Titles and Subtitles

Greetings, everyone. I’m reposting my Monday Blog here.

This week’s topic: the importance of titles, and subtitles. Titles are meant to grab your reader’s attention, as well as give them some idea as to what the book is about. Then there are subtitles, particularly important if the book is part of a series. I believe they need to be equally as interesting as the title itself.


In the Valentine series, each book (except for the first) has a subtitle.  There’s The Patron Saint and Queen of Hearts. Book two’s subtitle refers to the nickname Val has been given, but is unaware of until later in the story (she’s referred to as the Patron Saint of the Weak).  Book three’s subtitle relates to Kelly McCormick’s codename for Val, the Queen of Hearts.  The current title for book four is War of the Saints, which will introduce some new characters whose roles are similar to Valentine’s. I am reconsidering the title, so it may change.


The subtitles in the Fortune’s Wing series are references to each journey he undertakes in the quest for the Wings. Second Flight, concerns the second journey he and his friends go on after Fortune completes the set of wings. The third and final installment, Final Flight, is a reference to exactly that: his final journey.


With Our Lady of Righteous Rage, I wanted a title that would stand out. OLORR has a punk, but almost Catholic High School sound to it, and I figured it would definitely grab people’s attention (and it has!).

FYI: an unusual tip I have picked up on as a reader, is if the title of the book is mentioned somewhere in the story, but not until close to the climax. It seems to add impact to the meaning of the title. Or, maybe that’s just me…


Naming your chapters can be tricky, but interesting. The titles of the chapters in OLORR are named after the character who narrates that particular chapter (pretty simple, yes?) The chapter titles in Allan and Mac are meant to be humorous: What’s in the Trunk?, A Good Pair of Pliers and Three’s A Crowd, to name a few.  The chapter titles in Valentine are a mixed bag: some of them are humorous, some of them are serious.  For example, “I’d Rather Ride Solo” or “Road Trip” is humorous, while “End Game” or “This Is What I Came For” is a little more serious.


The trouble with naming the chapter in a book that is part of a series, is consistency. If you decide to do this in the first book, you must do it in the other books as well. All of the Fortune’s Wing and Valentine books have chapters with titles, while the OLORR chapters are named after characters in the story. Because I have done this in the first two OLORR books, I need to keep it up as I write the third.


Coming up with a clever, catchy title isn’t always easy. If you’re having trouble coming up with a title for your book, or the chapters, think about what the book is really about. Consider what that particular chapter is about. Make a list of words or slogans that describe what is happening in the book or chapter itself. In Allan and Mac, the chapter, A Good Pair of Pliers is named after a line from the chapter.