Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What comes first the book or the title?

I coach writers as part of the services we offer. During my coaching sessions I discuss titles for books. The title and cover are very important to your sales potential. Writers ask me, how to come up with a stellar title? The answer:

Inspiration!

Where does inspiration come from?

Creativity!

Can you force creativity? I don't know. Creativity exists in every profession, including science. It's the ability to look at something entirely different. 

What came first, the creativity or the inspiration?

I think in some ways they bubble up together. An inspired thought is often a creative thought. A creative thought is an inspired thought. The proverbial all-time chicken or the egg question. 

For me when I come up with titles it's often the title creates the story. When I came up with the idea to do the California Girl Chronicles series, I thought of the title first. I thought that sounded like a great title. The next question I asked myself: what would a California girl's life be like? And thus Brea and the City of Plastic was born. She would be the manifestation of what a "California girl" would be like, and her experiences would be the quintessential California girl. 

My next work of fiction Body in the Trunk -- same process. The title hit me. Then I back filled the ideas around it. 

So back to the question, how do you come up with a great title? I don't have a specific answer. Some people write their books first and then a title organically springs up from the process. Some people like me come up with the title first.

Ultimately, inspiration isn't quantitative. It's qualitative and cannot be created or measured. It can be a flash of light in the mind. The only thing I say, is always keep intelligent people around you. If someone is your muse and they inspire you somehow keep them in your inner circle. A great muse is hard to find!

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