Title of Book

Titles are worse than summaries, taglines, or pitch packets. A title has to grab you, has to promise something about the story, has to invoke an instant reaction from a reader, so they’ll pick up your book and get a look at the pretty cover, or the blurb that makes them want to buy it.

Naming books is like naming children – unless something strange happens, they’re going to be stuck with that name for the rest of their lives.  Sure, some of us do things like randomly rename ourselves, or get packaged up into omnibus editions.  But by and large, you’re making a decision that is going to influence everyone that book ever comes in contact with, and you don’t want to get your manuscript beaten up on the playground.

My current working title for this manuscript is The Memory Keeper.  There’s nothing wrong with that title, but it rings kind of boring in my ears.  It tells you something about the story, but makes it seem distant, as though the grand adventure has passed, and someone is telling you about it.  That’s absolutely nothing like the story itself, and I can’t saddle my book with a title that makes it sound like a pensioner recounting his glory days of hunting mutant river otters.  This story is about movement, fighting, the family you make, and the home that finds you, even if you can’t stay in one place.  It’s not a stationary story, and it needs a title with some hustle and flow.

Because it’s such a stumble for me, I decided to take the main concepts and keywords that jumped out at me and write them out on Post-It notes, so I can shuffle them around and play with the language until I find something.  Even the notes for this book are fidgety, it seems.

After careful consideration, the only possible title has been chosen:

Jessup’s Wasted Running Memory of Dust Stained Wind

Or not.

I’ll hit on just the right title soon enough, and then this poor book will finally have a name of its own.  Until then, I’ll just keep adding to the Post-It’s.  But I probably won’t go with For God’s Sake, Please Buy Two Copies, either.



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6 Responses to “Title of Book”

  • Nicole

    Also, you probably don’t want anyone to think it’s the prequel to “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.”

    • Reesa

      Exactly. It immediately makes me think of some serious book about an immigrant family in the 1940’s or something. Not what I’m going for!

      Not that I’ve read “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, so that shouldn’t be taken as my summary of the plot. 🙂

  • Shannon M.

    I kind of like ‘Dust-Stained Wind’ or ‘A Memory of Dust-Stained Wind’, but they’re not particularly…active. And they’re a little generic, I think, but that could just be me.

    Hmm… Dust-Stained Run? Running Before a Dust-Stained Wind? (Though that runs (sorry) the risk of people thinking it’s about sailing…)

    I don’t know if it will help you at all, but sometimes I find the rather dryly-named Word Combination Tool useful for figuring out names for characters — maybe it will help? It does only have two columns, so if you want more than two-word titles, you’ll have to put them in as phrases. One of the nice things about it is that the output is in alphabetical order, though.

    • Shannon M.

      Argh, I have to retract my last statement — it’s not in alphabetical order, but the order in which you enter the terms. That’s what I get for trying to get anything done while dealing with small children…

  • Patrick Scaffido

    Jessup’s Wind

    Problem solved

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