Titles

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by juelz4sure, Mar 4, 2012.

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    juelz4sure

    juelz4sure New Member

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    For me I really struggle with finding a title for my book, I'm just wondering how many people have the same struggles. It's not a big deal yet but I know its coming. Anyways I was just wondering and maybe some tips on how to come up with titles.

    juelz
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    telford

    telford Member

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    Hello Juelz,
    I had the same problem but I wrote the novel then worried about the title. Once your story is complete an appropriate title will come to mind. At least, that's how it worked for me. Good luck. T.
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    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    I changed the title of my book about ten times before deciding on it's final name.

    I find you really don't know the perfect title for your book until you have at least finished a couple of drafts. There are some exceptions to that though. Like DEO's work, and my second project. We both figured out the perfect name it seems before even starting, but that's because they are not our first works I believe.
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    Galacticdefender

    Galacticdefender SUN STEALER

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    Write the book, then make a title based on the content.
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    JandenHale

    JandenHale Litus of the Red Helm

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    I agree with these others, you'll probably end up going through a few titles, and it's normal to do that. I differ in that I usually write all my books and stories around a title.
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    TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Ninja agent Staff Member

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    I haven't titled a book yet, but for my stories, I nearly always start with thesaurus.com and work through various words that have to do with the story in some way. In the course of following trails through the thesaurus, something usually pops out that makes a good punny title, or at least a witty title, or sometimes just a solid double- or triple-meaning title. That's hardly ever failed me in the short story realm, so I hope it works for my book when I need it.

    If the thesaurus fails, sometimes Google does the trick and brings up some odd connection that leads somewhere.

    Sometimes I have a title pop into my head to write the story around, but that's rare.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I tend to agree with DZ on this. Certainly, with my essays, it tends to be the content that dictates the title; ditto with fiction, though once in a while a title leaps into my mind with a story either already attached, or at least strongly indicated.

    But don't worry about titles to begin with; do the writing, and see what emerges. Chances are something will come to mind; some phrase or image suggesting a phrase which seems to you to encapsulate either the theme or the feel of the piece....
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    Gumboot

    Gumboot lorcutus.tolere

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    I tend to be the opposite; titles come to me first, and act almost like a touchstone that establishes and guides the tone of the entire story. When the title changes, it tends to be because the tone and nature of the story has changed so dramatically the old title doesn't fit any more, but I will always have a new title immediately.
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    Lilmizflashythang

    Lilmizflashythang Dogs win, every time.

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    Mine came to me in a dream. Literally.
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    springs

    springs Juggling life

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    One of my alpha readers kindly came up with mine... I really really struggle with them.
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    My first novel went through about twenty titles and was finished for six months (for the third time I keep finishing and then rewriting it) before I hit on Mayhem as the title. It was so blooming obvious and fits it perfectly. (I had lots of help from others to work it out)

    My experience is the titles usually fit when they are a simple description of the story. If you could sum it up in one word what would it be ? Is that one word or a synonym mentioned in the story ?
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    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    One problem of coming up with a great title before you've finished your first draft is that you may be tempted to slant the story to something that fits the title. Even if you resisted, you've wasted time and emotional energy.


    Having said that, I've just been looking at the Quick Fire Questions thread, where they're looking for appropriate types of ship. At the risk of being sued for copyright infringement (= theft ;)), I thought of this title for a story set at sea: Brig Over Trou....


    No, sorry. I don't want to be taken to court by either Simon or Garfunkel (or whoever owns the rights).
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    David Evil Overlord

    David Evil Overlord Censored Member

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    You really struggle with titles, or alpha readers? ;)

    I once came up with a brand new title for a 20,000 word story after it was written. But for the title to really work, I had to rewrite the entire story from third person to first. It would have been sooo much easier if I'd come up with the needs-first-person title before typing 20,000 words. :rolleyes:
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    Anne Lyle

    Anne Lyle Fantastical historian

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    My book went through half a dozen titles during the writing - and then my publisher wanted to change it from the title I submitted it under! *sigh* He wanted something that said "magical creatures in Elizabethan London" - something that would sell the book, in other words.

    I recommend brainstorming lots of words and phrases that apply to your book: names of characters, places, weather, objects, quotations, etc. Just list everything you can think of, no matter how stupid or clich├ęd. Then try combining some of the words. A & B, the A of B, A's B, and so on.

    That's how I came up with "The Alchemist of Souls" for the book and "Night's Masque" for the series :)
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    Jammill Khursheed

    Jammill Khursheed Smell your own dam finger

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    Tell me about it.

    I'm writing a whole TV series, so not only did i need to come up with a title for the series, and a title for the season (like Babylon 5 did, it had to make sense for EVERY episode), I then had to come up with a title for each one of the individual episodes.

    Some of them just jumped out at me, and some are taken from lines of prophecy that permeate the series (but i took the decision to only name 'impact' episodes from the prophecies, otherwise i would have used them as a backup plan for every episode, and the impact of using them when they are important would have been lost.)

    Some of them have just been nigh on impossible though. For example, the 12th episode currently has the title 'Eye Of The Storm', which makes sense but I'm not happy with, and has previously been called 'The Calm Before The Storm', 'Moments Of Epiphany' (that one sucked), and was still called 'Episode XII' long after the rest of the series had names.

    The best advice is just to call it something for a while as you carry on working on it, see if it sticks, and if it does you've got a new title. If it seems 'wrong' two weeks later, change it.


    Jammill
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    Tarellios

    Tarellios "The Sword of Glindar"

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    Oh, that's annoying, my prologue's title is also "The Eye of the Storm".

    As for the thread, some writers get title's straight away and build the story around them; others write and then pick a title that sums up the plot.

    I don't think it's something that can be calculated, eventually inspiration will strike and something will stand out. For me, I had the individual book titles, but these have seen multiple changes since starting out. I have also only recently come up with the series title, so don't worry about it, sometimes it's best to let the title come to you rather than actively seek it.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
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    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    I suck at titles. My short story ones are usually only one word: Sweeper, Athanasia, Fallen, Cursed, Ashes etc.

    Short and simple, like me.
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    monsterchic

    monsterchic Slowly Freaking Out

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    I haven't come up with a title for my book yet, but I've heard that surfing the Bible or books of quotes is a good way to come up with titles, and frankly, I have to agree :) good luck!!
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    Esfires

    Esfires New Member

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    I have found I tend to use very general titles, nothing too specific. I'm writing what is essentially a journey story right now and the title is simply To The East. It gives a general label to the story without delving into details, leaving me a lot of room to wiggle around within its boundaries. Plus, I've always liked more literary titles as opposed to the common semi-corny fantasy style. You'd never catch me with anything that had the word "Dragon" or "Wizard" in it, for instance.
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    reiver33

    reiver33 Only Forward

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    I tend to switch between the purely discriptive ('Cairo Station', 'Ringside') and lines of dialogue, generally from towards the end ('Whisper My Name', 'Let Every Voice Be Still'). LEVBS is supposedly a line from a poem, so I wrote the poem to provide provenance.

    With the short challenge pieces the title comes at the end. With longer stories its generally title (as concept) first.
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