I’m reaching the stage in my manuscript where a title would be useful. I know it’s not essential, but it would help me.
I could go down the Harry Potter or Jane Eyre route. Both characters are expertly named. Harry’s is an ordinary name for a far-from-ordinary boy. Jane sounds plain, with a touch of something extra in the surname, just like the heroine. In Rebecca it takes the entire book to find out what Rebecca was really like; at the same time we never learn the first name of her successor. Clever!
A more oblique way of naming a book for a character is found in The Woman in White. We meet her at the beginning of the story; she is pivotal to the plot, but it takes most of the book to find out why. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the title alludes to the notion that although the tenant is central to the story, no one knows anything about her.
My story is about two people and so they should both be in the title. Romeo and Juliet works for Shakespeare, but probably not for me. Perhaps I could use The Prince and Pauper idea, but my main characters are not so easily categorised.
I could take my inspiration from Pride and Prejudice. Angry and Stubborn? No, I need alliteration. Snappy and Snotty? Artful and Ardent? I’d better keep thinking.
The 39 Steps is an important clue to solving the mystery. Do I have three or four words that are key to my story? I don’t think so. Austen, Adams and Eliot went for place names – Mansfield Park, Watership Down, Middlemarch. Kellerthrale is an important place in this story. Kellerthrale? Does that work?
How about taking an important object from the story like The Silver Sword. I do have something I could use, but if I give it away in the title it may spoil the read.
House of Cards is what I would call a clever title. It describes the book perfectly while giving nothing away. On the other hand My Family and Other Animals tells us everything about the book and yet I am still inspired to pick it up. Oh! for a title like, To Kill a Mockingbird or Of Mice and Men. Perhaps I’m simply not clever enough.
I’ve just discovered there are entire websites dedicated to finding titles, which is heart warming. I am not the only one who struggles. Perhaps I should take a look.
I may take some time.