A misleading title is an ingenious way to create a plot twist. I have seen it employed in two stories, a soulful country ballad and in the second book of a magical trilogy. The methods of implementation were so different too. The song’s was straightforward while the novel was a plot twist over a plot twist.
Micro Plot Twist
If you heard the title of the song, Girl Crush, by Little Big Town – what would you think it was about? Especially after you hear the nostalgic woman’s voice singing it, it sounds like a serenade to a lover. But which lover?
Here is an excerpt from the song that clues you in on how the song writer mislead us.
I want to taste her lips
Yeah, cuz they taste like you
I want to drown myself
In a bottle of her perfume
I want her long blond hair
I want her magic touch
Yeah, cuz maybe then
You’d want me just as much
Read more: Little Big Town – Girl Crush Lyrics | MetroLyrics
Clever lyrics, right? It was a girl crush, but it was really about wanting the man the girl was with. I call that a great plot twist.
For your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached a video of the song below.
Doubting the Title
When I read the The Wicked King by Holly Black, I spent half the time doubting the title of the book. Most of the story was spent showing a more vulnerable side of Cardan. The author made the readers fall in love with the wicked king, made me understand why he was the way he was. She made the reader forgive his faults and made me want to help him save his kingdom.
And just as the protagonist, Jude, trusts him – even going as far as to marry him to give him the power he needed to stand against the queen of the ocean – the author drops a very sudden and totally unexpected plot twist. He exiles the protagonist and turns his back on her.
It was as if the author was saying, “See, I told you so. There was a reason the book’s title was The Wicked King.” I felt like curling into a ball to lick my wounds at the betrayal.
But, boy, do I want to get the next book in the series as soon as it’s available. What a brilliant way to end a second book in a trilogy.
Use the Tool
A story’s title is the first element readers see. It helps them decide whether they want to read your book or not. I think it should be part of your story, not just something you put on the cover that best describes what you wrote.
It could be part of your plot twist or something they think about after they finish your story. Which character did it pertain to? What event was it describing?
Your title can be just a title, but it can be so much more.