I’ve been having a problem lately. Or rather I’ve been having a problem for the last nine months (no, not that problem). Since beginning writing my third novel I’ve been having a problem with coming up with a title.
At first it didn’t bother me too much, I thought it’ll come when it’s ready. Once the book was a bit more formed, something would present itself.
But it didn’t.
But there was still time. Still many more drafts to go through. Something was bound to occur to me by then.
But it didn’t.
I started racking my brains, trying to remember when and how the titles for the previous two had arrived. To be fair, Stolen and Gone are not the most imaginative titles, but they do work. They feel right.
I wondered at keeping the single word title thing going and started thinking of the perfect word to sum up the book. But nothing seemed right.
With Stolen, I got about halfway through writing and decided I needed a title because I was tired of just calling it “the book”. So I chose Stolen and in the (long) time between writing that first draft and it eventually being published, the name kind of stuck. There were talks of changing it for publication but in my mind it would always be Stolen and in the end no one could think of something more fitting.
With Gone, again it was a similar thing. A working title to stop me calling it “Book 2” and Gone seemed to come up again and again. By the time publication came around, I couldn’t think of it being called anything else.
Titles were easy!
And then came “Book 3” which is what the third book has been called for the past nine months. There was no working title I could think of that worked. But I was going to have to think of something soon.
I started looking at song titles, lyrics, quotes, anything to help shake some ideas out. And it helped. I started writing lists of possibilities. Most were terrible, some were okay. And there were a couple that I really liked. So I sent the ideas off to my editor who agreed that they were good ideas, unfortunately, other books were about to be published with the same name.
So it was back to the drawing board. Again and again and again.
I did consider Untitled #1 for a while (I thought I’d better add the #1 in case I had the same problem with future books) but it didn’t seem very eye catching.
In the end though, after a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, with the deadline for a decision to be made looming largely, a title emerged. With all the other possibilities I thought they were things that would draw a reader in, but none felt like the perfect fit. And then, a last minute thought occurred and it just seemed right.
So now I can stop calling the book “Book 3” and use its proper name.
And its proper name?
Tell Me Lies.
Wasn’t so hard, was it?