Friday, October 30, 2009

What's In a Name?

This is a little off-topic, but I'll see if I can swing it around.

There's a singer by the name of Meat Loaf. You've heard of him, I'm pretty sure. So had I.

But did I ever bother to listen to him? Meat Loaf? I mean . . . seriously. You've got to be kidding. How bad could his real name be if he has to call himself Meat Loaf? What? He couldn't go for Prime Rib? And what in the world would his music mean to me? How in the world could it touch me—a middle-aged woman who quit counting her gray hairs a while ago? Give me Peter, Paul and Mary just about any old time . . .

Somehow I clicked on a video he made of a song titled Objects in the Rear View Mirror. I've saved it and listen to it fairly often. It makes me cry every time. Every. Single. Time.

Meat Loaf?

I only wish I could download it to my iPod. But then, I'd puddle into sogginess way more often than I have time for, so I guess it's for the best.

Now, to try and bring it around to writing, which is why we're all here in the first place (aside from those of you who are here only because you love me, and really don't care what I have to say).

One of my favorite books for 2009 is by Jack Kilborn. Also known as J.A. Konrath. Before you climb all over me, there is nowhere near the emotional connection between this book and the Meat Loaf song. But I really like this story. It gripped me and held me. I read through violence that was a little strong, but I kept reading. The story was that compelling.

The title of the book is Afraid. It's a mass market paperback (what I wouldn't give) and the cover is a little over the top (still, what I wouldn't give). But . . . AFRAID?

Kind of like Meat Loaf.

Can you think of any books or songs (or artists) you've loved whose title might be the supreme turnoff?

How important is a title?

CR: Green by Ted Dekker. (You guys all know I'm a slow reader, right?)

It's all better with friends.


  1. Wow! Title is important. Very important - whether a song, book, movie play or so on...

    I like titles that are relatively short (two or three words) and I prefer they give an indication of the content or the tone.

    "The Something Something" is boring and so far I have avoided using it.

    I also like puns or plays on words for titles, especially when it comes to books.

    Cheers, Jill

  2. There's a fun site that uses some method of determining whether, based on title alone, a book has a chance of becoming a bestseller.

  3. Peg, you always make me smile, but this time it was a for real laugh out loud. Prime Rib. That's good...

    I love titles. Reading them, coming up with them. The ones I like best conjure up a situation. I think Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard are great titlers. A good title will make me pick up a book more than an ad or even buzz.

    Can't wait to check out that site!

  4. Titles call to me too, Jenny.

    Probably like most authors, I think I'm really good at titles. I know I have a lot of fun coming up with what I consider great ideas. But obviously most of us suck at this discipline, because publishers tend to find their own.

    A title I used on a women's fiction (sitting in a drawer) would be perfect for a suspense. I'll be sure and resurrect NIGHT SEASONS when the time is right.

    For the one I'm writing now, me thinks ROUGH WATERS is perfect. My co-protags are Chase and Bond Waters, and if it works, that could be an interesting way to title a series.

  5. Titles are so scary. Some are great, others a real turn-off like you say. I let my sons encourage me to read and listen to things I would instinctively avoid and have to confess, their instincts are pretty good. Maybe the trouble is title defines demographic and some of us are just very odd-shaped pegs in those round holes.

  6. That reminds me . . . some of my favorite clothes in the past have been things I never would have picked out for myself. They were gifts from people I loved, or I may have even tried to return them.

    Those blinders sure can get in the way of experiencing our lives, can't they?