For some people, the titles of their manuscripts come naturally, and maybe even are planned before they start writing the piece. With my haphazard style though, that sort of planning usually comes last. Not that I don’t care about my story–that’s not the case. For me, the heart of the characters and the core of the story always come before details though, and so that’s what I establish first. However, it’s definitely led to some weird substitute titles in the meanwhile–Seer Story, Piracy Tale, etc.
And when I sit down to the drawing board, more often than not, I can’t detach enough to think of something clever to encapsulate the story I just wrote. I’ve tossed around some pretty terrible names before, ones that would get booed off the stage. My husband has helped me brainstorm in the past, since he’s read most of my novels. Usually between the two of us, or between me and a good friend, something ends up hitting the wall and sticking.
Today for example, I was working on my current novella, a twisted version of the Hans Christian Andersen story, String of Pearls. And until recently, it was just titled String of Pearls for convenience’s sake. However, once I started trying out different thematic titles, I hit a lot of misses before finally snagging that resonant one. What did I come up with? A Soul Solution–kind of an odd title, and a bit of a pun, but I liked how it thematically worked given character motivations, but also worked with the reversal of the character motivations at the end of the story.
So today, I consider my title-choosing a win!