Caption this!

This month is Evernight Publishing’s 8th birthday! To celebrate, they’re playing games and giving away prizes all month and one of the things they’re having is a caption contest–which I’m part of! Hop on over to my caption contest post here (or click on the graphic below) and give my picture a caption for a chance to win a $10 Evernight gift certificate. Best caption gets it. I’ll be giving away the prize on Wednesday, so go have fun!


Last week, the IWSG question of the month was about coming up with titles–and boy, does it hit close to home right now!

Titles are something I struggle with, except when I don’t. Sometimes, wonderfully, the title comes to me along with the story. I start getting an idea for the plot and my brain says “and by the way, this would be a perfect title.” That’s always an amazing thing and I bless whatever muses decided to bestow such a gift upon me. But, that only happens about half the time. The other half, it’s like the muses forgot I exist and lost my phone number.

I was struggling to come up with a title for the book I’m looking to submit soon, and I think I found one, but…it might change before I actually go through with the submission. I’m not sure I’m satisfied with it. Ugh! Why does it have to be so difficult? I wrote an entire book, surely I can come up with one measly little title!

The problem is, titles are a BIG DEAL, even if they’re the smallest thing about the book. They have to do a lot of things: be catchy, be interesting, encapsulate the book, and be appropriate to the story, genre, and the feeling you want to convey. No pressure! It’s only a huge marketing tool, after all. And we’re supposed to be creative, right? We should be able to do this. Well, as I said, sometimes we can, and sometimes it’s a struggle. Also, sometimes my own personal feelings about the story make it so I don’t think anything I come up with is worthy of the book. I need something grand and perfect, but I just can’t find it.

Here’s a few suggestions that might help you come up with titles. Feel free to also use the “pulling your hair out and screaming into the night” method, although I’ve used this somewhere between ten and five hundred times, and it doesn’t really seem to help.

  • Brainstorm. Sometimes it helps to just throw anything out there that comes to mind, in the hope that while you’re dumping the trash you come across the diamond earring you lost. Let it all flow no matter how bad it is, putting random words and phrases together, testing ideas. Something might pop out that works. It doesn’t have to be practical, either–just throwing anything out there, including silly stuff, can really jog your brain. And who knows, ‘The Story About That One Thing That Happened That One Time’ might turn out to be a bestseller.
  • List your themes. Make a list of major themes and plot points in your story–things that are important, including people, objects, ideas, places, and emotions. Something might be hidden there that will spawn a title. And dammit, we’re writers, we should be able to connect things and make metaphors work on multiple levels, right? So looking at what our story is ABOUT should help us tell readers what it’s about in one catchy, amazing phrase, CORRECT? Please let me know if this works for you or if it’s just me that has a brain that immediately goes on vacation the second I type the last word of the book…
  • Look at other titles. Browse other titles in your genre with similar themes or plots, and see what they’ve come up with. Unfortunately, this may lead you to discover someone else already stole THE PERFECT TITLE and more tearing of your hair. The good thing is, multiple books can and do have the same titles, but if there’s a popular book already named that you’ll probably want to try something else.
  • Title generators. There’s lots of book title generators on the internet, but I’ve never honestly come up with a title from one. I have, however, amused myself with the ridiculous titles they come up with sometimes, so if you need a break from the stress and a good laugh, these are a fitting place to look.

TITLES are HARD. May your muse be kind and give you plenty of good ideas. And while they’re at it, tell them to stop by and visit me, huh?

In a hundred years…

This week, I thought I’d do something funny. With a lack of blog post ideas in my head, I went over to HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator to see if it could help me come up with some topics. You have to input three nouns, so I chose “writing,” “authors,” and “books.” Most of the results actually gave me a laugh, so this week I’m going to make posts from the funniest ones on the list. Enjoy!

What Will Authors Be Like In 100 Years?

This one cracked me up. Let’s see if we can predict the future:

Given what writers were like 100 years ago compared to now, I’d say: pretty much the same. While technology changes, what makes people want to write, and all the joy, anxiety, and insanity surrounding it doesn’t change. The literary giants of 100 years ago were probably just as neurotic and self-doubting as you are. Maybe even more! Back then, the simplified way we can connect with editors and agents, and the ease of self-publishing, didn’t exist. Also, sadly, people read a lot more back then, and books were much more a part of everyday and popular culture, so you really had to shine to be part of that group known as “authors.”

I figure technology will continue to improve, making it easier to write. I know speech-to-text already exists, but I’m so awkward at having a normal conversation, I can’t imagine trying to speak my stories out loud in any coherent manner. Maybe they’ll invent a chip you put in your brain that turns your thoughts to text, but that could go wildly wrong, as well. I could just imagine all the other weird things that float through my head sneaking into the narrative. What a plot!

Or, maybe I’m completely wrong. Maybe in the future, all writers will be turned into robots and we’ll conquer the galaxy with our brilliant tales. Or at least, someone will write that story.

What do you think? How will things be different in 100 years?

Myths: debunked!

This week, I thought I’d do something funny. With a lack of blog post ideas in my head, I went over to HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator to see if it could help me come up with some topics. You have to input three nouns, so I chose “writing,” “authors,” and “books.” Most of the results actually gave me a laugh, so this week I’m going to make posts from the funniest ones on the list. Enjoy!

20 Myths About Authors

The generator seems to think there’s a bunch of myths about authors out there. Let’s explore some of them!

  1. We’re all rich. LOL
  2. All our books are made into movies.
  3. We all know each other. Imagine the parties.
  4. We do all our writing in coffee shops. We can’t afford coffee shop coffee.
  5. We all own a cat. Cats own us, this is known.
  6. We’re all perfect at grammar and spelling. I dnt no wht u meen.
  7. You have to be crazy to be a writer. This one is actually true.
  8. Published authors never get rejected. If you think it hurts before you get your first acceptance, imagine how much it sucks when you already have a bunch of stuff published.
  9. Writing is glamorous. I know I’m irresistibly hot in my coffee-stained pajamas with my unbrushed hair hunched over my keyboard like Quasimodo, but restrain yourselves, boys!
  10. We type everything on old-timey typewriters because it looks cool. We also all smoke pipes and wear thick-rimmed glasses.
  11. We plan what’s going to happen in our books ahead of time. Usually it surprises even us.
  12. We killed your favorite character as a personal insult to you specifically. Yes, you.
  13. We love reading our own reviews. I enjoy being told how stupid I am!
  14. We have infinite free copies of our book to hand out to everyone.
  15. We choose pen names because we’ve killed a man and we’re in hiding.
  16. We’ve read all the books ever written as research. Even the ones that perished in the Library of Alexandria, we have copies of them hidden in vaults.
  17. We make ritual sacrifices to the ghosts of Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway on Saturdays.
  18. No books are published without Stephen King’s approval first.
  19. Anyone can write a book.
  20. We never, ever slack on getting our writing done.

Do you have any myths to add that I forgot? Let’s spill our secrets, authors!