Wednesday 26 April 2017

It's all in the title.

A few tongue in cheek Welsh titles you might recognise.
The title of the book - that's the thing, along with the cover, that tells you what is likely to be between the covers - and whether you are likely to enjoy reading it. So - the title need to tell you something. It needs those buzz words that register in your brain to make you pick or click. There are a lot of jokes around at the moment about every book having to have the word 'Girl' or the word 'Cupcake' in the title, or maybe both.

But in our time-starved lives, buzz words can be a great help.

On the romance side, the current vogue for books set in places that can be thought of as comforting is clear in titles that use words like 'little' and 'cosy' and are set in bookshops, tea-shops, cafes, guest houses and beach huts. Summer, beach and sunshine are up there too. Maybe we're all looking for something small and familiar in a turbulent world? A while ago the fashion was for historic mansions and gardens, usually in need to renovations, but we seem to have downsized a bit lately.

On the thriller side, 'secrets' and 'lies' are very current - but then, secrets never go out of fashion. And, of course, those words that conjure atmosphere, like 'dark', 'silent', 'dying', 'evil', 'scream'. You know that you might be sleeping with the light on if you chose one of those.

I'm a sucker for titles with destinations in them, but they have to be sunny and what I consider to be glamorous. Antarctica probably wouldn't do it for me. Mysterious would - I enjoy Elly Griffiths' books set in the Fens, with more than a touch of the spooky about them, and I am incubating a few set in my native Wales that I hope will draw on some of the folklore and supernatural elements that are part of the Welsh landscape. Land of Legends is the theme chosen for this year by Visit Wales and there are a couple of links at the bottom of the post that you might like to explore.

And don't get me started on TRAINS. They are becoming an addiction. Anything with Orient Express in the title gets me, and the classic mysteries that are set on trains, and I have just finished Andrew Martin's Night Trains, non fiction, and sub titled 'The rise and fall of the sleeper', in which he attempts to re-create some of the famous night train journeys of the past, with varying degrees of success. I really enjoyed it. I've never traveled on a sleeper. It's on the bucket list.

And I just remembered that what I hope will be the Christmas novella has an opening scene involving a train. And it's set in the Brecon Beacons.

I think I've wandered a bit from my start point of titles. My preoccupations are showing as I need to make a start on editing and tidying up that novella if it's going to get submitted for a chance at the Christmas list.

And of course, it will need a good title.

Visit Wales - Land of Legends
Literature Wales - Interactive map


  1. Funny how there are certain trends in titles - I always wonder if they come from the authors or publishers, and how much say an author has in keeping the original title they came up with.

    As for sleeper trains, I have happy memories of taking the sleeper from Bristol to Inverness with my Mum and brother every summer when we went to visit Granny even further north. I'm not sure Mum's memories are quite so happy as my brother and I were never asleep at the same time... and I have less fond memories of being groped on a sleeper while inter-railing through Yugoslavia. It certainly wasn't on the Orient Express, though. I'm sure that would be a much more civilised journey... although if you see a funny-looking Belgian detective, maybe not?

    1. Hi Kath. I suspect the sales department has a hand in some choices of titles, but it is only a suspicion :)
      Sounds like your train experiences were a bit hair raising. As were a few of Andrew Martin's, but I really enjoyed the book, which helped to convince me it would have to be the posh sort of sleeper, Belgian detectives, notwithstanding.

  2. Looking forward to the novella so get busy :) As to sleepers I do remember one quite vividly - not to be repeated here! Angela Britnell

    1. Hi Angela. I seem to have stirred up something with the reference to sleeper trains!