Monday, April 2, 2012

Titles are the Worst

I have the absolute hardest time coming up with titles.

This problem has plagued me since I started blogging, and I can't seem to get over it. Now, I am nearing completion on my first novel, and it is STILL untitled. Yes, sixty thousand words, two full rounds of revisions, beta readers, and NO TITLE.

I don't know what is wrong with me.


  1. First: CONGRATS on being close to the finish line on your first novel! I am still mid-race, going through revisions at the moment.
    Nothing is wrong with you, Gina :D I think titles are super difficult as well and I know we cannot be the only ones who have issues with this...I changed the title of my MS to something closer to my heart recently but it basically took me months to find it.
    Good luck!

  2. I hated to be all not helpful and contradictory, but I LOVE titles. I mean, yes they are hard to come up with and sometimes it can be especially difficult with a certain piece, but I love going through that process. I usually have a title first for my blogposts, even though they might change as I flesh out my post. I love taking a small detail from the whole thing and using it as a title to tie everything together. I have a note on my phone for titles of things I've seen that I love. Books, movies, music, shops- anything. Okay, I'll stop spazzing out now. I just love titles. Did I say that already? Anyhow, congrats on so much progress! And I know the title is there just waiting for you to discover it. And you will.

  3. You're actually not being contradictory, quite the opposite. Titles ARE awesome, and they so powerfully reflect the tone of a piece. There's just so much pressure, you know? Boil down your whole 60,000 word story into five words or less, but don't give anything away. Make sure it isn't cheesy. Or stupid. Or the same as anything else that already exists.

    Blerg. Thanks for the pep talk, I appreciate it. I will find it. You know, eventually.

  4. Hahahahahaha. I'm awful at titles. When I got my editorial letter from Scholastic, the first comment was, "So......we need to do something about your title." The thing is, 9 out of 10 titles change once the book is purchased, so it's not really a big deal to agents if your title sucks.

    RE Sex in YA.....I completely agree. I guess I should've made myself clearer: I'm not saying all teens have sex, and I do have friends who plan to wait until marriage. That's a totally realistic scenario. My point is, whether or not your teen chooses to have sex (and how he/she feels if she does choose to do so) should not be determined by your own personal beliefs, it should be determined by the beliefs of your character. I guess that's what I mean about realistic....a character's choices and emotions should reflect their personality rather than the author's idealized reality. The vast majority of my books do not contain sex, and I have written teen characters who are choosing to wait (for religious reasons, or simply because they're not ready). My opinions are also colored by my own high school experience....I have very smart, well-educated, and self-confident friends (I think a lot of girls who have sex before they're ready do so because of a lack of self-confidence....they feel like their boyfriend won't love them if they don't). Most are in serious, long-term relationships. So for me personally, I'm around a group of teens who have very healthy and emotionally stable relationships. But obviously, not all teens are like that. Thank you for pointing this's nice to get a different perspective.

  5. You're right, of course. The reasons for engaging/abstaining need to fit with the character/scenario/etc. I don't argue against that one little bit. It's completely true, and you're right for pointing it out.

    And I'm sorry that I let all that out on your post (I'll have to re-read to see how rude I was, sorry!), it's just that your post is the latest in a loooooooooooong string of posts/articles/opinion pieces about Sex In YA Books, and they all seem to say the same thing, but different sides of it. One side wants there to be NO SEX EVER because they think it's influential and that teens are NOT having sex unless a book tells them to. The other side wants there to be LOTS OF SEX because they think it's reflective of society and all the teens are having all the sex and books need to keep up with the times.

    And I'm just kind tired of the argument.

    Let's let each author/publisher/reader decide for themselves. There probably won't be any sex in my YA books because those are the kinds of characters whose heads I can get inside properly. Other people might write lots of sex and have it all turn out okay because that was their experience. And still others will write in sex and have it not turn out okay because that's the truth in their world and their personal experiences. And nobody is wrong. Like you said: Our opinions are colored by our own experiences. I just wish more people realized that other experiences are valid, too. (That comment isn't point at you- it's to the world in general, because this has been a hot topic for a quite awhile now.)

    If readers don't want to read about sex, then they don't read those kind of books. On this note: I wish there were more reviewers and/or publishers who were willing to put content advisories on their books. Don't change the content, don't water it down- just let us know what's in there so readers can make an informed decision.

    And, seriously, thank you for the pep talk around titles. I finally picked one for this book, but they are a thorn in my side. It's definitely nice to hear that I won't lose out on a deal just because my title is kinda hokey :)

  6. Oh no you weren't rude! It was partly my fault for not being clear.....and as a teen who has decided to wait (not until marriage, but at least until I'm in a serious, long-term relationship) I know better than anyone that some teens make the choice to not have sex. Sometimes I just don't express myself as well as I should :). And I think it's such a big debate BECAUSE people have such unique experiences.....teenaged sex can be a positive aspect of a healthy relationship, or it can be completely absent from a teen's life, or it can have awful and lingering consequences (as you so rightly pointed out). I guess what the reviewer said just got me peeved, not necessarily because of the sex but because she implied that authors are somehow responsible for teaching morals to their readers.

    And Amazon reviews are usually pretty good content warners, I've found, at least for popular books with lots of reviews.

  7. Oh, golly.... That is a predicament. But you'll figure something out. Even if you call it The Novel. With my first book, it took me a while to figure out a name for it. Then one, which was brilliant, popped into my mind. Months later my boss told me it might have a sexual conotation derived from it. I was beyond embarrassed and to be honest ticked off because I loved the name. Begrudgingly I set out on finding a new name for it. For weeks while I drove home from work, I would try out all sorts of new titles for it. Then one day, BAM it hit. Felicite Found. And now that is what it has been for a long time. I love it. I still adore the other name, but don't want people to think I was writing some Erotica novel. Totally not my intention and definitely NOT what the book entails.