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Thread: Ever had a title go along with one book and then change in meaning?

  1. #1
    Summer time Blues Pamster's Avatar
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    Question Ever had a title go along with one book and then change in meaning?

    Just curious as to if anyone else has had this happen. You work on something, under one title, then after it's done and you've even queried agents on it under that first title you were 98% certain FIT the story, only to find someone says something about it and it triggers another story entirely?

    Ever had this happen to you? The title in question is "A Story of Two Pams" which has now become another story. The old work has become, "Things Could Be Worse" and I was just thinking about how unusual this is for me, usually titles are pinned down and stay the same for me, but this one changed. I have just started writing it yesterday and got almost 30 pages done, so I am proud of it so far.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Claudia Gray's Avatar
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    Well, years ago, I thought of one potential book called Evernight. It was a sort of cyber-thriller in the distant future. I put the word Evernight on everything (notebooks, etc.) because I was so psyched about the project -- and it crashed and burned. For years, every time I saw that word on something around here, I felt like a failure.

    Then when I started working on the vampire books, it occurred to me that Evernight was a good, creepy, Gothic sort of a word and might fit a vampire book. And that's the title it sold under. So I'm REALLY glad I got to reuse that title and redefine what it meant to me.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW WordGypsy's Avatar
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    My WIP started out as kind of a fictional memoir called Our Song, then it took a drastic turn into left field. At some point I stopped calling it Our Song and started referring to it as Ripples. I like that one much better and it fits so much more. I don't know if it's even close to a final title...I'm sure it's one of those things I'll agonize over for the few days of writing query letters.
    A Touch Mortal--Feb 22, 2011!!GreenWillow/HarperCollins

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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    I used to make the mistake of writing a book based upon a title. I did my writing this way for my first three or four manuscripts, when I was 11 to about 13 years old.

    I had some great ideas for the stories, but titling the works before I wrote them actually limited how I could tell the stories. Because of this, those first manuscripts were trunked only three or four pages into the original versions.

    Eventually, I found if I wrote the story first, then titled it after I finished the 1st Draft, I could come up with a decent title (most of the time -- I have had some bad experiences but not too many) based on the story.

    Yet with my present WIP, I find I've changed the story title twice. The original title was Wuhrvia; the second Promised World; and now the title is The Redemption of Jonathan Rahn. The manifold changes came when I added storyline to make the whole manuscript longer. And now the story is in many ways completely different than the original version (this is why I write my progress reports on this particular WIP as 'Second Draft' instead of what should be the sixth or seventh draft).

    So yes, I've experienced what you asked about in the OP, Pamster. The stories I write now change so much that the titles have to be adapted or they won't make any sense when the work is finished.

  5. #5
    Know what you write...
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    Yes, I originally had trouble titling the story I have in the short fiction forum for review, so when the time came to name the file, I called it "Bad Soup", because the soup was what sparked the story to begin with.

    By the time it was up for review, I changed its name to "Thumbs Down".

    It's a rare occurence with me though. I usually pin down a title quite soon without changing it.

  6. #6
    Summer time Blues Pamster's Avatar
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    I figured others had run into this, I am glad that it's working out to be a better book, not sure if the 3rd person perspective I wrote will go anywhere, maybe in time it will get published but first to come is Walk of Fire if I am lucky and get a query written up that can spark some interest in it from either a publisher or agent. Thanks for the great replies everyone.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Tachyon's Avatar
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    I have a really good title that has been squatting in my mind for about a year or two. I've attempted at various times to start a story with it, all of which have had common elements but different settings. Unfortunately, I can just never find the right setting and conflict to actually make a story, and a title alone isn't very much of a novel.

    One day though. . .one day. . . . MUWAHAHAHAHA.

  8. #8
    I Heart Mac Absolute Sage Lauri B's Avatar
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    Interesting. . .
    I rarely come up with titles for my books, mostly because I know the publisher is likely to change it. And I don't care very much what the titles are, anyway. But maybe that's because I write nonfiction. I like handing over the responsibility for titling the book to someone else. That way I can complain about it without having to take responsibility for it.

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