When a book title goes back to the drawing board

If you’re not an author, it may surprise you to know that sometimes, the title a writer originally gives a book doesn’t always stay the title of that book.  A lot of people chime in along the way, from agents and editors, to the sales reps who will ultimately be making sure that your book is available in stores. THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. for example, wasn’t always THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.   First it was SWINGER OF BIRCHES.  Then it was MAPLE GIRL.  Then there was a whole lot of brainstorming before we came up with the final title, which I love.

My new book, about a figure skater from a small-town maple farm who earns a scholarship to train with the elite in Lake Placid, was originally called SUGAR ON SNOW.  Even though I like the way that sounds, there are concerns that it doesn’t make the ice skating element of the book clear enough, so we’re working on new titles right now.  Brainstorming.  I sent a list of ideas to my editor a week or so ago, but none of those seem to be sparking joy and agreement either, so we’re trying again. 

I thought I’d share the process I used last night, since regular old brainstorming wasn’t helping me get at anything new.  First, I brainstormed a list of all the skating words I could think of and jotted them down.  SKATE, ICE, RINK, SPIRAL, SPIN, BLADES…and on and on. Then I wrote down other words that are important in the book.  SUGAR, MUSIC, SEASONS, SONGS, SPARKLE…you get the idea.  Then I did this…

Cutting up the list into little pieces allowed me to literally play with the words, move them around and try combinations that my brain might not have come up with on its own.  Kind of like a magnetic poetry set, but more impromptu.  It worked well, and I’ll try this again the next time I’m feeling title challenged.  Sometimes, there is value in just seeing things in a new way.  In play.

And I did send a new list of title ideas off to New York early this morning.  I’ll keep you posted…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Find Kate Online