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When do you come up with a title for your novel?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Burst, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Burst

    Burst Scribe

    Do you come up with it before you start it or come up with it after your done?
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I generally title things afterward. Sometimes at the start, but then it is always subject to change.
  3. Chime85

    Chime85 Sage

    Tbh, I usually have a "working title" to begin with. Something that reminds me of the general theme or subject matter of my work, straight off the bat. If I happen to like that title once finished, all the better, if I'm not so happy about it, I'l give it a long think afterwards.
  4. FireBird

    FireBird Troubadour

    I usually pick one word to just label it for organizational purposes. I haven't actually finished anything yet so I don't know what I would change it to. Right now my working title is Requiem for instance. In this case it matches the work, but as long as I know which label goes to which WIP it doesn't matter.
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    It varies. Sometimes, as in the case of my books Winter's Queen and Low Road, I come up with a title near the beginning and it fits perfectly and sticks. Other times I have a lot of trouble coming up with a title, or decide not to try coming up with one until the story is done.
  6. JacobMGibney

    JacobMGibney Dreamer

    I thought it would be really difficult to come up with a title I liked for my WIP but yesterday it just came to me. I was going to wait until I had finished writing but I guess it all depends!
  7. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Yes. :D

    But seriously. I usually have a working title. Sometimes its something like B2G that really means nothing to anyone but me. Other times, it's a title I'm seriously considering. But I never decide on a title until the piece is finished. The process of writing the story gives me a deeper understanding of it, so something I come up with at the beginning sometimes no longer applies.
  8. I usually start with the title, that way I know what the story will be about. It keeps me on track with the story, so I don't wander.
  9. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I generally start with a working title as soon as I start getting mildly serious (ie, more than one Word file). These tend to be descriptive, like "bronze age town" for the one set in a bronze age town, and "lich story" for the one with the lich, or sometimes the main character's name. As I continue working on it, I might come up with a better working title, like, for the lich one, "Teurdin's End", which I'm quite happy with because it is the name of the village where the action begins because, at the characters later discover, an evil sorcerer called Teurdin was killed and buried there (guess who the lich is?) and if only for that little bit of wordplay I plan on returning to that story. Sometimes, as with that example, my second working title is something I think of as a potential title. Other times the working title is an upgrade but not good for a real title, like the bronze age town one is called "Perenke" now, which is the name of the town (what is it with me and naming books after places?)

    Having said that, with The General's Secret I actually started with the title. I'd used a title generator when looking for something I could use for what is now called Flame Undying (my only completed first draft), and saved a load, and after a dream which gave me the idea for the story, I linked it with the title from my list of cool titles and that was it. The title shaped the story as much as my dream did. Now both those stories are well and truly binned, though.
  10. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    Sometimes it's worth considering that when your manuscript/idea is fully matured (not necessarily "complete") then and only then will a title show itself. I never force a title onto a piece of writing. It could happen before, during or after, but when the right title for the job appears I find there no question.

    Before that time ... eh.
  11. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    Usually when writing & most of the self-revision is complete. I like picking a phrase from the writing itself to serve as a title. Because of this, I see little reason in choosing words that may wind up altered or cut during edit.
  12. johnsonjoshuak

    johnsonjoshuak Troubadour

    I didn't come up with the title for The Cerberus Rebellion until I was about 2/3 done. The other planned books in the series already had their titles at this point (one of those titles got scrapped, but you get the picture). This was the first book that really gave me trouble in finding a title for it.
  13. I came up with the title for my novel (THE QUEEN OF MAGES) before I started writing it, when I just had a concept; then I was going to call it MINDFIRE, but went back to the original title later on (using MINDFIRE as the series name).

    I already know the titles for books 2 (THE SILVER WAR) and 3 (...I ain't sayin' yet) in the series, but of course that could change if I come up with something better.
  14. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    What does Mindfire think of you using his name?

    You'll know when the right title hits you. I always have a generic working title which I use until the real title hits me between the eyes.
  15. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

    i come up with one at start it might change later but at i wip title for me it makes the writing real and easy to find
  16. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    The only work I've ever titled is the one I posted on the forum, and its clunkiness shows that it was whipped up on the spot.

    I'm not too worried about titles, since most of this is writing I do for 'training' purposes and will never see the light of day.
  17. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    I write on a computer, so I have to have a title.
    But in both completed (in process of editing) books, the names have changed.

    The title can change all the way up to printing day. Nothing is set in stone until then.
  18. Wulvaine

    Wulvaine Dreamer

    I typically have a working title. The novel I'm working on at the moment has already had its working title change, and I'm open to the possibility that it will change again several times due to the fact that I have a long way to go before it's done. However, I suspect it will still be some variation on the working title.
  19. Dunno; I came up with the term "mindfire" on my own, well before he joined MS ;)
  20. ncpendergast

    ncpendergast Dreamer

    Ditto. And when I start changing working titles back and forth before the first draft is done, that's generally a bad sign. My current project has its title since the very start, and I'll stick with it (it has a sub-title that changed a few times, because I split it into two books).

    My short stories either start out with only a title that then breeds a story, or with an idea, and the title presents itself once it's done.

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