Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wicked Wednesday - titles

This month is NaNoWriMo and I've done all my Wicked Wednesday posts for the month ahead of time. Yet if there is something you want me to talk about in December, please leave a comment.

I'm writing a paranormal romance for NaNoWriMo. It's a slow burning romance called Sorrow Phage. It's only a working title. Not exactly the most enticing of titles, I know. I've been thinking a lot about what I might call the story instead.

A paranormal romance title has to suit the mood, tone and genre of the novel. The best titles are usually short and clever. People are going to judge your book based on the title even before they read it. If you see two novels on the shelf at a bookstore with one having a long title and the other a short catchy one, which one would you choose? Most people will pick up the book with the shorter title first. There's a trick to this: use contrasting terms. Here are a few examples: Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

Another way to come up with a title is to look into the heart of your story. What's the main theme? Is it historical or contemporary? Does it involved a special place? Who is the main character? Their love interest? There's so many ways to pluck out a title from these things. Examples: The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton and The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands.

Watch out for generic titles. Try to avoid using words like seduction, bride, rogue, and love. Yes, it's a romance but you're smarter than that. Come up with something different.

Generally, try to avoid silly titles, but sometimes they do work. If your story is humorous, it might be a good thing. Examples: Go Fetch! by Shelley Laurenston and Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles.

Whatever you come up with, run it past your critique partners and beta readers, and your friends and family. If you're really unsure, ask for help on your blog. The writing community is wonderful and everyone is so supportive.

What are some of your favorite paranormal romance titles? Have you ever picked up a book based on the title alone?


  1. I like the title! I don't read much paranormal romance, but some of my favorite titles are:

    "Boneshaker" "The Forest of Hand and Teeth" "Firethorn"

  2. Titles can be tough. For me, anyway.

    When I first read your title, I thought the first word was Sparrow. I thought, cool. Anyway to work Sparrow in there?

    Good luck with your NaNo. Go, Christine!

  3. Book titles are so difficult... I usually go through a few until i find one that I feel matches the book... great idea to fun it past the writing community. At the moment I'm playing with several ideas for my new novel - and I know it's way too early... can't get my mind to focus on just writing...hehe

  4. I'm disastrous with titles. I usually start with one and work out a slightly better one later.


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