I am having a very hard time titling what I hope will be my second novel.

There are two outcomes of each title I write: 1) it stinks, and I know it right away or 2) I am utterly enamored with it as soon as it hits the page, only to find after a day or two it grows soft, gray, and flat.

I tend to start with low concept titles, over-wrought and abstract ones that give the reader no idea, no clue what they are getting themselves into. These titles are artsy, literary, and pleasing to only one reader—me. Slowly, painfully, I find my way to the high concept titles, those that draw the reader in. Those simple titles that tell the reader something central about what they are getting themselves into when they pick up my prose. 

The only way I’ve found of getting to these better titles is via a list, getting all the low concept titles out, onto the page, so that they can be forgotten and I can get to the ones that have potential. The tenable titles come at least ten titles into the list, more in most cases. 

Finally, the chosen title must always be set out to rest. It must still be the title of choice days and weeks later.

And this is how titles are made.