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Friday, June 1, 2012

Coming Up with a Series Title

Recently, I had to frantically come up with a title for a book series in which Red and the Wolf will be the first book. I had thought about the need for a series title a time or two since I wrote it, but between edits and hunting for a publisher, for some reason, it slipped my mind.

So how does one come up with a series title?

I had lists of title ideas, all of which I hated. About the best I could come up with was that I thought Ever After should be part of it, since the series is all about what happens after Happily Ever After and when those endings aren’t so ideal as fairy tales would make them seem.

When choosing a series title, it’s important to keep in mind all the books in the series. Theme is especially helpful. You want a title that meshes with all the books in a series and is yet also evocative in and of itself.

Here are a few ideas that might help, all of which I tried:

1) Jot a list of every possible title that comes to mind and pick the one you like best. (I didn’t like any, so I had to try other things.)

2) Find an element you wish to suggest or evoke and toy with how it’s used. Change its part of speech, try it in different positions in the title, and experiment with means it could suggest.

3) Liberally use a thesaurus. If there’s a word or two that don’t quite fit, but they are on the right path, search the thesaurus. Sometimes seeing a word or following its synonyms can open up possibilities you had never thought of before.

4) This is the one I eventually resorted to. Call your critique partner and beg for help. (This can also work with a writing group, a spouse, or anything who knows your writing.)

My critique partner, Jessi Gage, came up in five minutes what I’d spent hours and hours agonizing over: Embracing Ever After. The reason I liked the title so much was because it included Ever After, the element I felt needed inclusion, because embracing is such a lush word, and because the title conveyed everything I wanted: romance, fairy tales, and action.

What helps you come up with series titles? What are some of your favorite series titles and why?

2 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I could help! It was fun thinking about your series and where you're planning to take it!

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  2. I had to come up with a series title for my series too. I made a list of all the words unique to my world/series and came up with a number of series titles based on them. And I posed the question to my critique groups, who came up with some great suggestions. I sent a list of the top five series titles to my editor, who picked the title Jessi Gage had suggested out of the list! So clearly Jessi is the queen of series titles :)

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