What makes a good title?
Gone with the Wind . To Kill a Mockingbird . The Diary of a Young Girl . Pride and Prejudice . Under the Greenwood Tree . Anne of Green Gables . Rilla of Ingleside . Crazy Love . The Book Thief . The Little House on the Prairie .
I love all these titles. They've got something about them; a punch, a dash of whimsy - an air of unforgettable-ness. Maybe it's because their content is good (although I've never read Under the Greenwood Tree - I just like the title) - maybe we remember these titles just because they happen to be famous... but seriously, these are some good titles. Like, how did Margaret Mitchell come up with something as epic as Gone with the Wind?! It sums up her book in four words and it doesn't give away any spoilers. How does she do that?! How did Harper Lee find such an intriguing title for her masterpiece? To Kill a Mockingbird sounds exactly like the kind of book you'd want to open to find out more.
With all these amazing titles in the world, I have a dilemma. I CANNOT NAME MY BOOK. It isn't finished yet (although slowly the end is in sight!) but man, I am bad at thinking of a title. Either Google search shows me there are already 100 books with the same title (yes, slight exaggeration, I apologise), or either it sounds so stupid I just roll my eyes at my own laptop screen.
What I'd (ideally) want in a title are 1. Something personal to the book. 2. Something that sounds pretty (not ya know, something like, Amy Stubbins' life in London) and 3. Something that sounds good... something that rolls on the tongue. (However much I love The Guernsey Literary Potatoe Peel Pie Society, I am not searching for something in that field.)
I have identified six types of titles. You must tell me which you like best (after all, you are my imagined future audience.):
1. The snappy one. Such as: Crazy Love . Cool! . Not a Fan . These are often for learn-more-about-life books. Their title sparks interest. Their title isn't, perhaps, what the book subject might seem. It's a punchy title and it's what makes hands grab books. I like a snappy title. (However, it would not suit my book. My book is an historical piece of fiction with a fair amount of deaths. A flashy-punchy-colourful title would be... odd.)
2. The whimsical one. This is where I should paste basically all L.M.Montgomery's book titles. Especially Magic for Marigold and Jane of Lantern Hill and Anne of Avonlea. They all sound exquisite. I wish I had the knack for such beautiful title but whenever I do they sounds laughably ridiculous, like I'm just trying way too hard. Ha.
3. The This-is-what-the-book-basically-is-in-short title. Such as The Diary of Anne Frank or The Book Thief or A Series of Unfortunate Events or The Little House on the Prairie. It's like a tiny resume but it sounds really good on the front cover. I want one like this but ah how do I do this. For my book that would be something like, The Girl who has Problems and other people too and then it Slowly gets Resolved. That's not an ideal title, you've got to admit.
4. The monstrously epic one. We've touched this subject. Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird and other titles such as Pride and Prejudice and The Hunger Games are like this. But probably just because they're famous. But still. These kinda books are epic even without trying. The title does all the work. (I've given up on one like this. :-/)
5. The one word one. These CAN be cool but they're often, in my 'umble opinion, boring and/or cheesy. Some books pull it off: Emma . Christy . Persuasion . Homestead . (I thought of naming my book Blessed but then I looked it up on Goodreads and bam, about 10 books with the same title came up. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish there were less books in the world, haha.)
6. The this-title-could-do-for-any-book one. These are the ones I generally go for because they're easy. Romance novels have these. Titles like Back Home or Far Away from Home or In His Arms or Stealing His Name or Only when We're Apart or stuff like Waves of Love. They sound original, but they're not because switch the two titles from two Christian Fiction novels around and it won't matter - the title will still suit the content. Basically. (I thought of Only if it's You and Green Eyes for my novel but one, these books already exist and two, they could be the title of 90% of the books out there. And I don't want that.)
So there you go. The struggle of finding a title for my novel. I guess I'll just finish the novel first and then decide. Or better still, I have Emma read the manuscript and she can name it. She is wickedly good at naming things. (As I write, she is probably naming cows and horses in Texas.)
What are some of your favourite titles? What makes a good title? Any tips for the titling-my-novel-process? Cuz I need tips.