What’s in a name?


Book titles matter. A rose by any other name, Juliet claimed, would smell as sweet, but would people be as willing to put their noses close if it were called Skunkstink, or Fartflower? And titles bother me.

Sometimes, a title will occur immediately, surfacing from the interior of my brain without any effort on my part. Gingerbread Bride was like that. As soon as we came up with the concept of runaway brides for the Bluestocking Belles 2015 holiday box set, the title and the basic story appeared in my mind.

Sometimes, I’ll come up with a concept for a series, then have to find titles that will fit. All the titles for novels in The Golden Redepennings series are excerpts from quotes. Farewell to Kindness comes from The Count of Monte Cristo.

“And now…farewell to kindness, humanity and gratitude. I have substituted myself for Providence in rewarding the good; may the God of vengeance now yield me His place to punish the wicked.”

The one I’m working on now is called A Raging Madness, which comes from a quote by French philosopher Francois de La Rochefoucauld.

“…envy is a raging madness that cannot bear the wealth or fortune of others.”

Do these fulfill the criteria that Tucker Max lists in How to Title a Book The Right Way?
  1. Attention Grabbing
  2. Memorable
  3. Informative (gives idea of what book is about)
  4. Easy to say
  5. Not embarrassing or problematic for someone to say aloud to their friends

You tell me.

I’ve been fretting over two other titles, both books I’ve just finished.

The novel I have just received back from beta readers has been Seeking Prudence, Encouraging Prudence, and most recently Embracing Prudence. And it is part of a series loosely known as The Virtue Sisters. The other books would include a sequel to the current one, and also a book for each of Prudence Virtue’s sisters, Hope, Faith, and Charity. And all my titles are pretty blah.

After talking to friends and thinking—a lot—I’m leaning to the series titleThe Wages of Virtue.

The individual books would be Firstname in Something.

So either Prudence in Love followed by Prudence in Peril or Prudence in Desire followed by Prudence in Danger.

If we go with the ‘d’ words, we’d have Hope in Despair, Faith in Decline, and Charity in Doubt.

Otherwise, I’m sticking with Hope in Despair, but I might go for Faith in Jeopardy and Charity in Tribulation.

The novella is an entirely different matter! Tentatively entitled The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, which at least means what you see is what you get, it is again the first of a series. What to do, what to do?


2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I like the series name format, but I think it would be cool to have a conflict/opposites/paradox. What’s the opposite of prudence? So I would think Jeopardy would work better for prudence. Now I would think Faith would be hard as we don’t think a lot about its opposite. Despair and charity are alreadt great. Maybe Scandal or sin for Faith?

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