Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Name Game

Last time I wrote about my favorite book covers so I think it’s only fitting to discuss my favorite book titles this time around.

I prefer titles that are a play on words or some kind of twist on everyday phrases (particularly if the book is a comedy). I especially love it if the title not only comments on the story, but on the subtext as well. Over the years, I’ve written books with titles I’ve loved, titles I’ve merely been fond of, and maybe a few with titles that were kind of meh. Often, coming up with the right title is the hardest part of the book. (LOVE, HOLLYWOOD STYLE was a particularly difficult title to come up with. It was inspired by a TV show from the seventies that I’ve never actually seen.) On the flipside, the idea file on my computer is filled with really awesome titles that I have yet to figure out the plots that go with them. I have two whole mystery series planned out based on the titles alone. Hopefully, someday they’ll have stories to go with them.

Until then, these are some of my favorite YA titles…

I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter (One of my favorite titles ever!)
THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS by our very own Kelly McClymer
SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT by Derek Landy (It’s both a title AND a character name. Très exciting!)
THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by E. Lockhart (Any YA title with the word “Disreputable” in it has my vote.)

What are some of your favorite titles?

P.S. If any of you are going to be at BEA in Los Angeles this weekend, I’ll be signing DRAMA! SHOW, DON’T TELL (one of my personal favorite titles) on Friday at 3:00 at table 15 in the autographing area. Bop on by if you can.


Jennifer Echols said...

I like all those titles too, because they give you a concrete noun to hang onto and remember. Along those lines, I'm really looking forward to the July release of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE by Stephanie Kuehnert. I've been trying to think of a title that cool for my book coming out with MTV Books next March. At first I called it BOY IN BLUE; my editor didn't like that title, and we settled on RUNNING TO STAND STILL; at the moment it's called THE GHOST OF YOU. I wouldn't be surprised if we changed it again.

P.J. Ruditis said...

SO been there, Jenn.

I like all three of those titles. I hope one of them sticks.

Aimee Friedman said...

Ooh, I really like THE GHOST OF YOU.

Titles are so hard! Most of my books have gone through several title iterations. My original title for THE YEAR MY SISTER GOT LUCKY was THE SECRETS OF THE WILDER SISTERS. I think my editor was brilliant in suggesting the title we ended up going with.

I like the story that Stephenie Meyer's original title for TWILIGHT was FORKS. The book might have been received in a very different way with that as its title! Thank goodness for editors sometimes, is all I have to say...

My newest book, the one I am working hard on now, has just been blessed with a title: SEA CHANGE. It's a love story set on a mysterious island, so I feel the title suits it well and I'm excited about it.

Great post. P.J. And good luck picking the best title, Jenn!

Jennifer Echols said...

Thanks P.J. and Aimee! THE YEAR MY SISTER GOT LUCKY is a brilliant title. FORKS is not.

Thank goodness for editors

Absolutely & hallelujah.

Kelly McClymer said...

Squee! To see my title in the top five! I still remember hearing Ally Carter's I'D TELL YOU... title and being immensely envious. Who can't pick up a book with that title?

Titles are hard, but THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS actually came into my head before I wrote the book and I was lucky to keep the title. Others have had to be batted back and forth between me, my editor and anyone I could get to play "let's find a good title" with me.


Micol Ostow said...

Those are all such great titles! I agree, titling is super-difficult.
A friend of mine has a great book: Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters. It's a mouthful, but it really tells you what you're in for. It doesn't hurt that there's a French bulldog on the cover as well.

I also love Devilish. So inviting.