In which she explains that titles like the one I just used for this post are (usually) not good titles for novels.
Oh, God, the misery of titles. I can’t even tell you. Unless you’ve tried to name a bunch of novels, and then you know. Though at least, unlike Marie Brennen, I’ve never been forced to try to come up with a title that is both a quote from a classic novel and ends in a verb. Hands tied much?
Fortunately, cover art can be so evocative that it completely trumps the title. I would say that this is the case for THE FLOATING ISLANDS, for example. I can’t tell you how many people have said something like, “I initially picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover . . .” Yes, I agree with you all: I love that cover, too.
I know I mentioned this post at the time, but agent Rachelle Gardner also addressed this topic a year or two ago, only her post was all about a strategy you can actually use to come up with titles.
I actually used Gardner’s suggestions to come up with my personal favorite of all my titles: The Mountain of Kept Memory. (Which I’m hoping to have good news about sometime this year, so cross your fingers for me.)
Marie Brennen decries the “Noun of Noun” titles, and of course The Mountain of Kept Memory does have a “Noun of Noun” structure, sort of, but still, I’ll say that this title is evocative without using any of the standard “watch me be evocative here” words.