The Ghostbusters theme has been ringing through my head this morning, because of a charmingly named article I’ve been corresponding about written by one of the agency’s clients. I’ve had “Paperback Writer” stuck in my head for days because of my own foolish blog post title from Friday. And I was once tormented for months by two projects I had on submission at the same time that had song lyrics as working titles.
Titles can certainly stick with us, especially when they’re allusions to something else. In college I took a class on literature of the “transition” with a professor who was fond of irrelevant tangents, so I often entertained myself by picking out book titles from the poetry course pack. WB Yeats’s “The Second Coming” alone is owed a debt of gratitude from the classics Things Fall Apart and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and if you search the poem’s key phrases you can find a surprising number of others. WWI era poetry has also provided authors quite a bit of inspiration.
And beyond songs and poetry, puns and movie titles provide a treasure trove of opportunities for books, especially series fiction. Our own Victoria Laurie’s two mystery series are a perfect example.
Unfortunately, titling books is often much, much harder than just coming up with something to reference. As agents, we often have a hand in helping to come up with great titles for our books—and brainstorming lists of options for each others’ clients can be both a fun and trying experience. Recently, after hundreds of choices were suggested and nixed for a particular book, I decided to consult the internet for help and stumbled upon a great and also hysterical tool for authors: author MD Benoit’s Random Title Generator (note: there are words that might offend some, so use with caution). We actually found a handful of really good titles—though none quite right for the book—and some that were so delightfully unfortunate we had to share those with each other, too. Click on over to the title generator and get yourself a new title for your masterpiece or a working title so atrocious it’ll help lighten the mood whenever you get frustrated with writers’ block.
But we think that you, our faithful blog readers, can do better than a random word combiner. So come up with the best bad fake book title you can and leave it in the comments—bonus points for giving us a logline or subtitle to give us context. We’ll take entries until the end of the day on Friday, select our favorites as finalists, and let you fine folks pick the winner here on the blog. Winner gets a shiny new DGLM water bottle!