Wednesday 20 July 2011

Wednesday Writer's Corner - A Novel By Any Other Title

 Image courtesy of Simon Howden
Hello All! A couple of posts ago, I promised you some new personal memes and, by some miracle, I am still on track to deliver on that promise. This meme is based on the Wannabe Writers meme hosted by Confessions of the Un-Published. I will participate in the Wannabe Writers meme from time to time, but mostly, these post will be my outlet to rant   discuss my writing issues. This week's topic: How much do you change your novel, based on the opinions of friends/colleagues/writing groups?
          Let me preface this next section of angst by giving you a bit of background about my novel. It's a YA fantasy/sci-fi novel about a 17-year-old girl with psychic abilities. Her name is Willow. I so cleverly titled the novel Iron Willed. You know, a play on Willow's name and also a bit of a teaser about the subject of the book.
        I was feeling pretty smug about the whole thing until yesterday, when not one but two people told me the title was a dud, despite loving the story itself. One stated that there is also another book by that title but I can't find any reference to it in the web. After my initial meltdown quiet reflection, I am still in two minds about changing the title before I start querying. It took me forever to think up that title and I'm pretty attached to it. Plus, I would rather write another 80,000 word novel than try and think up a new title. Clearly I am horrible at this particular skill. There are such things a working titles right? What to do? I'm throwing the floor open to you guys. What do you think? Like the title? Wanted to throw up when you heard it? Comments please.


  1. I like the title - clever and catchy. And mysterious. Makes me wonder - who? why? what? and then i will read the back cover blurb and see the character's name is Willow and I do love a strong, assertive female character so its going to lure me in...
    Besides, if you love something/anything about your novel that much and feel that passionately about it - then you need to stay true to it. Keep it. (my humble opinion!)

  2. Thank Lani! I think my problem is that I am so easily influenced by the opinions of others. I do love the name. Willow if definitely not a weak female character :) She is the embodiment of our culturally insensitive discussion too! Seriously, I was super smug when I thought of the title. Next time, I'm paying someone to do it.

  3. I think the title is just fine! I've faced title dilemmas lately, but that's because the titles I have are more like placeholders that sound "good enough" to be the real title, but are not quite what they could be. Yours fits the premise of the novel. Just because another book has the same title doesn't mean you should change it. A lot of books share the same title. And two people's opinions shouldn't change yours. Take it under advisement, but do what you think is the right thing to do for your novel. ^_^

  4. Thanks so much Jessica. I think I really just needed some reassurance that I wasn't going out of my mind thinking the title was good when it wasn't and by extension, I was also somehow deluded about the book being good too. Appreciate the advice!

  5. My opinion: it's your book, your creation and you know what works best for it. So take their opinion in stride and keep walking tall.

    But I do know where you're coming from. I made the mistake of showing one of my works in progress to people before the idea had firmly settled and I was so swayed by their opinion that I never finished it. It didn't feel like mine anymore.

    So you hang on to your title!

    The Word Fiend

  6. Shelagh: I have edited so much of my book because of the opinions of others that sometimes I wonder if I should scrap it all and just go back to the original copy. Sorry to hear that you never finished your novel. I might just ignore opinions until I get my first rejection letter. Thanks for the advice!

  7. I like the name it seems like it fits just by what you said. You're like me when it comes to titles I love to be able to play them off of what the story or characters are like so people kind of see off hand what it might be like. I usually have to sit back, and read what's been written, or think how I want people to perceive it. It's funny because some of the stories my friend writes she'll send me the description of what she's thinking, and she'll be like come up with a title for me. Like everyone else has said don't take what other people say to heart just know that it's only their opinion. Your opinions are the only ones that really matter because it's what you've worked hard on. Anyways I'm rambling. I hope you can tell I'm enjoying reading your older posts. :)

  8. Lan, I wouldn't worry. I'm hopeless at titles too, but publishers will change it if they don't like it. This has happened with my last few books. "The Cat Was A Spy" became "Your Cat Could Be A Spy", "Rolling Right Along" was the publisher's choice of title, I wasn't even asked, I had no title for "Crime Time" so my publisher, Paul Collins, created one. "Wolfborn" started as "Bisclavret", a title I still prefer, but the publishers said - probably reasonably - that no one would have a clue what the name was about (and soon after, people said to me, "Bisc - what?"). They gave me a choice of titles and that was the one I decided I could live with. When you sell your book, if the publishers think "Iron Willed" doesn't work, they will say so - and maybe they'll give you a choice too. :-)


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