Monday, March 5, 2012

Obsessing Over a Title

What is in a name? For titles of my Mitch Malone Mystery books, it is very important. After the cover, it is the first thing readers see. I’ve been struggling with the title for my fourth book that is coming out in late summer. In it my main character, Mitch Malone, starts on a new romance only to find out his love interest isn’t what she appears to be when she is killed in an explosion at a real estate office. While trying to bring her murderer to justice, he finds out things about her that make him wonder about her motives. The more he looks, the trail leads to city hall and some high ranking officials. Would they take such extreme action to further their goals on a land deal?

I have some of the longest titles because they each begins with “A Case of…” That started because the title of my first book was Infatuation and my publisher didn’t think it sounded like a mystery so she added "a case of" in front to make it more sleuthy. That worked and next came A Case of Accidental Intersection followed by A Case of Hometown Blues. I like my titles to have an obvious meaning and then a second meaning after you get to the end of the book.

I had a couple of ideas for titles but didn’t like them. My critic group is great with titles so I threw out my ideas and let them go. After a few funny ones, they gave me sixteen choices. I then narrowed it down to three:

A Case of False Security

A Case of the Combustible Affair

A Case of Volatile Deeds

I’ve spent a couple weeks obsessing about it but I’ve made the decision. And the winner is (in honor of the Oscars) A Case of Volatile Deeds. Now am just waiting to see if my publisher, Oak Tree Press, agrees.

What do you think about the title? Do you like long titles?

W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won't let anyone stop him, supposedly.


Patricia Kiyono said...

I don't like long titles, but I don't really think yours are long. Now that you have a series all starting with "A Case of..." what really counts is after that - and in all of your books that's only one or two words. I like "Volatile Deeds" - it sounds dangerous! Congratulations!

WS Gager said...

Thanks Patty. I'm glad you don't think they are too long. Sometimes when I'm rattling off the names I feel like they will never end!
W.S. Gager on Writing

Tess Grant said...

When I think of your books, I tend to lop off the "case of" part in my head (Infatuation, Hometown Blues, etc) so they still qualify as short to me. Looking forward to this one--it's going to be great!