writing life

Title Woes

I’m halfway through the first draft of the book I’m working on. It took me weeks to get through the first quarter of it, but that was interrupted by all that construction work. Then it took me less than a week to write the next quarter. I guess I’m gaining momentum.

I’m trying to avoid the series burnout factor by working on some other things at the same time. In the evenings I’ve been researching another story entirely, and so far the two things haven’t clashed in my head. Sometimes I’m more fascinated by the potential of the one I’m researching than I am by the one I’m writing, but that’s where the daily word count goal comes in. When I hit that goal, I can play with research. It’s a win-win. I’m making the progress I need to, so I’m not neglecting one project, and knowing I can play with the other project is additional incentive to make progress.

I really need titles for these books and this series, and this genre requires something clever and punny, but I haven’t been able to think of anything yet. I may need to do a good brainstorming session after I finish this book. Titles are so hard for me. Either I start out with something perfect already in mind or I end up just sticking something generic on the book. I guess a couple of times something clever has come to me late in the game. For instance, Make Mine Magic was originally called Some Enchanted Evening, and that was a desperation move to just have something to stick on the book proposal. When even my agent was getting mixed up whether we were talking about that book or an Enchanted, Inc. book, I said we needed to change it. The new title came to me in a dream. I dreamed a scene in which that was said, woke up and wrote it down, then when I still liked it in the morning I suggested it to my editor. My other late-in-the-game title was Damsel Under Stress. That book had gone through edits and still didn’t have a title. We were starting to joke that putting it out with no title would be an innovative marketing scheme. Then one day in the shower, I was thinking of fairy tale related phrases and how I could twist them. I thought about how I was a damsel in distress, stressed about needing a title, and it clicked. I jumped out of the shower and wrote it down, and everyone loved it, though there was some confusion, since it sounds like “damsel in distress” when you say it out loud (which was the point). I had readers unable to find the book because they were searching for or asking for the wrong title, or if they asked for it at a store, the bookseller misunderstood, typed in “damsel in distress” and said the book didn’t exist.

I guess it’s possible for a title to be too perfect a pun. Now I need something along those lines for my mystery books. I may be taking a lot of showers soon.

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