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Punctuation within a title?


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#1 iciclewieldingmaniac

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 09:56 PM

Hey there, thanks for helping me out!! I'm currently working on a manuscript that I should be done with the first  draft of soon, and from close to the beginning I've had a title picked out for the story. I happen to be fond of the title, and it's one of the only times a title has come to me so early on in the writing process, but that's exactly the problem - I don't want to be biased if it's a no-go. My main concern is the use of punctuation in my title, since I know it's not the most common thing to see. As of now the title is Oh, Mother! I like the idea of the title being an exclamation, and despite it being a bit odd, I think it's rather fitting for the story itself, which is a pretty odd horror story with a little bit of mystery and witchcraft mixed in. Needless to say, the "mother" aspect of the title is relevant to the story as well.

 

What are your thoughts? Is having the title be an exclamation a bad idea? Is having punctuation in the title alone a bad idea? I'm happy to provide any details necessary to help anyone who might answer, and I really, really appreciate all the help!!



#2 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:11 PM

I don't know about punctuation, but the title is very similar to that Darran Aronofsky movie Mother! that came out recently.  It was the first thing that came to mind when I read this, so you might want to reconsider the exclamation mark, just on that alone, especially since you say your story is horror as well.



#3 Nessa

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:57 PM

I second DisgruntledWriter. The movie was the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw your title.


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#4 BadgerFox

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 10:18 AM

Well, Goodreads.com turns up a good 900+ books with an exclamation point in the title: https://www.goodread...lamation_Point_ . So we can't say it's NEVER been done before.

 

Of these, the vast majority are younger children's books or anime translations (at a glance), BUT there are some notable adult fiction exceptions. Terry Pratchett gets away with it multiple times, and in some cases with books from early in his career, indicating he was not just getting away with it because he was the world-famous Terry Prachett. Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! counts too, as do a few YA and nonfiction titles. Using exclamation marks tends to impart a comic, youthful or playful tone to the novel, on outside appearance.

 

:) I think you could try an exclamation mark whilst querying. If an agent despises it or knows some secret reason why it's a terrible idea, I guess you just have to be flexible and try to compromise on a changed one.

 

Although, I agree with the posters above that the Darren Aronovsky film is still fresh in everyone's mind right now and the title is nearly identical. Maybe keep an eye on the ratings and imdb comments for that film as you work on your second draft, and if when you go to query it's still popular, reconsider.


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#5 Springfield

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 01:28 AM

Remember titles are just placeholders. Just pick something that fits and move on -- whatever you have will probably not see the light of day if the book is published anyway, so I'd suggest something fairly generic that doesn't take time to come up with!



#6 iciclewieldingmaniac

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for all the answers guys, I really appreciate it a lot!! And Wow, I completely wasn't even thinking of that movie!! I never saw it so maybe that's why I didn't think of the same connection immediately, but it's definitely good to get feedback like this so I can know what other people think and the types of associations with that sort of title. I'll definitely take all that into consideration when I eventually get around to querying, but since it really is just a placeholder right now and I still have a lot of work to do before then I won't kill myself over thinking of the best title right now. I just wanted to get some input along the way^^ If I still like that title when I'm finally ready to query then I'll definitely check the popularity of the movie and people's opinions beforehand, but who knows, by then I might scrap the title completely anyway.

 

But once again, thanks for all the advice!! I know a good title is important, but since what's most important is the book's content I'll work really hard so I can be ready for editing and beta readers hopefully as soon as possible!!






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