While working on a novel is the thrilling, the process is often fraught with little challenges. For example, finding the correct title for the book, section titles for the book’s major divisions, or the simply picking names for each character and town are often difficult tasks. Rushing the process is never a good idea; however, one cannot wait forever. During the early stages of world-building, when the risks are low, most of name-making is easy. As the book nears completion, it’s tougher.
3 Questions to Consider When Crafting Titles
1. Does the title accurately reflect the plot?
If the title does not accurately reflect the plot, you may have a problem. Readers have an expectation from the title. For example The Witch’s Uprising has a witch in it, and there is an uprising! There are no surprises from that title, however the logical questions are in place for a reader to ask. Who is the witch? Where and when is the uprising? What is going to happen?
While the title alludes to specific events in the book, it is also relates to a few thematic threads in the book. In other words, it takes on a deeper meaning when the reader is finished with the book and the series.
2. Does it sound appealing?
How a title sounds is really a matter of opinion, and yet another reason why writers should partner up with friends, family, beta readers and other authors.
Some aspects to consider:
- Does the title include alliteration, assonance, and/or consonance? Is that good for your genre/book?
- Does the title sound “catchy” or “sticky”?
- Is the title too trendy or “catchy” sounding?
I suggest getting multiple opinions.
Can a reader infer much about the book, and would they still want to read it?
If the reader can infer meaning or even a tone from your title, you may have won. However, if your title is off-putting or stops a reader from opening the book, you should reconsider. Using a controversial title is obviously something up for debate. While controversial titles attract readers, there is also the chance of may repelling or offending prospective readers.
Crafting Noteworthy Titles for My Nine-Novel Series
Brainstorming with a Partner
My fiancé and I spent a night together, making dinner and talking about possible titles for each book in my nine-book young adult fantasy series A Thousand Watchful Eyes. This fantasy book series is part of a twelve-novel saga that you can support on Patreon, or follow for free on the Books of Brylennia Facebook Group.
When considering titles, we felt the need to create a sense of continuity between each book. We wanted titles that would “stick” and directly reference the plot of the book. To do this, we used objects and artifacts from the series (daggers, crowns, swords, etc…).
Laura and I also made a concerted effort to use the word “the” to give a definite sense these titles were speaking to an event or object that the reader would encounter.
The titles are listed below for your perusal:
Series Title: A Thousand Watchful Eyes
Book One: The Witch’s Uprising
Book Two: The Robber Kings
Book Three: The Year of the Forged Crown
Book Four: A Touch of Fire
Book Five: The Witch Queen’s Plea
Book Six: The Hunted Swordsman
Book Seven: The Hand That Heals
Book Eight: The Shattered Sword
Book Nine: Age of Dreams
What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.