Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Where Do You Get Your Titles?

The quick answer--many different places.

For my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, the title came from a friend, who from out of the blue emailed me and said, your next book should be called Murder in the Worst Degree. My reaction? Sure, why not.

Okay, I had the title, now what on earth should I write? I started with only a few plot ideas, certainly not sure how I would work in the title. Did it matter? No in the least. I wrote and I wrote and near the end, the words in the title fit the plot. You'll have to wait until March of 2014 to find out how.

The previous RBPD mystery, Dangerous Impulses, I was completely finished and had no idea what the title should be so I turned to my writing group that had the tale from start to finish, and one of the group came up with the exact title I needed. The concept of dangerous impulses covers many of the happenings in the story.

I had no trouble at all coming up with a title for No Bells. Part of the plot came from what one of my son's former girlfriends said to him when she broke up with him.

Angel Lost was easy too, the title refers to two major incidents in the story.

And before that was an Axe to Grind. No problem with that one either, the opening crime made the title easy.


No Sanctuary was a cinch since it involved two churches, and the final scene takes place in one of th churches which definitely was not a sanctuary.

The idea for Smell of Death came from my police officer son-in-law who said movies, TV and books never conveyed the horrific smell of death. (They've gotten better about that in recent times.)

Though most of the cops in my RBPD mysteries are good--or at least normal men and women, in Fringe Benefits the villain and main character is a bad cop, one who takes great advantage of his job. This is the book where Officer Gordon Butler first comes on the scene. (Easy title to come up with.)

#2 in the series, Bad Tidings refers to the bad news that the police often have to deliver--and sometimes get themselves.


When I wrote Final Respects I had no idea it would become a series. Once I'd finished it, I had no trouble at all knowing what the title should be. I wish all titles were as easy to decide upon.

And there you have it--the whole history of choosing titles for the Rocky Bluff P.D series.

Now it's your turn. How do you come up with titles for you books? Or if you're a read and not a writer, do titles help you choose a book to read?

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


linda maria frank said...

I think writing is the hardest of all the arts. Painters have paint, sculptors have clay, etc. Writers have words that jangle about in the brain, and if we are lucky, by some synaptic miracle, form a title, a plot and some good sentences. My titles come from two places, a combination of the particular mystery or crime that is the focus of the book, and a setting that affords me a visual that connects to that plot. It can be as simple as a street sign. Annie Tillery comes from a traffic jam on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway at the Tillary St. exit. Linda Maria Frank, author of Annie Tillery Mysteries.

Morgan Mandel said...

Great titles! They are important, and I admire those who come up with clever ones!

Morgan Mandel

Barry Knister said...

I think it's fair to say you have a gift for titles. In my own case, that gift is missing. My latest mystery, The Anything Goes Girl, was originally titled Blue Sky Six. That first title made sense in relation to the story, but told the reader nothing about what was inside. I have just finished the final edit of a second mystery, and I am paralyzed as to what to call it. In the end, I suspect my cover designer will have to make the decision. A sad admission, isn't it?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

It's not always easy, but sometimes the title is obvious.