Wanted: Title Help

Ernest Hemingway fishing in Key West, 1928.

I’m working on a fourth draft of my work in progress, a novel set in Key West when Hemingway lived there.  The protagonist, Mariella Bennet, is a fictitious housekeeper for the Hemingway family who’s torn between her obsession with the writer and her relationship with a WWI vet and boxer working on the Overseas Highway.  The Labor Day hurricane of 1935 occurs during the climax of the book.

Here’s where you come in.  I’m back and forth on my title and I need your help.

My working title all along has been AFTER THE STORM.  It’s the title of a Hemingway short story, and refers to the literal storm on the island, the figurative storm in the characters’ relationships, and what happens as a result.

Lately, however, the title HEMINGWAY’S GIRL has been nagging at me. There are many themes in the book to do with how people use one another for their own purposes; most notably, how Hemingway uses the people he knows to populate his “fiction.”  From a marketing standpoint, to have Hemingway’s name in the title could also be a great way to draw in readers.

So what do you think?  Which title speaks more to you? I realize with the limited information you have about the book you can’t make a truly educated guess, but I’m just looking for gut reaction as I prepare to start the query process.  I’m also aware that the title is often changed by editors at publishing houses, so I’m not promising anything. 🙂

Thanks, in advance, for your input!

(*Photo credit: JFK Library & Museum Hemingway Collection)


31 thoughts on “Wanted: Title Help

  1. Laura says:

    I vote Hemingway’s Girl. It’s more intriguing to me.

  2. Amy says:

    I like them both but I have to agree with Laura. Hemingway’s Girl might be more eye catching on a bookshelf. Good luck 🙂 Either way, I’m looking forward to reading it!

  3. julie says:

    I like Hemingway’s Girl. While both title leave much to the imagination, the second one is more interesting to me. Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Emily says:

    I think Hemingway’s Girl has more of a hook for the audience you’re speaking to. Wow, looks like it’s unanimous so far!

  5. Michele says:

    I like “Hemingway’s Girl”

  6. Kathy says:

    I vote Hemingway’s Girl- I am on the edge of my seat already. I can see the movie and I haven’t read the 1st page yet 🙂

  7. Marnea says:

    I sort of like After the Storm- not for any specific reason, just like it!

  8. Sheri says:

    This is hard, but I like After The Storm.

  9. Eileen says:

    I’m with the rest of the girls…would definitely take a look at “Hemingway’s Girl” in the bookstore…”After the Storm” not so much. Good luck! Of course, I really can’t wait to read what’s between the covers…story sounds great!

  10. Not After the Storm, since most of the story happens Before the storm, and it’s cliche. I like Hemingway’s Girl better, or you could use his name with some item that connects them in the story, like his papers, desk, stairs.

  11. Kathy says:

    After the Storm . . . maybe because it puts you at a point in time. Hmmm.

  12. Jael says:

    I think either would be perfectly good, but AFTER THE STORM is more generic and you never know how many other writers also have it in mind. HEMINGWAY’S GIRL jumps out more, and I think your instinct about it having more marketing appeal is dead-on.

    Love your concept, too. Good luck in the query process!

  13. Ann A says:

    I’ll vote for Hemingway’s Girl.

  14. Jeff Dougherty says:

    I hear the multiple meanings in After the Storm, and sense a strong desire to include Hemingway at the same time… so, therefore I offer:
    option C: Papa’s Storm

    But that’s just me….

  15. Hemingway’s Girl. Instant recognition by your audience, and it has a nice sound.

  16. Hemingway’s Girl is the one I’d pick up off the shelf. It speaks to the tone/plot more than the other one–which sounds like a sea-faring adventure.

  17. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ThereseWalsh and Erika Robuck, Erika Robuck. Erika Robuck said: Wanted: Please help me pick a title for my Work in Progress: http://bit.ly/c3W1Py I'd love your input! […]

  18. sailorchick says:

    If I may, “Hemingway’s House Girl”

    AFTER THE STORM has been used, and it isn’t this story.

    HEMINGWAY’S GIRL suggests a mutuality in the relationship, and this doesn’t sound like a relationship between equals.

    It’s your story, you’ll call it what you like. Good luck.

  19. Hemingway’s Girl is my pick. It reminds me of “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan – another great, true story about a girl involved with a famous artist.

  20. Jami says:

    I love After the Storm!

  21. HEMINGWAY’S GIRL, for two reasons. First, you’ve got a hook right in the title. Second, I’m a go-with-your-gut kind of person, and if that title won’t leave you alone, there’s probably a good reason for it. Trust your own instinct.

  22. Hallie Sawyer says:

    Hemingway’s Girl or maybe Hemingway’s Storm?

  23. erikarobuck says:

    Wow, thanks for all of your input!

  24. Kristan says:

    I vote Hemingway’s Girl also, although there has been some backlash about supposed anti-feminist titles that portray women only in relation to other people (The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, The Murderer’s Daughters, etc.). I don’t personally think any of those titles are sexist, but I’m raising the point for the sake of awareness/consideration, because you might feel differently.

    After the Storm sounds more generic contemporary romance to me. As Tracy said, Hemingway’s Girl is more of a hook.

  25. Nina Badzin says:

    I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon and evening since I saw your Tweet and read the post. My gut feel is Hemingway’s Girl–more specific to your story than After the Storm.

  26. Cathy G says:

    I also vote for Hemmingway’s Girl.
    Very catchy — makes me want to read more NOW!!! =)

  27. Cathy Brady says:

    I like Hemmingways Girl. On the shelf, I would be more apt to pick up that book over After the Storm.

  28. cynthia says:

    Hemingway’s Girl : )

  29. Hemingway’s Girl. Definitely my vote :). It is definitely good eye candy at the bookstore and pulls people into what the story is about before they even pick it up. Good from a marketing angle and it seems to work in terms of theme and plot as well. I really want to read this book…can’t wait for drafts to become a printable text.


  30. […] recently completed a fifth draft of my work in progress, Hemingway’s Girl, and I’m preparing my assignments for the Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop in September. […]

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