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Picking a good title?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Alex, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Alex

    Alex Troubadour

    I know you all have probably heard it before, but are their methods for picking titles, if so, are there any that you are willing to share?
  2. Leif GS Notae

    Leif GS Notae Closed Account

    It depends on the piece and what comes from it. This is why working titles are great. You can have a great title, but if somewhere in your story a better fitting one comes up, you should go with that.

    I've heard people say you need a title before you write. That works with articles and some fiction, but not always. I can wait until I hit that moment where I say "a-ha" and jot it down without worry and accept it can change.

    Mindmapping can help too. Sometimes you sit down and write ideas, words, thoughts, whatever that springs from your mind. Capture it all and take a look at it. You can see good things in all that chaos, I am sure.

    Hope that helps!
  3. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

    I've heard of authors making lists of words that capture the "feel" of their book and pick a title from that, otherwise I have no idea. I hate picking titles. I've definitely never had one picked out before I started writing a story.
  4. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    To tell the truth, I often worry about title even before I start a story. I consider myself fairly good with titles, so usually I don't worry about them for very long, with two prominent exceptions. One, a story I wrote long ago whose title I thought was fine at the time, and now hate. I resolved to change it and after maybe ten minutes of brainstorming came up with one I liked better. Two, my current novel-in-progress, for which I still have no title and furthermore have no clue what it might end up being. This is highly unusual for me.

    I'm not going to worry about the title for that novel, though, until it is finished and I have to worry about showing it to other people. That gives me at least another seven, maybe eight months (if I keep to my goal). When it's done, I'll know so much more about the story, world, and characters that I can only assume a title will present itself.

    My primary concerns with titles are that they be catchy, and roll pleasantly off the tongue. After all, it's a single line that supposedly 'sums up' your book, but is that really possible? I say no. So, worry about attracting people with the title. Make it visually and aurally pleasing.
  5. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    I have placeholder titles for everything, so far one has stuck.
  6. Voldermort

    Voldermort Guest

    I find that the title comes to me later in the story. It's the last thing I worry about. But a good method for me is to look at news articles and how the titles are made catchy.
  7. Taytortots

    Taytortots Minstrel

    I have great difficulty with titles, my novel in progress only has a working title that frankly, doesn't work at all.
    Many people write before titling, because as you develop you learn much more about the story you are telling, maybe this would work well for you, if you're not opposed to writing an untitled work.
    What I do is think about the main things/people in my book. For example, the main character, sure his name is Bob, but does he have a title? Do people call him something else? What is Bobs focus? What is Bob trying to achieve? etc. You may find something worthwhile in there.
    I also found this link that may be of help, if not to just get your mind thinking How to Title a Novel | eHow.com
    I hope this helped and good luck.
  8. Xanados

    Xanados Maester

    A good title is one that fits with a prime element of your story, I believe. It could be an abstract notion or a series of nouns.
  9. terence.soule

    terence.soule Dreamer

    I had major problems coming up with a title for my novel, and am not sure if my final choice was a good one (opinions are welcome). I wanted to use "The Silver Skull" but there are already several novels, including at least one fantasy novel, with that title. My working title was "The Old City", but it lacked punch. I settled on "The Seventh Bridge", which I think (hope?) has a certain ring to it - seven being a 'mystic' number, bridges implying the passage between places, etc. And there is a seventh bridge that reoccurs several times in the novel in a semi-central role.
  10. Xanados

    Xanados Maester

    At the moment my major project is only named "Incantations". I think I'd prefer to use a codename rather than "untitled".
  11. Jhunter

    Jhunter Dreamer

    My titles have always come naturally and organically. And always refer to the work in some fashion.

    I would keep plugging along on your work and wait for one to come to you.

    Always works for me.

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