And a Chance to Win a $10 Barnes & Noble eGift Card…
Often, a lot of meaning gets packed into one tiny word or the string of only a few. Can you imagine Scarlett O’Hara as the originally imagined Pansy? How about PRETTY WOMAN as “3000“? That’s what that movie was originally called (the amount of money Richard Gere’s character had to pay to spend one night with her). [It would be doubly funny now because everyone would confuse it with “300” the way everyone confuses 28 DAYS and 28 DAYS LATER.] And how about RETURN OF THE JEDI? Remember that was originally titled REVENGE OF THE JEDI? But Lucas rethought and decided that the Jedi weren’t (or shouldn’t be) vengeful?
Character names change. Title names change.
The title of my first novel is changing from DEMON’S ADVOCATE to DARK LIGHT OF DAY. I’m not only fine with it, I love the new title. (In fact, it was one of many I submitted to my editor for consideration when I heard they were thinking of renaming the book). Turns out, both my editor and I were rethinking the title, but for a variety of different reasons, some shared, some not. The one thing we both agreed on, however, was that the former title Demon’s Advocate didn’t suit the mood of the book.
I picked the original title to immediately convey what the book was about. When asked “What’s your story about?” I’d always answered, “a law student being trained to represent demons.” So I thought demon + advocate summed up the two biggest elements in the book: demons and the law. But the book is not a supernatural LAW AND ORDER (GRIMM’s kinda that though, isn’t it? And it’s awesome!) and it is not a rehashing of 1997’s DEVIL’S ADVOCATE either.
In hindsight, even I have to admit that Demon’s Advocate sounds pretty cold for such a fiery story. My old title’s tone and feel did not reflect some of the other major elements of the book: romance, fantasy, and my character’s inner conflict. Noon Onyx is a young woman who struggles. Her magic is dark and blazing. She has the power to kill, but wants the power to heal. She dreams of changing herself even as events force her to consider accepting herself as is. I love that the new title captures all the dualities of this character: her name, her magic, and her struggle. Plus its tone is much more forbidding and elemental, which suits the story better in the same way that Scarlett suited Scarlett better and Pansy did not!
So here’s to Noon and her new title, DARK LIGHT OF DAY!! 😀
(If you enjoyed this post and want to read four other authors’ stories about how their book titles changed, click here).
Writers, how about you? Have you ever had to change your title? Why? Was it difficult? How do you go about selecting a title for your work? Readers, what are some of your favorite titles? Funniest? Most evocative? Have you ever bought a book based on the title alone? How much of your decision to read a book is based on its title?
To celebrate Noon’s new title, I’m giving away a $10 Barnes & Noble eGift Card. To enter this contest, post a comment below or submit your e-mail to me on my CONTEST page. (Note to anyone who entered my previous “Noblest Fruit” contest, but didn’t win: you’ll be automatically entered in this contest). Contest winner will be announced on my CONTEST page on February 5, 2012.