is?

11 comments:

  1. So true Barbara. You nailed what a book title needs to do. I love some of the book titles out there and wish I could think of such good ones for my manuscripts. My new project has no title so far--just New story. I hope I come up with one once I'm done with the first draft.

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  2. Very true. I often decide to read a book because of its intriguing title. One more thing you should add: The title should be easy to pronounce.

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    1. Yes, easy to pronounce! Excellent point, especially for mg.

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  3. Titles are so important. Love hearing about how people come up with titles.

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  4. I always think I have the perfect title until everybody hates it. Sigh.

    Apparently I'm not a good titler.

    So much pressure, isn't it?

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  5. Great post! Titles are definitely important and should be something that is easily remembered. I agree with Carrie, it is fun to see how titles are chosen and the journey to the final choice.

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  6. Title are very important. Hence why I suck at them. I had one I through was good, but with the changes in my story, I want a better one. Now I'm waiting for the title gods to help me out.

    I'm still waiting!!!! (apparently they haven't gotten the hint yet)

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  7. So we hate writing queries and synopsii because it means distilling our novels down into so few words. The title is a distillation down to about 3 or 4 words! That's why they're hard.

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    1. I never thought of it quite that way, so yeah, when you put it like that...

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  8. I agree titles should be on the shortish side -- some of EL Konigsburg's and Judith Viorst's titles notwithstanding. :)

    I find titles either excruciatingly hard or totally easy. The latter come with the project's inception. The former -- argh! Among my published books, about 50% were changed during editing and 50% stayed the same. One of the changes I fought, on the grounds that it made a MG novel sound like a romance novel. The title was still changed, but to a new title I suggested.

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  9. Looks like I'm in good company with writing the 'perfect' title!

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