Do you ever pick up a book and read the back cover, simply because you liked its title?
Can you judge a book by the cover, or, in this case, the title?
Can a title make or break a book? I often think so. That’s why it seems so important for me to choose just the right one for mine.
I’m pretty satisfied with “Autumn in Vermont” for the name of my first novel still in editing stage. However, my second manuscript, which is a work in progress, is–I gotta say it–another story.
I’m only about halfway through my first draft, yet I feel a need to “name” it, at least temporarily, until I find out what it will become in the end. Kind of like giving your unborn child an in-utero nickname like “the Alien”, or “Jellybean.” (For the record, I never felt compelled to call my own children anything other than “the baby.” As far as my writing goes, “the book” just doesn’t do it for me.)
For my drafting purposes, I’ve temporarily been using “Sawyer’s Bend” because that’s the name of the town around which the story centers. It’s serving me well enough now, but I’m not resigned to it for the long haul, by any means. In fact, I can see this novel growing into a sequel or even a trilogy, and then “Sawyer’s Bend” would no longer fit.
Still, part of me wishes I could have enough foresight to give it a more permanent name while I’m still in the midst of creating it, or at least some ideas. I’m coming up with nothing.
Perhaps that’s the wrong line of thinking, though. Maybe going into it with a title stuck in my head now would shape my story into something it was never meant to be in the first place. It would be like stubbornly sticking to the name “Sue” after finding out you had a ten pound baby boy. Sure, it could make a catchy line in a country song, but how will it shape his future?
You’d have to be open to change somewhere along the way.
What about other writers out there? Do you have a title in mind when you start drafting a new book? How often do you stick with the same one when it’s all said and done? I’m curious, so please post your comments here.