Wanted: One Intriguing Title

Yes, it’s that time again! My work-in-progress, which I’ve been calling The Waif, needs a permanent title. My agent and editor and I are putting our heads together to come up with just the right title, but in the past you all have added some great ideas to the mix so I thought I’d ask for a little input. We have the added task this time of coming up with a title that will work in the United Kingdom and Australia as well as in the United States, because I’d like to put an end to duplicate titles for the same book. I’m discovering this is quite a challenge!

The story involves four people: four-year-old Bella, her twenty-three-year-old father, Travis, a thirty-four-year-old stranger to them both named Erin, and Bella’s mother, Robin, whom Bella has never seen. (I know…it’s already complicated!). The main thrust of the story is that Travis feels desperate and has to make a very difficult decision out of love and caring for Bella and then everything goes wrong. I don’t want to give away too much here!

Some of the ideas we’ve come up with, none of which I really like yet, are:

Somebody’s Child

Nobody’s Child

The Decision

The Plan

Leaving Bella

The Girl without the Dragon Tattoo (joking!)

The Choice

The Forgotten Child

My editor suggested possibly using a line from a nursery rhyme or fairy tale, so that might be fun to play with. 

So, in addition to writing very, very fast, thinking about titles is how I’ll be spending my weekend. Feel free to join me!


  1. Brenda on January 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Will the nursery rhyme work in all countries??I have to admit all the titles and new covers r confusing. My friends agree whether ordering the books or kindle online. One title will be great but beware they will prob ask u to change it on a few years. Good luck with the title. The ones listed sound great but since we don’t know more it would be difficult to choose…

  2. carolyn mirabella on January 8, 2011 at 12:05 am

    from the picture given I thought immediately Little Miss Muffit so a play on that might work also When Things Go Wrong–Pray

  3. carolyn mirabella on January 8, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Remebering the Child

  4. Robert W. Walker on January 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Bella’s Time
    Bella’s War
    Bella’s Heart

    Time for Bella
    Fight for Bella

    Bella’s Day
    Bella’s Love
    A Flower for Bella

    Bella & Donna (play on Belladonna)

    Just some thoughts! Good luck finding your title.

    rob walker

  5. Karen Underwood on January 8, 2011 at 12:26 am

    For the Sake of Bella

  6. cindy mathes on January 8, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Choices:For the love of Bellla

    Diane, how long do we have to wait for this book??? Well that is way too long…lol

  7. Joanie on January 8, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Some ideas:

    1) For The Love Of Bella

    2) How Many Roads Must A Man Walk Down (Song Lyric – could describe Travis and the roads / decisions he is making in life)

    3) Tug-of-War (from your description it sounds like Bella is stuck in the middle and that’s how I always felt as a child and described it as a tug-of-war with me in the middle and my parents on either side)

    4) Little Girl Lost

    5) Wednesday’s Child (like the nursery rhyme – Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe…)

  8. Denise on January 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Joanie, I like ‘Little Girl Lost’ and the Wednesday’s child idea. Diane, I think Nicholas Sparks already grabbed ‘The Choice.’

    Loving Bella

  9. Denise on January 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Bella’s Promise

  10. Diane Chamberlain on January 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

    re The Choice: I don’t really like it, but titles can’t be copyrighted. There are many with that title. Luanne Rice also has a SUMMER’S CHILD.

    These ideas are helping spark more for me! The book is suspenseful, so I need to make that clear in the title if I can. Denise, I suggested LOVING BELLA, but my editor wanted a more meatier word than ‘Loving.’

    Still thinking!

  11. Margo on January 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I’m putting my thinking cap on all weekend Diane…will blog later and give some ideas.

  12. Tina on January 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hey, Diane…How about Vagabond Girl ? 🙂
    Hugs! T

  13. Brenda on January 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I don’t think the titles with a character’s name works as well for novels as short stories
    Wednesday’s child prob has nothing to do with plot
    Diane you do a great job with your titles
    Look at the trilogy. Perfect

  14. Brenda on January 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Forgotten child
    Those are haunting titles

  15. Diane Chamberlain on January 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I love the word Forgotten, but since Australia just released The Shadow Wife as The Forgotten Son, I can’t use it or I’ll just be adding to the confusion.

  16. Brenda on January 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    One of my favorite books ever
    Mothers and daughters
    My daughter gave it to me when she married
    Simple title memorable book

  17. Chantal on January 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    After a little thinking I like



    But your readers had better ideas than mines. Just want to write on your blog!!!!!

    Happy new year everyone

  18. Diane Chamberlain on January 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    you can write here any time you like, Chantal!

  19. brenda on January 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Chantal-which of Diane’s books have you read? Which are your favorite SO FAR????

  20. Ashley on January 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Maybe something like “A Father’s Fight” or a couple song lyrics/titles that come to mind are “Daddy’s Hands” or “All I have to be, is my daughter’s father”- not that the lyric works that well, i just like the song 😛
    Can’t wait for this book, or the next one or any of them 😛

  21. Denise on January 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Bella’s Dream(s)

    My Bella

    Fighting for Bella

    Someday with Bella

    Bella Lugosi 🙂

  22. Margo on January 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Here’s a few:


    I’s still thinking…(-O:

  23. Margo on January 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    A few more:


  24. Margo on January 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm


  25. Margo on January 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm


  26. Diane Chamberlain on January 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Margo, you’re a virtual title machine! My favorite so far is Denise’s “Bela Lagosi,” but I don’t think my editor will go for it.

    Seriously, this brainstorming is a huge help. I’m still playing around, but you’ve all taken me in some new directions. . .

  27. Margo on January 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Just when you think I’m done, I’m not:


    Diane, these titles may not fit since I don’t know much about the story, but hopefully they give you ideas…I’m always thinking of titles for my paintings so once I start coming up with possibilities, I can’t stop. (-O:

  28. Brenda on January 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    If the mother is coming back into the picture
    My daughter
    My child

  29. Brenda on January 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    For the child
    Someone may have said that bit I love it
    For The Child
    For My Daughter

  30. Karen on January 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Everything to Lose
    Lost and Found
    Letting Go
    For the Best
    The Best He Could
    Too Little, Too Late

  31. Brenda on January 10, 2011 at 6:03 am

    ‘Twinkle twinkle little Star’

  32. Brenda on January 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Is there another Brenda on the website
    Wow. That is great
    I am the one friends with Margo
    I have the little green thing before my name
    Not the purple

  33. Diane Chamberlain on January 10, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Two Brendas! lovely!
    i sent a bunch of these titles to my editor along with some I came up with, but she’s not crazy about any of them. Our favorite so far is Karen’s ‘Everything to Lose’. That gets across the suspense element I may not have made clear in my little synopsis. We’ll see what happens!

  34. Margo on January 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Diane, somehow the ‘suspense element’ did not sink in for me…here’s a few more:


  35. Margo on January 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm


  36. Brenda on January 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I did not get the suspense either sorry

  37. Brenda on January 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I am sure you check amazon before you choose a title
    I know they ard not copyrighted
    Check everything to lose
    Great great title but…

  38. Brenda on January 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I do not think it matters unless the title is recent
    Teachers were talking today about loving series novels and simple titles
    I think that is why some of us remember your trilogy and Annie better than
    others. I love A Different Path
    Memorable. Simple

  39. Margo on January 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Brenda, when I was brainstorming for titles this past weekend, A DIFFERENT PATH was my favorite too…(-O:

  40. Beth on January 16, 2011 at 2:21 am

    The Bridge To Bella
    The Gate To/For Bella

    Travis means gatekeeper or toll collector of a bridge or ford.

  41. Beth on January 16, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Bella’s Bridge
    Bella’s Gate
    Bella’s Key
    The Key To My Heart

  42. Diane Chamberlain on January 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Interesting concept, Beth! Thanks for playing.

  43. Angela on January 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Not sure if you’ve chosen a title yet, but I wanted to throw some out there. I actually like your working title, “The Waif”. Any chance you could use that in the mix of something else, like Bella’s Waif (b/c she’s a waif but she also has her own castaway hopes and it ties in with “wait” for what she’s waiting for). Or Wanted Waif or Losing Bella or Lost Waif.

  44. Corey Ann on January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Oh what the heck… I’ll play.

    (Nursery Rhymes/Lullaby inspired)

    Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
    Life is But a Dream
    Ring Around the Roses
    All Through the Night
    Baby Mine

  45. Diane Chamberlain on January 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Angela, when I mentioned the title The Waif on FB, several people didn’t know what it meant, so it’s a no-go, unfortunately.

    Thanks for playing, Corey Ann!

  46. Jana on January 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Just tuned in…


  47. Ramona on January 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Just thiking out loud here:

    Beloved Bella
    Believing in Bella
    Bella’s Soul

  48. Connie G on January 24, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Hey! Catching up on your blog and a few ideas came to me for a title:

    Watching from the Shadows (as children always do)

    End of the Sky (heard it once as a description as to where a “lost” child seemed to be staring)

    Robin’s Nest? (not sure about using a character’s name, though)

  49. Diane Chamberlain on January 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks, Connie. We’re still working on it. . .

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