Title Trauma by Mae Clair

As I post this, I’m knee deep in writing the second book of my Point Pleasant series. That means it’s time to start thinking about the third novel. I’ve got a general idea what that book is about—the legendary curse of Chief Cornstalk on the town of Point Pleasant. I even have my character backgrounds and a (highly) sketchy outline.

What I don’t have is a title.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with titles. On rare occasions, I have one before I start writing. That was the case for WEATHERING ROCK, TWELFTH SUN, and A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. Other times, once I sit down and dwell on the key points of a story, a title magically appears. Ta-da! That’s what happened with my current WIP, A COLD TOMORROW. The title is a perfect fit.

And then there are the problem children like FOOD FOR POE, SOLSTICE ISLAND, and ECLIPSE LAKE. All of those went through title trauma before I arrived at the final product. In the case of SOLSTICE ISLAND, I even ran a poll on my blog asking readers to choose between several.  So, guess what this post is about? 🙂

A black cat sitting on a sidewalk, looking toward the camera

Yep, book three of the Point Pleasant series needs a title. It has to be three words, start with an “A” and relate to time I some manner.

Book 1:  A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS
Book 2: A COLD TOMORROW
Book 3: *crickets* Please help! 🙂

Since the title for book one references the past and book two the future, I initially wanted book three to have a title related to the present. But everything I tossed around (today, now, present) all seem clumsy in a title.  Ugh!  I’ve since moved past that concept, but if anyone has an idea, I’m open to suggestions.

What I’ve focused on now is a phrase that will play a key part toward the end of book two. I want that phrase to become the title of book three. As I haven’t written the ending yet, the phrase is still up for grabs. These are a few I’ve been kicking around:

A fractured moment (or hour)
A broken moment (or hour)
A shattered moment (or hour)

An untitled book coverWhat am I missing? Are there other elements of time I could be using? Do any of these resonate with you as a title? For the record, I think A BROKEN HOUR is kind of clumsy when it rolls off the tongue. Right now I’m leaning toward the last one…A SHATTERED MOMENT or A SHATTERED HOUR. There is, however, a novel already out there with the title A SHATTERED MOMENT, so that probably squashes the idea. I try not to duplicate titles so my books are easier to find. I mean who the heck calls a book TWELFTH SUN?

What do you think? Do you like any of the above? Do have any other ideas? Should I draw the winner out of a hat, consult a Magic 8-Ball, or flip a coin?

Ooo, I just had a thought (inspiration strike! Thank you, Mr. E!). What about A CURSED MOMENT or A CURSED HOUR? The book is about a curse, so that kind of plays into the plot. I just checked Amazon and no other authors have used it. See what writing this post has done? 😀

What do you think?

27 thoughts on “Title Trauma by Mae Clair

  1. Yes, I think , you found yourself the right answer – A cursed hour/moment.
    There aren’t, for the moment, other books with this title. I know this process is sometimes more annoying than meeting a deadline.
    I had the uninspired moment and called my story Shadows of the Past! Later, I discovered there are no less than 36 other books with the same name!!! I was shocked but learned my lesson.
    Best of luck with finishing the series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it’s really hard to find a title that hasn’t already been used in one form or another. I’ve been fairly lucky that most of my titles are odd, although I think there is now another Myth and Magic.

      Still struggling with this one, but leaning toward the curse-thing if I can make it tie into the plot. Fortunately, I still have some time, although it’s like a puzzle I have to keep picking at. 🙂 Happy Monday!

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  2. Hmm, I agree, titles can be tricky. I really like A Shattered Moment or A Cursed Moment. You’re right, “hour” just doesn’t roll off the tongue very nicely. A Moment Cursed? A Shattered Today? Anywho, good luck on picking a title. I know you and Mr. E will come up with something great! (And no, you can’t borrow my Muse today; I’m this close to finishing my WIP draft 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to get “today” in there if possible even though the curse actually took place in the past (1700s). I also like “shattered” but apparently so do a lot of other authors, LOL.

      Glad to hear your muse has you close to finishing your WIP. I wish I could say the same. You’re going to have to keep him away from Mr. E. until I’m done–no pub crawls, LOL!

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  3. A Cursed Moment works for me. Or A Present Cursed. I don’t know. Just tossing it out there. Good luck! I do the same thing, endless searches to make sure the title doesn’t exist. Who needs more competition, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, tossing things around is what gets ideas flowing. It does seem that everyone likes the cursed-thing, so maybe I will stick with that. Unless some monumental flash of inspiration strikes. And yes, I’m with you on researching the titles. I don’t want to come up at the bottom of a page (or even later) because I used a popular title. I’d rather be obscure. I think sometimes titles like that stick in your mind better, too. 🙂

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    • No worries, Emma. I’ve been drawing a blank, too. A Cursed Hour rolls a lot better than a shattered one. Maybe I will toss that into the pot, too.

      Oh, and yes, those books were definitely problem children, LOL. Lots of grief in settling on a title!

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  4. Titles are a weakness for me, too. Seldom do I think of ones I like, and when I do, they’re either already taken or the publisher changes it or the book takes a turn and it no longer fits. Wish I could be more help.

    Throwing my two cents into the voting, however, I like A Fractured Moment. “Fracture” evokes images of damaged bones or broken glass. Both fragile items and fragile people. Things that can be damaged, but also things that could be repaired… presuming the fractures didn’t result in millions of tiny shards. And what, then, are the implications if they did?

    I’m probably reading too much into it, and I’m clearly not in the majority. But I also think there are probably fewer titles with “Fractured” in the title than with “Shattered” in it.

    Whatever way you go, I’m certain the novel will be great. Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent thoughts, Staci. I like the idea of damage that can be healed. There’s a good chance of working that concept into the theme of the book. Right now I’m still struggling to finish book 2, but that line/title has to play a key part at the end.

      Thanks for the input. I’ve loved hearing everyone’s ideas.
      And so glad you’re looking forward to the novel! 🙂

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    • I’m leaning toward cursed, too. And the more I say “A Cursed Hour” the less cumbersome it feels. It does roll off the tongue. I also like Fractured, but I think Shattered is out. That one appears too common.

      Thanks for helping me brainstorm, Flossie!

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    • Glad to know I’m not the only one that struggles with titles. I don’t know why they’re so hard (wrapping up a whole novel in a few words maybe?) but for the most part they’re pretty elusive. Every once in a while though — gold at the start, LOL.

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