Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WHY DID YOU NAME IT THAT? by CHERYL PIERSON


Ask any writer where their titles come from for their work and you’ll get a thousand different answers from “It just came to me!” to “My publisher made me use this one.” As an author, I’ve had both happen to me, with several other scenarios for my titles scattered in between.


BUY IT HERE:https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Eyes-Cheryl-Pierson/dp/1499215452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474425964&sr=8-1&keywords=Fire+Eyes
In my first book, FIRE EYES, the heroine’s name is Jessica—my own daughter’s name. She needed a name that she was referred to by the Indians, and my daughter had told me years earlier she wanted her Indian name to be FIRE EYES. So that was a given. And it worked out great! That story was the one that the title came easiest for, of all my books.


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Fast forward to my first contemporary romance novel, Sweet Danger. The story takes place in a deli that has been taken over by a very dangerous escaped convict, Tabor Hardin, and his men. His hostages just happen to include an undercover police officer, Jesse Nightwalker, who put him away in prison—supposedly for life. One of the other hostages is Jesse’s neighbor, Lindy Oliver, who is the retired police commissioner’s daughter. They’ve just met and are minding their own business over a sugar ring when a hail of gunfire erupts and—well, y’all know how I love my wounded heroes, and Jesse is no exception. I had titled the story THE SUGAR RING. But I was told by my publisher that that title would have to be changed. Period. SWEET DANGER was born, and in retrospect, is a much better title.

Titles should stick with the reader, be memorable, and make readers want to know more about the book.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Who would do that?)
SWEET SAVAGE LOVE (Tell me more!)

SHANE (Who is this person?)
ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN (Who were they?)
NOBODY’S DARLING (Maybe mine?)
THE GATES OF THE ALAMO (I’ve gotta know!)
THE CHRISTMAS SPIDER (What???)
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (Maybe I can learn something, here!)
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Did I live there once?)

BUY IT HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Otherverse-James-Reasoner/dp/1519314272/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474426092&sr=8-1&keywords=Tales+from+the+Otherverse
TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE (Where is this place, and what are these tales about?)
LOST SISTER (Who was she and why was she lost?)

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (Who was he? Certainly not who we thought!)

The list goes on—but you get the idea. I know right now you’re thinking of titles you’ve read that have stuck in your mind—and the questions they’ve made you ask about those particular stories or books.

And I bet you’ve seen a phrase and thought, “That would be a great book title!” I know I’ve done that plenty of times. I’ve even written them down. Now, if I could only remember where I wrote them!

https://www.amazon.com/Code-West-Classic-Western-Novels-ebook/dp/B01JM2UONO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474426315&sr=8-1&keywords=Code+of+the+West
Another fun way to come up with titles is through a title generator. There are several of these online. They even have them for different genres: Sci-fi, westerns, fantasy…you name it. But they come up with some real doozies! Take a look at some of the ones a western title generator came up with for me:
FALLEN SAVAGE
THE GUITAR OF THE AZURE
THE PLAINS OF THE SAGE
THE DEATH’S RING
WOLVES IN THE MESA
THE WILLOW AND THE HOLSTER
THE REIN OF THE DWINDLING SECRET
THE BIBLE OF THE WHITE HEART
RUBY IN THE CHURCHYARD
LIGHTS IN THE SOMBRERO
ANGEL OF THE FINAL LIGHT

These are mainly odd, funny titles, but the beauty of them is that they get your mind working in ways you might never have thought before—and adding and changing some of the words in some of these titles can make for a beautifully creative experience!

What are some of YOUR favorite titles, and why?
I will be giving away a copy of A KISS TO REMEMBER, a digital boxed set of five western historical romances by Livia J. Washburn, Kathleen Rice-Adams, Tracy Garrett, Tanya Hanson and myself to one lucky commenter! Be sure to leave your contact info in your comment in case I draw your name!



IF YOU CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IF YOU WON, HERE'S THE BUY LINK!
https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Remember-Western-Historical-Romance-ebook/dp/B01IM37OAA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474431965&sr=8-1&keywords=A+KISS+to+Remember

4 comments:

  1. I've read books with some really boring titles and the only reason I read them was because they were given to me or they were mandatory reading for a class. The thing is, these boring titles housed some great literary fiction. One of them had a name that was complicated and had nothing to do with the theme of the book--something like The Dogs Who Barked All Night. What a shame because the book was about a white family living in Africa during time of great strife. The descriptions of the land was almost lyrical and the prose was so powerful. I never would have chosen this book based on that title.
    Hemmingway could come up with some enticing titles, but one of his worst titles was a short story titled The Chrysanthemums. Although I am not a Hemingway fan for the most part, this title did not begin to evoke interest in this deeply moving story. I will admit the chrysanthemums did have a part in the story, ho hum though it may be.
    I had this great idea to write stories having to do with musical instruments and put the instrument in the title: The Violin, Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, For Love of Banjo and then I wrote my rare contemporary about an abandoned piano. I couldn't get a title to work using the word "piano", so I first titled it Bitter Notes. Kind of a dark title for what was supposed to be a love story. Later, I changed the name to Cast Away Heart.
    Titles are so important in attracting readers to a story, I sometimes freeze up when it comes to giving it a title. I envy those authors who can come up with just the right title for a story that just hollers, "READ ME"!
    I loved both of these books, Cheryl, but I have to say it was the villains in these stories that made them GREAT for me. I love horrible, bad villains and these two were poster standards for Villains. It took a heap of courage and know how for the lead characters to go up against these villains.
    Great post!

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    1. Sarah, thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment!

      I know just what you mean about titles being "off" sometimes--and that old saying about "you can't judge a book by its cover" may not be completely true, but covers and titles are what sells--that's what person sees FIRST. And if you don't grab their interest and make them want to know more about that book, they're going to put it right back on the shelf.

      Oh, I love villains, too, Sarah. SOOO MUCH. LOL (Maybe you could tell?) Kind of scary to think "Wow, I wrote that horrible villain..." LOL

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say, dear friend!

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  2. Right now, late in the day, when I can barely function, I cannot thing of any books with odd names I didn't like. I'm sure I came across some that were somewhat off-beat, but can't recall any.
    At this moment, I'm thinking about our University Women's book club selections and basically, they make me roll my eyes. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE--okay, even though it is 590 pages, it is a NY Times winner. The title is prophetic, though because it's partly about a blind French girl in Paris when they are told...get out. get out now. The Nazis are coming to bomb the city. So she and her father does and goes to the walled city. There, though, be weird happenstances, she finds herself alone. It's a good story but soooooo long and detailed. But the title? The little heroine is blind.
    Another one: The Revenant. It's a gory difficult book to read, and yes we understand all that..but what in the world does Revenant mean and what does it have to do with the story?
    See what I mean.
    Good post, Cheryl, as always. And believe me, I will never forget FIRE EYES.

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    Replies
    1. Celia, I have that book ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE but have not read it yet. It was a gift and I look forward to reading it, but when? I hardly get to read just for pleasure anymore, but one of these days...It sounds really good. I don't mind long books, or even the details, for the most part. But it's got to hold my interest, and that title is a "grabber" for sure.

      The Revenant...I'm not sure I can read that. I have to read so much gory stuff in my editing work I just sometimes think I can't look at one more thing that is written in that genre.

      You know the one that sticks in my mind is Hills Like White Elephants. It's a Hemingway story. A short story about abortion. Very short and all in subtext. A great teaching tool. But I hated that story when I first read it. Still, it's a title you don't forget easily.

      I'm so glad to hear you say again how much you liked Fire Eyes, Celia. I think it will always be the 'book of my heart'--and at some point, I want to write Travis's story.

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