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Naming Books, or Titles, ARGH!

GatesofthePhoenix8222015 (Small)
I’m having troubles with the cover, too. As in, I keep changing it.

Some of my book titles came pretty easily to me. Counting On Your Love and Hot Ride were two. Hell Wrecker another. They came without a lot of brain strain on my part and they fit their books. The Bazaar was harder to figure out, though I like it now. Slip Song started out as Origins, but changed when I realized there were tons of other books with Origins in their titles too. Demon’s Cradle was easy and, I think, perfect for that book. World Weaver fits well too, though there are other World Weavers in various forms out there.

Then there’s this new WIP whose title escapes me. I have no fricking clue what it should be called. I thought maybe Gates of the Phoenix, but there are a lot of gates and phoenix books out there. I don’t want the poor book to fade into oblivion because it sounds like all the other books out there. I’ve considered the title Sex with the Devil, but frankly, that sounds more like an erotic romance and it’s not. It’s horror, wrapped up in the pretty bow of a psychopath and I’d hate to catch a bunch of unwary romance readers in a trap filled with spikes and skulls.

Googling quotes about fire and love didn’t really get me anywhere and the book isn’t about love anyway, at least not real, healthy love. I’ve been particularly inspired by Robert Frost’s poem, Fire and Ice, but I’m not sure how to work that into the book’s title without it sounding like every other book by an author inspired by the poem.

Now, when I played around with Lulu’s Title Scorer ( if you’re interested), it gives Gates of the Phoenix a 10% change of being a bestselling title. That’s lame, but told me what I already knew: that Gates of the Phoenix doesn’t really say anything about the book to people who haven’t read it. Sex with the Devil, on the other hand, gets a 55% chance. Much better, but still, the title, while provocative, isn’t right for the book I’m writing. (Well, maybe the first draft, but even then, the title implies a lot more getting busy than the first draft provided.)

(I forgot I also considered the Devil’s Gates. Lulu’s Title Scorer doesn’t like that one, either. Sigh.)

Whatever the title ends up being, I'm keeping this little ad. Ain't it fun? Yes, it's a play on another story. :D
Whatever the title ends up being, I’m keeping this little ad. Ain’t it fun? Yes, it’s a play on another story. 😀

So, what’s a writer to do? I have to tell you, I hate writing in a book that doesn’t have a title. It feels weird, like I’m driving down a dark road with no signs to let me know where I am. I suppose it’s been good for this story, which started out as an intense dream that spurred me to write down in a three-day frenzy of typing. (275 pages!) Each time I’ve named the sucker, it hasn’t fit with the story I want to tell and each time I rip out pieces of it and stuff in new ones, like Dr. Frankenstein, hoping for a monster that will make me famous. (I’m tired and when I’m tired, I get silly.)

I was hoping I would be struck by inspiration whilst whining about my problem, but the answer still alludes me. So, here’s the question I’ll leave you with: How do you come up with your titles? And can you wave a magic wand to help me out?


Published inWriting related stuff


  1. I’m sorry you’re having such trouble with your title. It’s so much better when they just jump out at you! I hate trying to come up with titles, and I hate writing without them too. My WIP had a great title, and then the story changed and the title no longer fits, so now it’s untitled again. :/ Best of luck in finding your title. In the end, you’ll come up with a great one. You always have so far 🙂

  2. Tom Tom

    Hi Jen. I was dropping in to let you know I’ll be following you for the A – Z challenge though April, but I had to read your post on titles.
    Organising titles is one of my favourite pastimes – especially for chapters or short stories.
    Anyway, enough. I’ll be seeing you soon.

  3. Popping in to say “Hi” from the A to Z Blog challenge.
    I also think it is hard to come up with good titles. Fortunately, a friend is a master at this and always helps out.
    Have a fun month!

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