I tried something new in title brainstorming: Looking up key word quotes in Google images. I like short titles with two or three words because short is punchy and memorable, but never just one because the fun is the relationship between the words. I’ve used key word quote searches before, but I end up wading through unhelpful long quotes that are too nuanced or obscure to be the kind of attention-grabbing marketing tool a good title should be. When I switched over to an image search for “devil quote,” though, I got a page of pithy quotes that looked to be good sources for titles:
From those I got:
Somebody’s Devil (sung by Jackson Browne)
Dancing with the Devil
Clever as the Devil
Devil in Disguise (definitely going on the soundtrack)
Devil in the Details
The only one there I really like is Different Devils, probably because of Linda Ronstadt, and it doesn’t really fit. But that’s a good title for something.
So then I switched to demons:
Fighting with Demons
Cheesecake with Demons
Casting Out Demons
Playing Well with Demons.
Cheesecake with Demons won’t work, but Doughnuts with Demons would, or Doughnuts to Demons, but neither of those sells the book as a mystery/love story, so no. Although I may pull some of those for use in the story. Definitely this one:
I have to put in a throwaway line where Nita crawls out of bed and Nick says, “Oh, crap, she’s up.”
And then there’s this:
I hate the “literally” there, but Nick really should have a hellhound named Spot.
And then there was this one, which reminded me of the Republican primary and gave me a direction for part of my back story:
I’m thinking “devil” or “demon” belongs in there to signal “supernatural,” but I want to avoid religious connotations, stay in the Elvis Presley vibe. Too bad Nick’s not in disguise. But really, Devil in Disguise is a terrible title because anybody who searched for it would be overwhelmed by Elvis links.
So characters. Amanita and the Devil (worked for Agnes and the Hitman). Nita and the Demons (terrible rhythm). Nita Among the Demons (terrible rhythm). Nita with Demons (better).Nick and Nita Go To Hell (except Nita never goes). Love Among the Demons (no no no).
One title I love is The Devil She Knows, but that’s Jeanne’s title, so nope. Drove me crazy when I remembered that and then couldn’t remember where I remembered it from. Light finally dawned. And then I found the old post where we brainstormed her title. It’s a better title for Jeanne’s book anyway, and it doesn’t really fit mine. ((It’s also been used before, but it’s on an out-of-print book from five years ago, so it doesn’t matter quite as much.)
The Nick and Nita callback to Nick and Nora Charles was one I thought about; there was even an extremely dumb move in the first draft where Nick was going by Nick Charles and Nita lampshaded it. That’s gone now and The Thin Demon ties it too closely to a story that really doesn’t have that many parallels.
It really might come down to Amanita and the Devil. I could do worse than call back to Agnes, even though the two books have nothing in common. Or The Devil and Amanita, that’s at least different. Or The Devil in Amanita, but that’s kinda dirty. Amanita’s Demons. There aren’t a lot of places in the book where she’s called “Amanita,” but it has a much better rhythm than “Nita.”
But it should be better than those. A title has to capture the tone of the book and be new and different to intrigue the reader without being cutesy or obvious, and it should have a good rhythm, easy to say. I can do better.
Edited to add:
And now many hours with Curio and Acorn later, I may have a working title I can live with for awhile:
Still not sure about the “Amanita,” but I’m also not sold on Nita and Her Demons. Maybe Nita with Demons, after all?
Amanita with Demons doesn’t scan, so it would have to be Nita with Demons. But I don’t think Nita and Her Demons sounds right, while Amanita and Her Demons does. Hmmmm. Good thing I’m not actually writing this book or I’d have to actually pick one of these.