Tag Archive | Fiction

Winning Book Titles

A winning book title, in my opinion, is one of the greatest challenges of an author to create. Perhaps that’s because an author is tied so closely to plot, tone and moodtheme, and character arcs to step away from the novel and be able to sum up 350 pages in one to four words (on average). Or maybe that’s just me.

Many books

Like my previous blog Cover Wars where I discussed cover art, the title should also touch the reader at a primal level as well as touch on genre. According to Seven Terrific Tips for Creating Winning Book Titles, the title should make a promise to the reader that their needs will be met. Just like the cover art.

NYT Best-Selling Books 2012 (Top 35):

I pondered the New York Times Best Selling Books of 2012. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks sits in the No. 1 spot. The title is endearing and speaks to my primal need to feel safe. Other titles are as intriguing, but some miss the mark. Perhaps certain covers and titles fail to fulfill my needs, specifically. What do you think about No. 1? Deserving? I say, Yes.

Goodreads Best Book Titles (Top 100):

Another site I studied was Goodreads Best Book Titles. These titles include both new and classics and are based on Listopia votes. Some of the titles I found to be ridiculous, but they did give me a good laugh. Sitting at No. 64 is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Again, this title speaks to my primal need to feel safe and loved in a time of fear. It’s the only book I’ve ever purchased based on title alone.

How do you come up with your title?

In the case of my current WIP, I’ve changed the working title 8 times. In fact, I’m embarrassed to detail the process, but in descending order I’ve bravely listed the iterations:

1. Faith’s Story
2. Faith’s Keeper
3. Leap of Faith
4. The Seconds Keeper
5. Enchanted Hostage
6. Her Spirit’s Bodyguard
7. Ghost Guard
8. Love in the Mist (Final Choice)

If I were to submit this to a category romance line, I might submit using a trope: Surgeon’s Spirit Fiancé

Or maybe not.

Helpful resource:

To compare your title to over 700 successful novels from 1955 to 2004, you may want to play around with a site called Lulu Title Scorer. It’s really fun! My title Love in the Mist scored a 64.8% of becoming a best-seller. One can hope!

Okay. Your turn. Do you struggle with titles? Are you brave enough to list the iterations you’ve used? What’s your Lulu Title Score for you final title?

Happy reading and writing,

Cyndi Faria

Cover Wars

Cover wars: All about promising to meet a reader’s needs.

Cover contests and the growing number of cover designers competing for an author’s business are sure signs of the ever-increasing importance of cover art. With so many fiction books available to readers, can you guarantee your book stands out from the rest?

Yes! A novel’s success can be partially attributed to how well the cover images capture PRIMAL DESIRES.

Abraham Maslow, PhD in Psychology, first described primal desires in his Hierarchy of Needs (read more here). Summarized, the hierarchy begins with a human’s most basic needs: physiological, followed by safety and security, love and belonging, and, lastly, esteem.

In an attempt to capture a book’s contents by way of cover design, consider incorporating what Dollars and Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success describes as the primal motivation that aids survival: fear, fight, fornication, and food.

Or the Hierarchy of Needs restated as the 4Fs: Fear, Fight, Fornication, and Food.

The next time you pick up a book or an e-book catches your eye, scrutinize the cover. Are primal motivation techniques incorporated? Are colors like black, red, and white used? Also, think classic symbolism: forbidden fruit, torn ribbons (loss of innocence), and pawns (manipulation). Do books within a series include cohesiveness? They should.

Cover wars are here to stay. It’s how cover artists temp the reader to venture deeper: title, blurb, first page.  Purchase. Cover art embodies the hidden message: Read this book and your needs will be met. If you indie publish, consider incorporating the Hierarchy of Needs into your cover design so you emerge with a winning cover.

Happy Reading!

Cyndi Faria

Wordy Wednesday-Frumious

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Frumious (adjective): a portmanteau (combination of two words) of fuming and furious.

Defined in Glossary of Alice in Wonderland Terms as:

1) Filthy, and with a very bad smell. 

The Hunting of the Snark, by Lewis Carroll: 

In Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark“, while the party searches for the Snark, the Banker runs ahead and encounters a Bandersnatch:

 “. . . But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck

And grabbed at the Banker again.

Without rest or pause—while those frumious jaws

Went savagely snapping around—

He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,

Till fainting he fell to the ground. . . .”

************************************************************************

Wordy Wednesday-Fonrol

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Fonrol (plural: Fonrols):

Noun:

1) Any illegal third child in the “Shadow Children” series.

Among the Impostors, by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Washing his face in the creek before leaving, Luke tortured himself with questions. Who had done this? Who were the–vandals? The criminals? Luke couldn’t even come up with a harsh enough word to describe them. Then he thought of the insults that had been hurled at him for the past month. Yes. The guilty ones were fonrols. Exnays. Leckers.

Luke wiped his face off on his sleeve, and it left a streak of mud. Who cared?

He circled wide leaving the creek so he didnt’ have to see his poor butchered garden again.

He didn’t even bother running across the wide expanse of lawn back to the school. He trudged.

************************************************************************

Read more: Among the Impostors, by Margaret Peterson Haddix 

Wordy Wednesday-Prorogue

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Prorogue:

Verb:

1) To Prolong or Extend;

2) To Defer.

“Diatribe.” – Wiktionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/prorogue.

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

Scene II: In Capulet’s Garden:

Romeo: With love’s light wings did I o’er perch these walls; for stony limits cannot hold love out: and what love can do, that dares love attempt; Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.

Juliet: If they do see the they will murder thee.

Romeo: Alack, there lies more peril in thine than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet, and I am proof against their enmity.

Juliet: I would not for the world they saw thee.

Romeo: I have night’s cloak to hide me from their sight; and, but thou love me, let them find me here: My life were better ended by their hate than death prorogued wanting of thy love.

************************************************************************

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet. New York: Walter J. Black, 1937. Print. Classic Club.

Wordy Wednesday-Macabre

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Macabre:

Adjective:

1) Representing or personifying death;

2) Obsessed with death or the gruesome;

Synonyms: ghastly, shocking, terrifying, horrifying  

“Macabre.” – Wiktionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/macabre 

Blood Vow, by Karen Tabke

But they would be heard, and more. The macabre specters of hundreds of dead Corbets rose from the earth around her, begging her for life, for the chance to avenge the deaths of all Slayers.

************************************************************************

Read more: Blood Vow, by Karin Tabke (Release Day Today!)

Wordy Wednesday-Nouveau Riche

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Nouveau Riche (plural: nouveaux riches):

Noun:

1) New money; wealthy persons whose fortunes are newly acquired, and who are therefore perceived to lack the refinement of those who were raised wealthy.

“Nouveau Riche.” – Wiktionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nouveau_riche

The Prince’s Gamble, by Caridad Pineiro

Kathleen saw the moment Alexander decided to cooperate. His eyes, those amazing eyes like the ocean, had grown a frosty blue.

“Nicolai Petrov’s family and mine know each other. We run in some of the same circles, although the Petrovs are nouveau riche . . .”

************************************************************************

Read more: The Prince’s Gamble, by Caridad Pineiro (Proceeds to Benefit Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey from now until March 1, 2013)

Theme and Reader Loyalty

Is an author’s theme the key to reader loyalty?

I often ask myself why I have author preferences. What drives me to purchase that author’s work over another’s work again and again?

Is it the characterization? Or plot? Setting?

No. It is Theme! 

What is Theme?

Without preaching or teaching, the fiction author attempts to examine social awareness, society, people, government, and life itself through setting, plot, and characters (kjhatz)  

As stated by Blake Snyder in Save the Cat, “Somewhere in the first five minutes (5% of your novel) of a well-structured screenplay, someone (usually not the main character) will pose a question or make a statement.” This is the thematic premise. It is suggested that this be detailed, subtly, usually through dialogue.

In my current WIP, the thematic premise is stated by the secondary character through dialogue: “Nothing good ever comes from keeping secrets.”

As the author, my task is to show in each scene the damage that keeping secrets has on the characters. When the heroine risks trusting in the hero by telling the truth, and good happens, she inches toward wholeness. When she holds back, she hurts everyone around her, and loses her grip finding peace.

The main character must learn why she hides the truth, what she’s scared of, and face and overcome her fears, so she can change (character arc) and come into wholeness.

At the resolution of conflict, the end of the novel, the main character learns that lies create both physical and emotional bondage, but telling the truth, literally and figuratively, sets her free. The reader should take this message to heart, too.

Example (Spoiler Alert):

One of my favorite TV shows on CW31 is Vampire Diaries. Each season, the show’s creators examine the fallout of self-sacrifice to maintain family bonds. The main character, Elaina, is constantly altering her behavior, risking her life and, eventually, dying (turning into a vampire), to save her brother, Jeremy.

So the thematic premise for the Vampire Diaries might be:

  • Family responsibility is more important than individualism; or
  • Family bonds are worth self-sacrifice.

Why theme is Important?

In the case of Vampire Diaries, at the end of the season self-sacrifice is rewarded by everyone reuniting and celebrating, and Jeremy safe. The viewers leave emotionally satisfied believing that family bonds are worth self-sacrifice.

As an author of romance, you must make sure that the reader leaves with an emotionally positive impact.

How to find your theme (kjhatz)

  • Locate an idea, thought, conflict, or situation that recurs throughout your novel.
  • List the problem in the story that the readers see but not necessarily the characters.
  • The resolution of the story problem often gives a hint to the thematic premise.

 How to fix your WIP?

  • Go back through your story, scene by scene, examine dialogue, setting, and plot. Make sure some aspect proving your thematic statement true (or false) exists.
  • Rework the thematic statement into your WIP’s dialogue around the 5% place (for example, page 18 of a 350 page novel).

In the words of Chuck Wendig, make sure “…all pieces of cake contain the essence of that cake. So it is with your story: all pieces of the story contain the essence of that story, and the essence of that story is the theme. The theme is cake, frosting, filling. In every slice you cut.” –Chuck Wendig

So, the tie between theme and reader loyalty is how well the reader relates to the underlying message. Authors tend to revisit themes as they themselves strive toward finding wholeness. The more relatable variables your reader has to a novel, the more they will identify and empathize with the character’s conflict. Soon, the reader will root for the MC’s success. And by seeing how the characters solve and overcome their problems, as shown by the author, the reader is given a glimpse at how to solve their own similar conflicts. Thereby, the reader comes to understand their world a little better and how they might begin their journey to wholeness. This relationship, I believe, creates reader loyalty.

Happy Reading. Happy Writing!

Cyndi Faria

Wordy Wednesday-Amassed

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Amassed:

Verb:

1) To collect into a mass or heap; to gather a great quantity of; to accumulate; as, to amass a treasure or a fortune; to amass words or phrases.

Origin: Latin massa “lump.”

“Amassed.” – Wiktionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/amassed.

 

Our Husband, by Stephanie Bond

She opened her mouth to say that he and his man Nolen were both insane. Then she remembered that when the phone rang, she’d been cursing Raymond for losing their life savings. No, make that her life savings. “I was angry. I’d just found out something he’d done,” she stammered. 
“That he was already married?”
 “No. That he had amassed a great deal of debt without telling me.”

************************************************************************

Read more: Our Husband, by Stephanie Bond.

Wordy Wednesday-Diatribe

WELCOME TO WORDY WEDNESDAY!

I love words! And I love to read! So each Wednesday I’m going to grab an unfamiliar or unusual word I’ve discovered in some of my favorite books. I’ll post the meaning and the paragraph I’ve found the word to show its usage. If so inclined, check out the book and author’s website by clicking on the links below the paragraph. Happy Reading, Cyndi

Diatribe:

Noun:

1) An abusive, bitter denunciation;

2) a prolonged discourse;

3) a speech or writing which bitterly denounces something.

 

“Diatribe.” – Wiktionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/diatribe.

 

Love at First Date, by Susan Hatler

“The dude had zero interest in a two-way conversation. He wanted to vent. As a customer service rep, I should be fine with this but, after only two hours of sleep, I was not in an emotional place to hear his diatribe on the evils of capitalism.”

************************************************************************

Read more: Love at first date, by Susan Hatler.