Titles: The Hardest Part of Writing a Work

 

A title to me should be a message about a work. It resonates a theme or idea from within the words of the pages of the story being depicted. Titles like Catch 22, The Jungle, The Grapes of Wrath, Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Time to Kill, Unwind, The Scarlet Letter, A Christmas Carol, Animate Me, Always You, Brightside, The Matriarch, Unlit Star, and so many more have deeper meanings than just words on the front cover. When I came up with the titles of Resurrection and Up to Bat I thought long and hard about what they conveyed and how a reader with a deeper sense of literature deconstruction would figure out the thematic relevance to each title.

Resurrection is a change or rebirth, and most people connect the word with the rebirth of Christ from the Christian biblical ideology. They feel it is a purity of soul type of denotative meaning. In contrast, the connotative structure denotes it is a restructuring of something or someone. A time of truth-telling and coming to grips with what one is faced with, and how to turn sour grapes around into something far more meaningful. When the cover and title were designed, it was intentional to give it a black and white image and a simplistic peaceful tone because the darker chaos of the first few chapters and the twist at the end needed downplaying as the love story is the absolution for the resurrection of the characters.

Jenna built her life around one controlling man and lost herself over the years. She trusted him implicitly and overlooked many things which may have changed her course long before his illness took him. Once she faces the reality of the prison he held her in, she does reinvent herself based out of the truths which are opened along her journey to resurrecting herself.
Chase is saddened by his sudden loss and his resurrection comes with finding out that his happiness makes a world of difference in his attitude with his kids, family, and his new love. He is resurrected through realizing going through the motions of life does not make a person whole, therefore this change is a positive place for him to expand on a new journey with a clear vision in his head of what this salvation looks like for him, his children, his new love, and his family and friends. Therefore, the road to resurrecting oneself may end on the same path, but each person takes a different avenue to arrive at this higher ground.

Many readers see a cover and read the title and assume sports, millionaire, dystopia, sci-fi, power struggle or some other blatant genre or trope ideal.Up to Bat is a little trickier to uncovering the message behind the words and visual. However, Up to Bat stands for many things and one of the face values is that it does address sports and the team style approach, but if Sam and Blake are examined closer, on the cover, he has his hand pushing a stray hair off of her face. They are looking at each other, but it is not in lust, but rather in inquiry. The idiom of being up to bat means to take a chance, it is your turn, make a move.

In Up to Bat, Sam is faced with a myriad of issues which all filter back to her need to move up to the plate and take that chance. She is fighting inner demons which she has shoved under the carpet for a long time; she buried herself in her college studies and her internship to avoid true relationships, and she is her own worst enemy for not risking a chance and making some less structured moves in her own life.

Blake, on the other hand, is always up to bat; he’s ready to take risks and in an underlying way his charity is named Up to Bat to prove that risks are worth trying your luck and standing strong in the end. He risks his life in his undercover job, but he also is making a move on something he knows he wants, Samantha. Each character is having to gamble and make those up to bat decisions and learn from the balls thrown their way. This, in turn, changes the literal denotative idea of Up to Bat being a sole sports romance, to a connotative reality about life and making sure not to waste moments living in the past and playing it safe. Both Sam and Blake have things to work on before they can actually swing the bat, but being up to bat is where people must start to take any of life’s journeys.

Some critics will take a superficial look at the covers and the titles and make biased opinions based on surface level understandings of a title and the respective covers. In the 21st century a world of insta-gratification leaves most to resort to the obvious. This is what some segments of society would rather see; things laid out blatantly rather than having to work for the underlying meanings, themes, and ideologies set forth by an author. Often this digging deeper into the context and content of a work is passed off and missed by the surface level readers and it takes a moment to slow down and dive deeper into a text.

However, I believe there are readers who are tired of the surface level read and the over implied meanings surrounding fiction novels. I believe many readers give up reading because of this infusion of insta-gratification prose. The readers who commit to a deeper level and understand the buried inferred context of the literature seek more difficult reads or look back at a cover or title and think, “Oh, I get it, that was clever.” They may even think, “Hmm I like what the author did, but I might have tried XYZ and tweaked this a little.” The point is it made the reader think, and they were entertained enough to interact with the text.

This is the case for which I selected my titles and covers. It is my hope that more authors and readers decide to take this journey into deeper level thinking rather than expecting the predictable and simplistic approach to literature. Please, don’t get me wrong, I read all over the place and sometimes those quick pick reads are nice and leave a reader with a feel-good sense and there is value in that harmonious balance of easy and difficult as well.

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