Earlier this summer I posted about titles – and my difficulty in coming up with a good one. I’ve had an ongoing e-conversation with friend Susan about titles, and I’ve been tossing a few her way for feedback. In our last “chat,” Susan pointed me to a great post on the Publisher’s Weekly blog, ShelfTalker by way of Augusta Scattergood. (Congratulations once more to Augusta for winning a Crystal Kite for Glory Be!)
I won’t reblog the whole article – and you really should give it a look – but here’s the heart of the post:
The best kinds of titles seem to be:
- Titles that are very clear about their subject matter — The Boyfriend List, The Candy Shop War,Fablehaven, Wereworld, The House with the Clock in its Walls, Rapunzel’s Revenge, Evil Genius
- Titles that work in concert with the cover art to paint an inviting idea of what the story is about — My Side of the Mountain, Chasing Vermeer, Charlotte’s Web, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,The Sea of Trolls
- Titles with words that appeal to kids, like “spy,” “clue,” “game,” “secret,” puzzle,” “ghost,” etc. —11 Birthdays, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Westing Game, Harriet the Spy, The Golden Compass, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Lightning Thief
- Titles that intrigue — From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, A Mango-Shaped Space, A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears, Inkheart, The House of Scorpions, The Game of Sunken Places, A Great and Terrible Beauty
- Titles that delight or surprise or amuse — The True Meaning of Smekday, Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, Whales on Stilts, Toad Rage, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
- Titles that are pleasing to the ear, even if they don’t immediately reveal too much about the story — Alabama Moon, Grave Mercy, Journey to the River Sea, The Star of Kazan, Artemis Fowl, The Starry River of the Sky, The Amulet of Samarkand
(“Does the Title Fit?” Elizabeth Bluemle, ShelfTalker, June 6, 2013.)
Great points – even if some curmudgeons will point out that a title’s beauty is in the ear of the beholder. If you’re still stuck on titles like me, or just want a shot of fun in your writing day, check out the Lulu Titlescorer (also courtesy of Susan). Susan did point out that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone only scored about 40%, so you can make your own judgments as to its accuracy, wink, wink.
What’s your favorite title?