A Book by any other Name

I Googled the first title I came up with for my proposed novel to see if there were already any number of books out there, with the same title. And yes, sure enough, there were more than a couple. One or two quite well known. So it was back to the drawing board and brainstorming how to keep the main gist of the title I liked while finding an alternative. So I used my trusty thesaurus to pick one word that said everything I needed it to convey: Stratagem.

A scheme, tactic, ploy, device, ruse, machination and more, and the one I like best: subterfuge. It says it all. So now I’m really satisfied I’ve come up with the best title possible, which really say what the novel is all about. Without, of course, giving anything away. Well, at least I hope so.

Like a good character name, getting the title right is probably the hardest part, for me at least, about writing. How many times have you picked up a book, looked at the title and thought oh, this sounds interesting. Thinking the book is about such and such, that is, till you turn it over and read the back cover blurb. Then, it’s not so clear. The title and blurb don’t quite gel. With the title says one thing in your mind, while the blurb implies something else altogether.

Then, to make it worse, you start reading the book, you know, to get a feel for what it’s about, and by the end of the first chapter, neither the back cover blurb nor the title bare any relationship to the actual content—very frustrating.

Anyway, back off the beaten path to what I was talking about, the title for my proposed novel, and the use of the word stratagem. I think I’ve nailed it. Now, to go Google my choice of title to see if any other bright spark has already beaten me to it.

There were no other books listed with a similar title. Phew! I think I now have a green light to start plotting.


  1. I know exactly what you mean, Alex, about choosing a title. It has to reflect the story. And, in my opinion, a good title is concise and succinct. And that’s not to mention it should be an overused title. I know I struggled with the title for my most recent release. I got some valuable help from the people who visit my blog, and chose a title that one of them suggested in the end.

    • La Blonde says

      At least Googling ideas helps narrow down the possibilities of the selections I chose, till I came up with one that seemed about right. Further Googling then told me it had been used elsewhere. I am ever thankful for that facet of the internet.

      Oh, and since I wrote this post yesterday, I’ve come up with a number of variants. So maybe I should write a blurb and post that along with the title choices and see what feedback I get from everyone. As you say, Margot, it helped you narrow it down.

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