Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Name Game

Mes Amis

I've been thinking about titles. There are a number of reasons for this. The most clear one in my mind is that I've been getting titles all over the place at the moment. One author has two titles in print that I continuously get the wrong way round. I was talking to another author recently and may have inadvertently given one of his books the title of another author's work. At the same time I got the details of the book in question right otherwise, so I'm not a total moron*.

But it got me thinking: what makes a good title? What do people look for in a title? Which ones stick in your head and which ones just float away so that when you're talking about "that book, you know the one with the crime solving kitten who keeps a selection of shrunken rat heads in a belt around her belly**" you just can't remember what the author actually deemed to call said book?

In the end what matters to me is whether a book ultimately holds me. I have loved books where I can't remember the title for the life of me when someone asks and disliked books where the title springs instantly to mind.

Of course there may be no answer. If everyone knew the formula then titling would be easy. But for my money its a horrendous part of the process and one I never look forward to.

Au revoir


*Let the sarcasm begin

**There is no such book that I'm aware of. Of course I'm sure its Rickards' next project.


Sandra Ruttan said...

I had a dream you were feeling better.

Is the usual thoughtful post a good sign?

Stuart MacBride said...

titles are when the devil proffers his bumhole and asks the author to pucker up.

But hugely important.

Russel said...


Feeling a whole lot better - not quite past the shufffling around like a zombie stage but I can think clearly.


I have a very disturbing image in my head now. But you're right. And they are important, just painful. Obviously more so if that's not just a metahpor...

John R. said...

Shrunken rat heads, you say?