I Didn’t See This Coming…

This week, I’m excited to start working on the first draft of my new novel.  One of the first things I do after I map out the plot is to decide on a title.  Now, in case you don’t know, technically, you can name your book with a title that’s already been used, as long as the previously published work’s title is not trademarked.  (For example, you can’t name your book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Chicken Soup for the Soul.)  For obvious reasons, writers generally want to use an original title.  However, there are times when there’s no other title that fits as well as the one the author’s heart is set on and which may already be in use.

For example, when I researched the title for my book, The Other Sister, I found a movie with the same name which is a romantic comedy, and I found a couple of books which were romances.  I figured I was safe to go, since my story was a psychological thriller about twins, one who is kidnapped and the other who enjoys the attention she gets as she searches for her twin.  Then, just now, at this very moment, I Googled the title again, and as it turns out, only last month, another book with the same name was published about both a good and a bad sister, one of whom is kidnapped.   ARGH!  I sure didn’t see that coming when I wrote my story!

Something similar happened last year when I wrote the first draft of The Prison.  Shortly after I finished writing, a similarly titled movie, The Prisoners, came soon to a theater near me.  Of course, when that happened, I had to go see it just to make sure I didn’t need to change my title, but fortunately, that plot and mine were nothing alike.  Nonetheless, it was still frustrating and made me want to pull out my hair!  

Some women can pull off the bald look.  I am not one of them.  In fact, I can’t even pull off short hair.  Believe me when I say, it looks BAD!  A couple of years ago, I got a shoulder-length bob that I was hoping would work for me, but it only made me look like Charles Schulz’s character Peppermint Patty from Peanuts.  YIKES!  That was a very scary few months while I let it grow back. So, the point is, if something frustrates me to the point of pulling out my hair, it is a very bad thing, indeed.

The title of the book I’m starting this week is going to be The Foreboding.  I’ll wait until another time to tell you about the story.  Of course, I Googled it first, and as of right now, the only thing that shares this name is a poem by Robert Graves who died nearly three decades ago.  So for the moment, anyway, I think I’m safe.

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10 thoughts on “I Didn’t See This Coming…

  1. That is frustrating and I do the google thing too. 🙂 For the genre that I currently write for (romance), there are a lot of books that have the same or similar sounding titles (and definitely similar looking covers)….so I feel your pain. Here’s hoping no one else publishes under your title. 🙂

  2. I found the same thing with “Khekarians” (an alien civilization – I write sci-fi). I checked the original version out on the net and found it existed, and then I checked every change I made thereafter. Others had used just about everything. Fortunately there was this spelling left because they were pretty well set in my mind by then – 30 years after the original concept!

    I felt like I had been robbed! 😀

    • Oh, my goodness! I would have definitely thought you were original with “Khekarians”! I can definitely relate to the feeling of having been robbed. I’m glad you found something that you were able to use. 😀

      • Thank you! The ‘h’ as second letter saved me. Actually, I was more concerned that those others would think that I had robbed them, even though I was sure I got there first (of course, I can’t tell that, but with 30 years head start, it’s probably a good bet).

        I think if your book title is not exactly the same and your cover looks very different, you will be all right. As for plots – they say there are only so many, so that’s something we all have to put up with.

        I cringe when I hear of a book, especially a science fiction, that starts off with a murder. Mine, of course, starts off with a murder. I wish I hadn’t done that now, but it’s out there already, I can’t change it.

        At least with the Internet, we can check out some of these things. 🙂

      • Does or will your book have any sequels? (Is that even the right word?) Or I guess I mean is or will it be part of a series? I would imagine if you’ve had the story in your head for 30 years, it’s had a lot of time to grow and develop. 😀

        When my son was little, I told him the story of Gulliver’s Travels every night before bed… And then when Gulliver ran out of the travels that Jonathan Swift had written for him, I made up some of my own. We did that every night for nearly six years! I think if I ever had to write those down, it would be a twelve book series! LOL! 🙂

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