Crime and Punishment
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
The Master and Margarita
The Old Man and the Sea
The Prince and the Pauper
The Sound and the Fury
War and Peace
What do all these book titles have in common? They're titles that are made up of two nouns and a conjunction. We'll call them towofers. The two nouns can represent anything, but usually they describe something about two characters, or the protagonist and the conflict, or two central aspects of the plot.
Jane Austen was fond of twofers, as were many classic authors. J.K. Rowling has used them exclusively for her series, and you'd be hard-pressed to walk through a romance section at the bookstore and not see a twofer. Category romance publishers have gone a little overboard with their dramatic twofer titles, but I can't deny that when I see something titled The Stinkin' Rich Widowed Tycoon of Titillating Ethnic Origins and The Virginal Gorgeous Easily-Blackmailed Governess, I get the idea of what the story's about immediately.
I tend not to use twofers, as I like short (preferably one-word) titles, but they come in handy when I'm at a complete loss for a title to slap on the pitch. I'm putting together a proposal for Valentin's story, for example, and so far I haven't worked up a decent title. Right now it's called Sun and the Swan Prince; Sun for the name of my female protagonist, and the Swan Prince for Valentin, the Kyn lord who nearly lost an arm in Darkyn book two. It won't be the final title, but it's a good place holder and my editor will get it (I thought about going with Swan's Sun, but it sounds too much like a TV dinner.)
Your assignment today: if you had to create a twofer title for your WIP or your favorite novel, what would it be? Tell us in comments.