When Your Title Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit

Dear Reader,

A funny thing happened last week while rewriting Catching the Rose.

I realized I wasn’t writing Catching the Rose anymore.

Now, the funny thing is the characters are the same from Catching the Rose, and the plot is the same. But my writing style has changed so much in the eight years since I wrote the original Catching the Rose that I feel weird about continuing to call it Catching the Rose.

I mean, the book that’s out there now, known as Catching the Rose: Second Edition, is still the book I wrote in high school, but with grammatical fixes, etc.

I laid in bed late at night staring at my ceiling wondering what I was going to do. The fact is I don’t write that way anymore. I’ve learned a lot in the past eight years.

I couldn’t call it Catching the Rose: Third Edition. That just felt clunky.

I thought about calling it Catching the Rose: Redux. That felt good for about twenty minutes.

Then I thought, you know, people who really enjoy Catching the Rose as it is might feel betrayed. So I decided I won’t call this rewrite Catching the Rose at all.

Which meant I had to come up with a new title.

Well… crap.

I suck at writing titles.

But ok, if I can write an entire novel, I can write a title. Right?

I started thinking about titles I like. For whatever reason, I like three-word titles. Everything feels better in threes. It flows off the tongue better, don’t ask me why. So I knew the title would be three words long.

I began thinking about themes of the story. This is about Veronica, a rebellious young woman who is proud to be a Confederate (known a a Johnny Reb to the Yankees). She’s on the hunt for her Prince Charming. She has no idea where her Prince Charming is, but at this point in the story, there’s suspicion he may not exist anymore.

You know what Veronica needs? Veronica needs a hero. She needs a hero until the morning light. He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon and he’s gotta be larger than life.
Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero

So now the book I’m writing is called The Rebel’s Hero. It’s a working title; I’m only seven chapters into the rewrite so I have time to live with it.

The Rebel’s Hero.

Thoughts?

P.S. Check on the other ROW80 writers this week…

12 Responses

  1. Pauline Barclay Monday, March 14, 2011 / 10:01 AM

    I love your new title….! But your blog interested me because I too have learnt so much since I published my Magnolia House and Satchfield Hall. So much so that once book 3 is edited, I will be rewritting both these novels. And, I wondered about the titles. You've certainly given me food for thought. Thank you! And yes, 'The Rebel's Hero' as a lovely ring to it! Wishing you great succes… x

    • Belinda Kroll Monday, March 14, 2011 / 3:33 PM

      Thank you Pauline!

      I think this is the best part about being an (indie) author: if I feel like the book isn't working as-is, I can always go back and rewrite it. In fact, I even saw a traditionally published romance at my local library that did this! There was a blurb on the back cover, a sort of letter to the reader from the author, talking about how there is another version of the book out there, but this is a rewrite where she feels she got it down better.

      I really agonized over the title of the rewrite, and whether I should keep it the same or not. My mother was a big proponent of renaming the book. I finally caved haha.

  2. Ruth Fanshaw Monday, March 14, 2011 / 10:14 AM

    Ok, firstly, you do NOT suck at titles! I admit I haven't read your work yet, but I can definitely say that your titles are very good! :D

    Secondly, well done for including the Bonnie Tyler song! :D And I know how Veronica feels, not really believing her 'hero' is out there. But I've come to realise that I can be the hero of my own story. And I can also invent 'heroes' and write about them! :D

    Thirdly, funnily enough, I'm currently having brand new ideas about the novel I wrote in high school, too! And it's now different beyond recognition, and, yes, needs a new title! No idea what yet. Maybe it's the season for these things! :D

    Fourthly, 'The Rebel's Hero' is another good title to add to your collection. :)

    • Belinda Kroll Monday, March 14, 2011 / 3:36 PM

      Thanks Ruth! Haha it's funny how we always think we know our strengths and weaknesses until someone tells us otherwise.

      I love "Holding Out for a Hero!" Doesn't matter the version, it gets me dancing every time.

      It must be the season for change; makes sense. Spring is finally starting to appear and I'm ready for it!

      Glad you like the title!

  3. Suzy Turner Monday, March 14, 2011 / 12:19 PM

    The Rebel's Hero has got that je ne sais quoi (did I spell that right??!). It feels right. The Rebel's Hero by Belinda Kroll…. I LIKE IT!!

    • Belinda Kroll Monday, March 14, 2011 / 3:37 PM

      You did spell it right haha. I'm glad you like it! It felt good when I was in bed saying out loud, "The Rebel's Hero. Veronica Vernon in The Rebel's Hero. The Rebel's Hero by Belinda Kroll."

      Yeah. Is good. :D

  4. elizaw Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 12:04 AM

    Hmm. From the description, I'll certainly agree that 'catching the rose' doesn't fit anymore. But I also wonder if 'The Rebel's Hero' is too direct? It isn't bad, certainly, but if you're uncertain, here's my two cents.

    What I would do is to hold off until you find some detail about the book that strikes a central premise– a place or a party or a line or some analogy– and try looking there for a title. I think that might be a little more poetic.

    • Belinda Kroll Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 10:06 AM

      Definitely understand where you're coming from, Eliza. I think this is the difference between our genres; Catching the Rose was the poetic title that made sense in a metaphorical way… but let's face it. I'm writing historical romance. Historical romance readers appreciate poetic titles, I'm sure, but more often than not, our titles tend to be fairly straight forward.

      I'm going to take your advice and keep The Rebel's Hero as a working title while I continue writing the book. As I go along, if it still feels right, awesome. If not, back to the whiteboard.

      • elizaw Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 10:55 PM

        You know, you have a point– genre difference is everything. No one would read fantasy if someone started titling it things like "Treacherous Allies in a Dark Court" or "A Quest to Save Enternamehere". Imagine what they'd have to rename Lord of the Rings to?

        • Belinda Kroll Wednesday, March 16, 2011 / 9:00 AM

          Hm. Well, I'm guessing the historical romance title would have been something like the existing title "Sealed with a Ring" or something like that haha.

  5. Jennifer Lane Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 8:51 AM

    Ha ha ha, Johnny Cochran! That's a great title for a blog post, and I love "The Rebel's Hero" as well. I agree about three word titles being catchy. What fun to rework a story written long ago–good luck!

    • Belinda Kroll Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 10:11 AM

      Haha right? I love rhymes, and that one stuck with me over time. I'll admit I had a self-congratulatory chuckle when the blog post title jumped out at me.

      I think I'm going to keep The Rebel's Hero for a while. The book is still in the beginning chapters so we'll see how it feels when I'm nearing the end. :)

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