T is for Themes and Titles

Tis for themes and titles. As I’ve said previously, when I started writing, I didn’t really have a clue that books were supposed to have themes. It had never occurred to me before – at least, consciously. Subconsciously, I realise I was constantly picking up on the themes of other people’s books. It just never hit me before that they were there deliberately, which sounds absurd now.

When I wrote There Must Be An Angel I hadn’t, as I’ve said before, thought of a theme for it. It was only after several rewrites that I realised there was an emerging theme – that of fathers and daughters. It had other themes, too. Friendship, being true to yourself instead of trying to live up to other’s standards, and having faith in someone so that, no matter what you heard about them, you would stand by them and believe in them.

With A Kiss From A Rose, it became clear fairly quickly that the main theme was mothers and daughters. Rose has huge issues with her own mother, and she’s struggling with her daughters, too.  Rose is also about believing in yourself and realising that you’re as good as anyone else. It’s about overcoming your own lack of self esteem and allowing yourself to be happy because you deserve to be. I find it quite fascinating that these themes developed without me even noticing.

It was only when I looked back at both of these novels that I noticed the themes, but for the third  book I’ve decided on the theme first and am building the book around it. Whether that will make a difference to the writing I don’t know. I know some writers choose the themes first and work this way, while others only discover the theme after their work is complete. I’ve tried one way so now I’m trying the other, and I guess I’ll discover what works best for me!

I think I’ve got a title for Book Three, but I won’t reveal it yet as it may change. There Must Be An Angel changed title several times. It started off as I Heard A Rumour, changed to There Must Be An Angel, then I decided on Angel In The Marble, then switched it to Can’t Fight the Moonlight before finally, after consulting Julie and Alex, my Write Romantic pals, over a slice of cake, it was changed back to the title it now carries for good.

The second book was initially called Moonlight and Roses, but from the first scene it became obvious that A Kiss From A Rose was exactly the right title. There was no swapping and changing after that. It was a done deal.

For Book Three it’s been a bit more tricky. A theme has emerged in my titles – they are song titles, and what’s more, they both have five words. It seemed appropriate that the final two books should follow the same pattern, so I’ve had to have a good old think. I’ve changed the title four times so far, but finally, I think I have one that suits the book exactly and fits the pattern. I’m very lucky because I can choose my own titles. Some writers don’t get that luxury, and some have the titles they’ve chosen changed to suit their publishers. That must take some getting used to!

It’s really interesting to take your favourite books and work out the themes within them. It can make you read the story in a completely different way and it’s fascinating to see how the writer has built the scenes around the theme to reinforce it. Or perhaps they only discovered it for themselves after the book was completed…It can happen that way, you know!

There Must Be An Angel is currently free for Kindle, but the offer ends today so hurry! Click on the image in the side bar to get your copy.

Have a great day xx

Why not visit some of the other blogs taking part in the A to Z Challenge?

3 thoughts on “T is for Themes and Titles

  1. When I finished Tall, Dark and Kilted it was originally titled BIG BAD WOLF. I had a 1:1 with an editor at the RNA Conference in Carnarvon and she told me to ditch the title and think up a new one. Feeling slightly narked, I said OK, I’ll call it Tall, Dark and Kilted. I was being facetious but she immediately loved the title, even if she didn’t offer to represent me. So – TDK it became and the rest is history. Titles are so important. With Boot Camp Bride, the cover came first and the title followed. With my latest, the title could be nothing other than SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS as it is set in Scotland and features a bombed out distillery. Keep up the good work, I am in awe of your blogging marathon. I hope to read THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL as soon as SOTR is with the formatter.


  2. Big Bad Wolf is a great title! But I can’t imagine it being called anything other than Tall, Dark and Kilted to be honest. And you came up with that off the top of your head? Brilliant! I love Scotch on the Rocks and can’t wait to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed Boot Camp Bride, as you know, but I’m looking forward to heading back to Scotland with you. I predict another scorching hot hero – you’re very good at those! Or should that be, scotching hot hero? 🙂 Hope you enjoy Angel, Lizzie. You do get a mention in the acknowledgements! x


  3. Themes are pretty tricky in my opinion and have a habit of creeping up on me when I’m not looking. Like you I didn’t know I had a theme in Beltane until I did a workshop with Julie Cohen at the RNA conference in Sheffield and discovered that you didn’t have to be literary to have a theme. Talk about a light bulb moment!
    Titles can be pretty troublesome too and I’m really pleased that Julie and I helped with Angel. I’ve had my own title problems too. Beltane was originally called ‘The Green Man’ until too many people (including a very bossy book doctor) said it sounded too much like a pub!
    Have to say that ‘Scotch on the Rocks’ is a fabulous title, Lizzy. Did you have to do much research into the distillery part of it? Maybe visiting a few? I’m really looking forward to reading it when it’s out. Alys xx


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