.And The Title Is...

by Charlotte Bennardo

I have no freaking clue.

photo courtesy of Pexels, Inc, Energepic

I'm working on a new book and a title is eluding me. Whether it's for young adult, middle grade, chapter book, or even picture books, a title is a necessary thing. Sometimes we authors (with the okay from the editor) can take the easy way out and use one word, like Owls. If it's non-fiction, how easy is that? Trucks! Photography. And just as easy are several-word titles like: The Titanic. Amelia Earhart. The Civil War. Composing non-fiction titles I can do in my sleep.

Now fiction... sigh. Sometimes the titles come to me easily, like in my young adult novel, Ripples on Water. It's a line in the book, where a mischievous faerie is told by the King that the effects of her actions will be like... wait for it: ripples on water. It jumped out at me. That'a how it usually happens; I'm reading the manuscript and I know what the title will be, almost like the line or word is in bold, it's so obvious.

For my middle grade series, Evolution Revolution is the series name because that's what the book is about, a sudden intellectual evolution of a squirrel who learns how to use machines. So book one is Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines. The second book is Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans and the third is Evolution Revolution: Simple Lessons. All the titles reflect the main idea behind that book. Easy, peasey.

But now I'm struggling to find a title for my new YA sci fi, an homage to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (which had a sub-title: Or, The Modern Prometheus). I cannot for the life of me construct a title. And even if I figure out what I think is the perfect one, an editor may change it. (Keep in mind they can make you change your title and you may not like it. Just like artwork, you don't always have a say.) Sirenz was originally Sirens but the editor thought that the 'z' would be more modern and appealing, even though we never spelled it that way in the books.)

Whether it's from a line in the manuscript, or a description of some aspect of the story, titles need to be attention grabbers. My colleagues have listed numerous successful titles in their posts. So here are some of the worst, courtesy of Book Riot. (Some are risque, so I'm not including a link, you'll have to look it up on your own.)

1- Reusing Old Graves.
2- Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them
3- Fancy Coffins to Make Yourself
4- Corpses Say the Darndest Things
5- Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
6- What's Your Poo Telling You?
7- Divorcing A Real Witch
8- If God Loves Me, Why Can't I Get My Locker Open?

You have to wonder what the author and/or the editor was thinking (although to be fair, maybe the titles fit the books perfectly and that's the awful part.) Somehow I don't think any title I come up with can be this bad.

For fun, I made up several really, terribly, awful titles:

1. Everyone Really Hates High School, So There's No Happy Ending
2. Teen Drama, Get Over It
3. My Cat Beat Up Your Cat
4. Homework
5. Ask Your Mother What She Thinks
6. Chores I Love To Do
7. Playground Death Arena
8. How To Stuff Your Enemy Into A Locker

After the above, maybe the title I create for my manuscript won't be so bad... but then again... 


  1. My Cat Beat Up Your Cat made me laugh out loud.

    1. My cat really just puffs up- he looks huge. (Maine coon). He's a big cupcake at heart.

  2. I would actually read #1, 2, 3, and 8!


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