The title for my first novel, With Perfect Clarity, was there from the start. The main character is Emma, a ghost who believes she remembers her murder down to the last detail … but she actually doesn’t. This concept – and the phrase “with perfect clarity” – was part of the original story idea, so the title was clear from the very beginning.
This is not always the case …
Right now I have three in progress novels, as well as seven short stories that I am polishing and having edited by the wonderful DeAnna Knippling, who is a great editor and a very talented author. Out of these ten stories, only five have their final titles. The rest have working titles like “Pond Girl,” which is the novel I’m focusing on right now. That is the worst out of the bunch, to be sure, but it does serve to illustrate how challenging it can be to come up with a title that fits the story and makes you interested in reading it. It’s especially frustrating when a story is done and you still don’t have a good title!
I’ve been thinking about titles for the past week, partly because I need to finalize a few soon, and partly because my mom recently found a letter I wrote when I was 10 or 11. I was a big fan of the books about Elsa the lioness by Joy Adamson. The first time I read Born Free was in first grade, and I still remember how enthralled I was. Apparently I was enough of a fan to write a letter to the author, although I never actually sent it.
My mom and I had a good laugh when we discovered this! 🙂
Since I wrote this letter at least 15 years after Adamson published her books about Elsa, my title idea wouldn’t have been very helpful. At least I was cognizant enough to realize my suggestion was probably a little too late. But it was a pretty good title!
I have expanded my list of favorite animals to include dogs, lest you worry. We have been sadly cat-less for a few years, and will remain so until that magical day when we remodel the house and have a decent place for a litter box.
Of course, even when we do get cats they probably won’t go on our daily hikes …