A rose by any other word would smell as sweet.
Yeah, yeah, Juliet; we’ve all heard that one. But when it comes to choosing a title for a novel, you want something that fits and is not just an arbitrary assignment of words, as Little Miss Capulet seems to propound.
My first novel was just going to called “Leporello” but I found there is already a novel with that title. Damn. Someone got there before me. So I added “on the Lam” and it’s much better. It’s quirkier. It hints at the nature of the book as well as the plot. This book is not just about someone called Leporello, but it’s about someone called Leporello who is on the run. So there.
My second book was always going to be called “Someday My Prince” which is, of course, a quote from a song in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It sets the fairytale scene and seems to be about waiting for something to happen, for someone to come along. Imagine then, my dismay, to discover someone else had already pipped me to that particular post, with some kind of chick-lit, contemporary novel. Grrr!
So, I added a comma. Punctuation is more important than most people realise. The proper title, although some searches don’t know it, is “Someday, my Prince” which changes the meaning and is also how the quotation appears within the story itself.
There were no such problems with my third novel, Octavius Mint and the Indigo Dragon. Yay for originality!
Along came the fourth… And, wouldn’t you know it? there was already a book called “Blood and Breakfast“. Drat and double drat. I didn’t want to give up on this, so I went with “Blood & Breakfast“, the ampersand proving a lifesaver. I didn’t want to lose the “B&B” associations and didn’t want to go down the “B ‘n’ B” route. So, I got what I wanted.
There are many examples of books out there that share a title. I plan to try harder to avoid this. Just like Highlander, there can be only one!
Which brings me to my fifth novel. This is currently being written and as I enter the home stretch I wonder what I’m going to call the thing. The title I want has already been used. I can contract the first two words so that “I Am” becomes “I’m” but, well, I dunno…
I could go with something unrelated to that idea but still fits the book like a – like a dust jacket.
It’s a quandary and one I must tackle over the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, authors of the world, please stop writing books with titles I want to use.
Juliet, thinking about roses and names and words and shiz.