Thursday, October 7, 2010
What's in a Title?
Let's talk titles. What do you think makes a good title? One that is descriptive of the setting, the characters, the plot? Or is it a "you know it when you see it" kind of a thing? And the most important question of all-would you buy a book based on the title?
I have a reason for asking these questions-even though I generally stink at picking out a title, I thought I had a pretty good one for the "Jess McConkey" book. As I've mentioned, it was DIE STANDING (from a line in a Shania Twain song that originally started me thinking of the concept for this book). Notice I say "was"? After a conversation with my editor, the decision was made to change it. She didn't feel that it really fit the storyline. And yes, she wanted a title that I would like, so my opinion was solicited. BUT, since as stated, this is not my strong suit, I gave my blessing to whatever Emily, my editor, and the marketing team at Avon thought would be best. Here's what they decided:
LOVE LIES BLEEDING
Why? I wouldn't call this a romance. Well, the title is actually one of the common names for Amaranthus caudatus-a bush that was popular in Victorian gardens-and one does figure into the story line. I came up with the idea of using it for two reasons: 1. I've always thought it was a really cool name for a plant. 2. There's a bit of a spooky legend concerning it and The Villisca Axe Murders (a terrible case that took place here in Iowa in the early 1900's.) That's it-nothing deeper. No symbolism intended.
BUT, after this title was selected, I did a little digging and here's what I found out about the "essence" of Love Lies Bleeding. It is as follows:
"Love-Lies-Bleeding essence has proven to be a powerful balm for those undergoing great physical and psychic pain. When the soul has been stretched to the breaking point, it can enter another dimension of spiritual awareness."
Is my main character undergoing "great physical and psychic pain"? Pretty much-at the beginning of the story, she feels as if her entire life has been stripped away. She's lost and her main goal is to get her old life back.
After reading the above, here's what I'm thinking now-maybe this is the title the book should've had all along and we got nudged in that direction.
Am I reading too much into this? Is my assumption too woo-woo?
Maybe, but I'll tell you right now-if LOVE LIES BLEEDING hits the bestseller lists, I'm planting those suckers all over my yard!!! *g*
That's it for this week!! See you next Thursday!