Friday, May 20, 2011

Identity Crisis: Choosing a Book Title

My book is going through an identity crisis. Pulling my manuscript out of long hibernation has its benefits. Titles and names are not my strengths, and it shows. I didn’t see it before, but I now realize that not only does my novel need a new title, but in several cases my characters have also outgrown their names.

Book Title

As mentioned in a previous post, I need a new title. I really like Crude Awakening, but I wish there weren’t several other books with similar titles. That the other books are primarily nonfiction is at least some help, but it is also the reason for my reservations on a title that would otherwise be perfect. These are the result of brainstorming with fellow writers who are, mostly, much more talented in the title department than I am. I have included the more tongue-in-cheek suggestions to keep things fun.
  • Sundown
  • Near Sundown
  • Before Sundown (But most of the story happens after Sundown—the town, I mean.)
  • Sundown Flu
  • Deadline
  • Time Release
  • Dormant
  • Pandemic
  • Viral
  • Resurrected
  • Jurassic Yack (*groan*)
  • Terminal
  • Incurable
  • Time Pandemic
  • Even Dinosaurs Get the Flu (Brilliant! *lol*)
  • Time Kills
  • Killing Time
  • Deadline at Sundown (Too much like a Western?)
  • Time’s Up
  • Time’s Up at Sundown (I’m not such a big fan of apostrophes in titles.)
  • Dead Crude
  • Deadline Crude
  • Crude Deadline
  • Dateline: Pandemic (I prefer to avoid the colon, unless a subtitle is necessary.)
  • Crude Lies
  • Crude Exposure
  • Under Pressure (The Queen song springs to mind.)
  • Virulent
  • The Source
  • Surviving Time
  • Carrier
  • Time Strain
  • Time in a Bottle (Anther song)
  • Crude Deception
  • Crude Timing
  • Suspended Time
  • Crude Awakening
  • Texas-T and the T-Rex (*lol*)
  • Drilling for Trouble
  • Refining Time
  • Refining Death
  • Refining Lies
  • Pandemic Time
It helps to see them in a list. I even came up with a new idea. Please vote in my title poll. (Expired)

Character Names

I reworked character names in a fun brainstorming session with my friend/sounding board, a.k.a. hubby. It helps to say names out loud. I also did a few searches on popular baby names by year, based on the character’s age, and name meanings. Meet my main character.

Newbie science journalist, Jacqueline Nicole Davenport, doesn’t feel she lives up to her elegant name. She prefers the snappiness of the nickname Jackie. She is quick to throw out an interview question, and then she mostly keeps her mouth shut; you learn a lot by listening. Just don’t push her too far.

And my most important secondary character.

Preston James Scott, PhD, physicist and director of a secret research project in time travel, doesn’t worry much about his name one way or the other. Preston answers readily to his given name, Dr. Black, or Director, as long as you let him get on with his research. "Exactly. Have you seen my glasses?”


  1. ***Spoiler Alert***

    The Omegagen (from omega pathogen; the last pathogen of the dinosaurs; alternatively the last great pathogen that can potentially wipe out the human race)


    Saurigen (from Saurischia and pathogen. Saurischia is the Order that T-rex belongs to)

  2. I still really like Dormant, but I understand why you don't want to go that route. Naming is such a difficult process, both titles and character names. I find it the most difficult part of writing, next to blurbing. I'm a terrible blurber. :(

  3. Thank you for the title ideas!

    I am leaning more strongly in favor of Dormant. There is something to be said for a snappy, one-word title.

    Coral: Thanks for the empathy on the naming front, and for the vote for Dormant!

  4. You know, I'm becoming more fond of Before Sundown each time I read it. Has a nice resonance with the time traveling aspect and the name of the town both.

    Okay, now I'm really not helping am I? Sorry, I'm probably worse at choosing titles than anyone.

  5. LOL. Nope, not helping, though I appreciate you posting the suggestion. My fear with Before Sundown is that it might sound too much like a western.