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  • Writer's pictured. i. richardson

Six Titles Explained with D. I. Richardson

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

Titles are important for novels and stories. They are meant to both prime and set a tone for the story. Title’s like Bird Box and I Am Legend are great titles for different reasons and for different meanings. In Bird Box, it literally is referring to a box that contains a bird, but why is there a bird in a box? You’ll have to find out. It’s a nice way to reference in-story content with the title.

Anyway, I’m here to break down six of my titles and what the name means and where the name of the novel comes from. Why? Because I think it’ll be fun, of course.

How Do I Come Up With a Title?

Sometimes a title just hangs in the air in front of me and I like it. Sometimes the title really fits to a story. It's hard to define how I come up with a title for a book because I don't even really know my own process. There are some word design choices in the sense that instead of "Between" I went with "Betwixt" to make it sound a little more purple.

Other than that, I honestly, and truthfully, don't even know how I come up with titles. I have no advice for you because I just don't know. If it works for your story, then it works. That's pretty much it.

The Colours Betwixt

I had to start this Titles Explained post with my personal favourite book. This book was the last book I wrote and published before taking a minor break from writing (which almost killed my writing altogether).

The name is pretty simple in theory. The Colours part refers to the fact that the main character loves colours and is a painter. He does watercolour-style paintings, using many colours in them. So that part makes sense. For Edwin, colours relate to life. He views things and people as adding colour to his life. To lose someone close to him would be to lose those colours as well.

The Betwixt part is where it gets a bit more “deep.” Basically, to me, in this life, we are in The Bright because life is full of light. And death is The Beyond, obviously because it is beyond the scope of life. So what lies between? The Betwixt. The Betwixt is a sort of limbo, a sort of purgatory, if you will. It’s a place we go after we die and a place we can only dream of while we still exist in The Bright.

So, for our main character, Edwin, the title would refer to some kind of life stuck in the betwixt. In some kind of transient state of being. Just buy the book though, honestly. It does a better job showing how the title relates to the story than I could do of telling it in a blog post.

{23:59} / {00:00}

These titles are basically the same because they clearly bleed into one another. These were also named when I was still brand new at naming books and didn’t really know how to convey things properly. That said, I think they get a vague point across.

{23:59} can also be said colloquially as “Minute to Midnight,” since that is what is it is. The story takes place around Christmas time and then ends at a minute before midnight. There wasn’t really a lot of thought behind it. I named it about three chapters into writing because I knew that I would want to leave it off as the clock ticked over.

{00:00} is the sequel so it makes sense to call it "Midnight" or "New Year’s" or something like that. It basically takes place literally one minute after {23:59}. Not really any thought on this name. Sorry.

A Cabbage Named Fred

This one is actually pretty simple also. Basically, there’s a song named "A Cabbage Named Fred," and that’s why I titled the book this. Blankts (the artist) is one of my favourites to vibe to while I write, so this is sort of a thank-you note in a way.

The book is also loosely inspired by her music as a whole. Some of the themes and whatnot are included to pay homage to her work. It’s also a pretty cool title though. Don’t you agree?

Pink Like the Sky, Blue Like the Sea

The title of this book sort of refers to the ending of the story, which takes place by a sunset where the water is blue and sky is pink.

One of the characters you meet has pink hair. She’s a rebel. She envisions herself as this big, reckless thing, not unlike the sky. She encompasses all that the main character, Julie, can see at some points. She even convinces Julie to dye her hair blue, because they’re teenage rebels, of course. Thus, Julie becomes blue like the sea. Julie is a much calmer presence, not unlike the water. It kind of works in that sense.

The Ones Who Went and Never Came Back

This is another one that is sort of very matter-of-fact. It’s a horror/thriller novel, so it sort of captures this idea of isolation and people disappearing, which are some of the central themes to the book.

The ones who never came back refer to the “enemies” and antagonist of the book. They chose to stay in the forest, much longer than they should have, and they’ve paid the price in their sanity and humanity.

Little Midnight

I thought it sounded kinda cool.

So that’s kind of it. I’ll post another batch of titles when I complete my next six books! Lucky for you, I’ve already got the next two planned (hopefully).

Please make a blog post like this! I’d be interested in seeing how other authors explain their titles and how they arrived at the final name for their work!


Comment your thoughts!

Follow me on Twitter: @coda_cola_

And have a good wander, friend.

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