Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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It’s a knack

Here’s a post at Kill Zone Blog: Do You Have the Title Gene?

[L]et’s talk about one of the most important things you need to succeed in this business. Forget talent, forget perseverance, forget craftsmanship. Even forget luck. I’m thinking today that what you really need is The Title Gene.

There are times I agree! Titles, urgh. Either you’ve got that knack or you don’t. Same with a knack for one-sentence summaries of a book. Double urgh for that.

PJ Parrish says: Our first book Dark of of the Moon began life as The Last Rose of Summer (Yuck…and too romancy) and mutated into Circle of Evil (not bad but a little heard-that-before) before I found the Langston Hughes poem “Silhouette” that inspired it. The line was: “Southern gentle lady, do not swoon. They’ve just hung a black man in the dark of the moon.”

Right on all counts. The Last Rose of Summer is definitely a romance title. Oddly, I only see ten or so books with that title at Amazon. I would have expected a hundred. But, however books may share this particular title, I would bet (without checking) that they’re all romances. As a thriller title, nooooo.

It’s a long and pretty decent post on the topic. But frankly my basic suggestion is: if you happen to have a serious knack for titles, hang out your shingle, charge five bucks a pop, and I bet you’d do pretty well.

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3 Comments It’s a knack

  1. Irina

    I’d pay someone more than five bucks for a really good title for the thing that’s currently called _The King’s Children_. (Sequel to _Gates and Passages_, which started out as _The Reluctant King_, but an alpha reader spotted the recurrent motif.)

  2. Mary

    Insufficient information for a reasonable answer.

    (I mean I once fixed another writer’s title problems based on the title and the issue, but she was worried that it gave away the plot, and the title was “Box of Demon Bones”. Anyone need three guesses what the suggestion I made was?
    (And then the story changed on her so it got a third title.)

  3. Irina

    @Mary, if you really want to have a go I’ll send you the half-done thing (irina@valdyas.org) but I was really only whining :-)

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