Friday, April 22, 2011

T is for Titles

What is it about titles? I honestly don't know. What I do know is the idea of titles torment me. I can't sit down, look at my writing and come up with a list of titles. I can't even come up with bad titles. Any titles I have were pure inspiration.

Being Human.
Leaves of Fall.
Forever Ebony.

All stumbled upon by luck. I was writing, saw a word and realized it'd fit the story. I think those are the lucky stories. I'm still waiting for the right word to pop out for JJ's story. Or Zack's. Or Caleb's. Or Alex's. Their stories are all sitting with no titles. Their names are the titles right now or a feature of the story. I'm especially interested in naming JJ's story. His is a story I want to pursue more. I want it told. Everyone else, they have to cross their fingers and then they will need some major rewrites, editing and beta reads.

Titles are one of the first things a reader sees when they look at a book. It's how the reader tells a friend about a story. "I read this book called Twilight and it was amazing!" (Twilight haters, shush. I wanted a title everyone knows and you can't deny that the majority of people know of the Twilight series.) If the title interests the friend, he or she asks more, puts the title away in their mind for pursuing later. A title means everything to a story, the gateway into a new world.

Hm, I feel like this post should have more... Maybe some questions. I know! (I'll bold it to ensure you read this part. It's in bold that must mean it's important... Sorry, I'm getting tired and that makes me a little loopy.) 

How do you think up titles? What titles click with you? Made you want to pick up the book and read? What's the craziest title you've seen? Don't be shy, I want to know.


  1. I feel the same way about titles. I agonize over them. I also name current projects after the male character. Interesting. Maybe you should have a contest!

  2. I hear ya, Patricia! I'm so bad at titling things. I think it stresses me out because I LOVE compelling titles. That's what I look at first when I'm browsing in the bookstore. It's an interesting title that catches my eye first; I don't even admire the cover until after I've read the title and the back cover summary. So I always want my stories to have terrific titles but it's so hard!

    I make lists of possible titles. Then I set it aside for a few days and come back to it later with a fresh mind and eyes. I start eliminating titles until I come to the one that made all the cuts. I don't know if that's a good process, but it's the only one I have!

    I'm glad I came across your blog post from the A to Z Challenge! Have a great weekend. :)

  3. Titles are tricky. Sometimes they come easy. Sometimes you can't settle on one for the life of you.

  4. what is JJ's story about? "GIVE ME A CUE" how about that? gb

  5. Yes, titles are often the trickiest part of writing. It's a good idea to use a phrase from the manuscript, something that will describe the story. I had the title to one of my books before I knew I was going to write one! It inspired me to write it. That was an unusual case. My novel had a couple of titles before I decided on what I wanted, and that was after I changed the story drastically. There was a theme I came back to every so often in the story and it made a good title.

  6. My last novel had three different titles before I settled on one. Usually I tend to come up with titles others have used already.

  7. @Bob, yeah I've have that problem w/ Being Human. It's a TV show and the title of one of my stories and I'm really hoping the different medias mean I can get away with it.

  8. My problem is similar. When I think up a good title it's already taken. Titles are tough!

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

  9. I've been working on a title lately for my WIP, but while working on it, it had a working title of the setting, Lonely Hollow. That's not going to be the title of the novel, but it was easy for me to use to refer to it.

    I can't think of a crazy title. A long title that sounded good, yet I've never yet read the novel (some day) is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It says a lot, doesn't it?

  10. I had my book title very early on, and thought it was just the right fit.

    I've been titling my chapters too, and some of them are religiously inspired (given that the book's set in Israel, it fits)... I haven't had a problem with the chapters, with the exception of a chapter yet to come which I'd thought of calling The Twilight War, but given my loathing of Twilight... uh uh...