Work in Progress: the Title Search


Here we go again!

Last year I asked you to put on your thinking caps to help me title my work-in-progress. Frequent commenter Denise came up with Secrets She Left Behind, which my publisher, agent and I all agreed was a winner. (Look for it in your bookstores on May 26th).

Now it’s time to give the new book a title, so I’ll give you a small peek inside the story (without giving anything away, I promise), and I’ll tell you the titles I’m thinking about.

(Note: A while back, I told you the setting was Beaufort, North Carolina and Ecuador. Scratch Ecuador. Scratch Beaufort, too, but leave North Carolina. The book will take place somewhere near the NC coast).

It’s the story of two thirty-something sisters, Maya and Rebecca, both doctors. They have a very loving and supportive relationship, although they’re very different from one another. Maya is serious and cautious. She longs to have a baby with her husband Adam, but is not able to. Rebecca is a risk taker who works for a Doctors Without Borders type organization and who sleeps with whatever guy happens to be available (well, almost). Their parents were murdered when they were 14 and 18, after which Rebecca essentially raised and protected Maya.

Since I don’t want to give anything away, but do need to give you some ideas to help your thought process, here are some elements in the story:

  • Back-to-back hurricanes, sister storms (too many ‘S’s in those two words for a good title). 
  • A man with blue eyes (not a good guy).
  • Maya’s fearfulness and Rebecca’s courage.
  • Secrets surrounding their childhood.
  • An old cabin on a wooded piece of land, surrounded by floodwaters.
  • A young woman, very significant in the story, who is a teeny bit mystical.
  • Themes of family love and protection, people living up–or down–to their “labels” (risk-taker; cautious), betrayal, hope, forgiveness, inner strength.

Does that help? Here are some titles I’m playing with:

  • The Lies We Told
  • The Man with Blue Eyes
  • The ______ of __________ Creek (first blank refers to the mystical woman, second to the name of the fictional creek)

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, and I can’t wait to actually finish this manuscript. It’s a clear case of a story veering wildly from my carefully planned outline, but what else is new?  



  1. brenda on March 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Diane-did you have a MAYA in one of your books…or was that Delinsky? I’ll look as I am rereading all of your books and all of hers…it just sounds familiar…I am probably incorrect. As to the title-I’ll think on it. I am still getting your new title mixed up with B. Delinsky’s new title-while my sister sleeps-it is just the “s”–sorry–old age creeping in.

  2. brenda on March 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Leave out the man with blue eyes…(my opinion)
    Is the mystical creature the protagonist–or are the girls???
    Titles (as you know) make us think of the main idea “Story of an Hour” The woman had hopes-lost hopes-in an hour…Jilting of Granny Weatherall…”A Rose for Emily” JANE EYRE…etc…your books-the minute I look at the title-I have an idea about the story-they are great…I am assuming The Secrets will be the same…
    The Lies We Told-quite intriguing
    The ___ of ___Creek-quite intriguing…
    Woman-you amaze me–one book about to be released-and you are this far in the next one…good grief…

  3. Gina on March 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Diane, I’ll put my thinking cap on. This book sounds GOOD! Hmm….

  4. Diane Chamberlain on March 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Brenda, the story’s about the women, but the “mystical creature” is a catalyst. And mystical is too strong a word. She’s just. . .different.
    I’ve had a Mara (Cypress Point) and a Mia (Fire and Rain). No Maya’s till now. And I’m still not 100% convinced this woman’s going to remain a Maya. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Julie on March 30, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Is she a wisewoman or healer? Is there a high concept or main conflict?

  6. Julie on March 30, 2009 at 12:47 am

    I needed some distraction from my own work. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And I could think about titles all day long … sometimes I do.)
    Deluge of lies
    Flood of lies
    The Wisewoman of Storm Creek
    Wisdom and the Flood
    The Wisewoman’s Warning
    Wisdom Rising
    Word of Warning
    Hidden in the Flood
    Tempest of Lies
    Tempest of Truth
    Truth in the Tempest
    Blue-Eyed Tempest
    The Wisewoman of Tempest Creek
    Shelter Creek

  7. Margo on March 30, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Diane, this is really exciting! I’ve thought of a few titles but want to think on it some more. Here is what I have:
    GRACE THROUGH THE WOODS (if your mystical girl is named Grace)

  8. Denise on March 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Nice title suggestions, ladies! I’ll need to put on my thinking cap.

  9. Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    You all are amazing! Just whipping those titles out. I’m adding a few to my “to be considered” list.
    Julie, there IS a main conflict, but I’m not ready to reveal it quite yet, because the characters are whipping it into a state of flux at the moment. In other words, what I THOUGHT i was writing about may not turn out to be what I’m writing about. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. cindy on March 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Sisters and the Sage
    sagebrook crossing

  11. brenda on March 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    If the story is about the murders, the title will be different…if it is about the two sisters…another choice…I like Childhood Secrets (but you have the book coming out SECRETS)…AFter They Are Gone-the parents…The Act of Forgiveness…I like that if it fits…

  12. brenda on March 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Is the “different” woman like the one who lived in the cave????

  13. Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Brenda, you’re thinking of Kate in my third book, Secret Lives. She is one of my all time favorite characters. I think I’ve TRULY led you all astray by calling this woman mystical. She’s just a backwoods kinda gal, just 18, but there’s something about her that propels one of the sisters forward.
    Everyone’s ideas are giving me some great food for thought!

  14. Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Cindy, I love the word ‘sage’ (even though, unfortunately, it doesn’t fit the book). Reminds me of dinner last night (Sage pork chops. One of my favorite meals to cook. Not that there are all that many).

  15. brenda on March 30, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Gotcha!! l8…What about Daughters Alone…????

  16. Denise on March 30, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Okay, this probably has nothing to do with anything but…
    See? Told you. Lol

  17. RobynL on March 30, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Blue Eyes in the Rain
    Blue Eyes Looking Back
    Double Waters
    Double Troubled Waters
    Double Damage
    Bridge Over Troubled Waters
    The Soothsayer of Cattail Creek
    The Receptive ….. of
    The Compulsive girl of High Water Creek
    Rising of the Creek
    Troubled Waters Surrounding Cattail Creek

  18. RobynL on March 31, 2009 at 12:14 am

    The mysterious girl of
    The Mysteries of Crane Creek
    ” ” ” Swift Current Creek

  19. Robyn Lee on March 31, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Forever Sisters
    No End of Familial Love
    Sisters Forever
    Through Thick and Thin, We’re Sisters
    Courage in the Time of Fear

  20. Diane Chamberlain on March 31, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Welcome to the blog, Robyn.
    You all are so much better than I am at thinking up titles!!!

  21. cindy on March 31, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Delusions shattered
    Stormy Illusions
    Torrent of Delusion

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