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Struggling with a catchy title

I’ve already decided on a series and have drafted a basic outline for the first two books, outlined the geography and have a map in my mind that I’d also like to create, but the problem is that I’m struggling to give my stories a name.

How do you all come up with either working titles or finished ones, and do any of you prefer to go in at the end and think up a title?

I’d like them to be themed so the series feels cohesive, and catchy so they are memorable.
 

pmmg

Vala
Well. The over arching series has a title and then each book in it has its own. For me they just kind of popped up as needed. The current one is unsettled though. The story is leading me towards a different title than the current working one cause i feel the current one is only a part of the story and the newer one is more encompassing of the whole.

I think the title should carry a bit about what the book is about.
 
Some aspects of story have come to me really easily and others not, so perhaps it’s my indecisive nature or maybe I just need to do more in depth world building in order to inspire some more names for things. But grr I want a working title.

I like the idea of titles that are comprised of: ‘word’ of ‘word’, such as Game of Thrones and Name of the Wind etc. but then maybe it won’t work if the titles feel too forced.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
You're going to hate me for this, but it just happens. I start writing my stories without having a title, the title just sort of turns up in my mind after a while. It's usually rtelated to something that happens or that some character says.
 

yukio

New Member
It will come to you over time. As someone who most times *hates* their creative writing but *loves* their titles, I often start with a placeholder title that is, beyond on the nose. The deeper you get into the creative, the more likely it is to come to you.

Another thing is to tell willing people about your idea, and then either a) answer them with the first thing that comes to mind and see how you feel or b) ask them what they think it would be called and take note of it. You might hate it, and that reaction might lead your brain to dream up something more favorable.
 

pmmg

Vala
So far, mine all follow the patter of: 'the ___ of ____', and I will try to keep that for all five book in the series.

The title is generally a label for the big question of the book.

The current on I titled, The Herald of (FantasyName), but it is not working out, I think. Mostly because, while the Herald is important to the story, and the events around them shape a lot of things, they are actually only part of the story. The larger story follows four other events, seemingly of similar importance, so why pick out the Herald and call the book after them. It just as easily be The King of (placename), the Battle for (placename), and all would have similar meaning. A more appropriate title should encompass the struggle of all of them. Since all of the nations are linked by similar things, a title like 'The Five Towers' would seem more fitting, as each has a tower, and the events are scattered across them.

For all of my titles, thought, either I knew it going in, or it spoke at me as the work was in progress. I have never gotten the end of a tale and did not know what I would title it.

Other items, like names for currencies, units of measure, celestial bodies... Those took a bit longer to settle on. I am still not sure what I would name my story world. Partly because I think different cultures would name it different things. It may never get a nice pretty name like the Earth.
 
Just give it a name you can refer to easily, which you can use when discussing it with other people or when you're thinking about it. That's good enough for now. It doesn't actually matter what you call it. The simple reason is that you can change the title at any point you want. If you traditionally publish, chances are your editor has an opinion about what to call it, and if you self publish you can change the name at any point you want, even after you've published the book (though that might cost you money since you'd have to change the cover).

While I was writing one of my books I called it "The Dark Crystal", since it was about a Dark Crystal. It was called that even during the editing phase. I changed it when I ordered my cover because I discovered that The Dark Crystal is also a Jim Henson show. And while you can't copyright a title, I don't have the resources to prove that in a court, and that's without going into things like trademarks etc. So I changed it with the stroke of a pen (keyboard).

In general, as with most of the others here, titles come to me as I write the book. At other times, I sit down and try a few different options, playing on the plot and the themes of the books.
 

Curatia

Scribe
Sometimes our team has a title before we start drafting and other times we get pretty far into development before a title presents itself. We are actually in a place now where we know the titles for book 6 and 7, but book 4's title is eluding us.

My advice would be to keep working on the draft under a working title - it can be anything: a character's name, a setting name, it doesn't really matter. As you draft, keep track of the major themes that develop and that should lead you to a title with time.

I think your desire to have ______ of ______ titles is fine. They are usually well received in the fantasy market.
 

Nighty_Knight

Troubadour
No idea. I have been working on my main story for over a decade. I have a basic outline for 9 books and the first 6 have detailed outlines. 60+ named realms, 200+ named characters. No title whatsoever. Not for a book or series. Lol, everything I have seen has already been used to an extent. I figure I will come up with one before I finish everything.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Titles are bad (blurbs are worse, but that's a mare for another night). I agree with everyone else about just grabbing something, but there's an aspect to this that bedevils me; namely, when I start a Scrivener project, I have to name it. Sure, I could call it something like Book Two. I could call the series Unnamed Series. But that gets embedded all over the place in the project and changing it isn't always easy. Moreover, one starts to refer to the project elsewhere--on your website, on Facebook, here in a forum. More moreover, at some point you'll be hiring a cover artist and boy howdy you don't want to be changing the title after you've paid for the cover.

IOW, choosing the name isn't without implications.

So, I do try to come up with a title fairly early. In some cases, that just clicks. A Child of Great Promise was that almost from the first. So was Into the Second World. My first novel was Goblins at the Gates, which I actually didn't much like but everyone around me said it was a good choice, so it stuck.

My best advice is to give it the same sort of attention you would to choosing a name for your main characters, or for writing the cover blurb. It's an important choice and deserves writerly attention, which means trying out lots of alternatives, asking around, and using your instincts to make the final choice.
 

Insolent Lad

Maester
I'll admit, I often have the title before I have any idea what a story (or poem or song) is about. Whenever I think of some phrase that might be useful for a future project, I jot it down in a list. So, I usually have some sort of title when I get started, even if it changes later. And maybe I can even reuse that original name for something else.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>I jot it down in a list.
This, definitely. The more I write, the longer becomes my lists -- not only for story titles but also character and place names. I collect them.
 
>I jot it down in a list.
This, definitely. The more I write, the longer becomes my lists -- not only for story titles but also character and place names. I collect them.
I’m also a list maker and if I see or find a name or idea I like, it goes on the list!
 
Sometimes our team has a title before we start drafting and other times we get pretty far into development before a title presents itself. We are actually in a place now where we know the titles for book 6 and 7, but book 4's title is eluding us.

My advice would be to keep working on the draft under a working title - it can be anything: a character's name, a setting name, it doesn't really matter. As you draft, keep track of the major themes that develop and that should lead you to a title with time.

I think your desire to have ______ of ______ titles is fine. They are usually well received in the fantasy market.
Any tropes that are just overdone in your op?
 
My story deals with two main themes I suppose - womanhood, birth and rebirth, and earthly elemental forces made of stone, so how to combine those two things to make a interesting title. I’m definitely overthinking this, but that is my middle name.
 

pmmg

Vala
Mother-nature, magic, and midwifery.
Women, witches and wailing new borns?
Midwives of stone?
Deliverer of stones and babies?
She brings stones and babies?
Stoned and happy birthday?
Birth under the stones?
Kid rocks?
I got a rock?

I dont got very much for that one. I think id have to know more.
 
Mother-nature, magic, and midwifery.
Women, witches and wailing new borns?
Midwives of stone?
Deliverer of stones and babies?
She brings stones and babies?
Stoned and happy birthday?
Birth under the stones?
Kid rocks?
I got a rock?

I dont got very much for that one. I think id have to know more.
Great, sorted. ‘I Got a Rock’ it is then.

There’s a brilliant book out there called midwives, witches and nurses but I don’t think my book is midwifery heavy enough to use a title with that word literally in it.

I’ll come back to the thread with some potentials and maybe it’ll get me thinking.
 
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