Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Elgaisma, Nov 30, 2010.
It is something that I suck at - how do you go about it? I need inspiration desperatly lol
Titles for books, titles of nobility, titles of organizations...something to call your publisher when he's not within earshot?
oh books and stories - i now have four novels in various stages not one has a title I am completely sold on. I suck at doing titles lol
For me, they usually just come to me. Either with the initial idea, or the finished product. I quite like taking a random-ish phrase from the story itself as the title.
Oh, well then, I tend to favor the flamboyant taste in titles and sometimes the neo-classical style. By this, I mean that if I wrote an autobiography, I'd name it something like "SHAMELESS: The true story of swashbuckling gigolo", "Naked, came I", "Anachronism: Confessions of a Dark Ages Warrior in the 21st Century" or perhaps "Sex, Blood and Gold: The Life Story of Lothgar".
You know, something to catch the buyer's eye and temp them to purchase it with shameless hints of violence and sex.
Titles for some of my fantasy works in the past have been things like "Apex Draconae" (A tale of a long dormant dragon awakening from an ancient sleep of eons to reforge the world to his own whim), "Nosferatum Ascendant" (Story about a cult of Vampires), "Shadow of the Renaissance" (A horror story about alchemy and witchcraft behind the scenes in the age of enlightenment), etc.
I have a tendency to be a bit of a ham and when you combine that with an appreciation of the classical, you end up with weird stuff like that.
My science fiction story about a rogue AI that tried to subtly take control of the world through the internet was entitled "Techno-Esoterica" and one of my deep space adventures was called "Dark Terminus" (The story of a black hole at the heart of a galaxy that not only turned out to be alive and sentient, but malevolent as well).
The age-old advice to wait until the end, and then go back and read through it and some phrase will inevitably pop up, just doesn't seem to work for me. I then find myself straining while I'm writing to come up with something that will make a great title, and whatever I come up with always seems forced. So, I try to think about titles as I'm writing, and I focus on concepts that could make a good title rather than specific phrases.
Crime writer Shelia Quigley gets her titles from songs; Run for Home, Bad Moon Rising, Living on a Prayer, and Every Breath You Take. are some of her titles.
I change my mind on the title a number of times when I am writing. Near the end of my writing something usually appears from the ms.
I was using song titles - had Someone Else's Life, What About Me and Bad Romance. Not struck on them.
Volume number four think will be Socrates Children. But the rest remain pretty untitled despite one being complete and another having a completed first draft.
each piece of my work comes up with its own title somehow... and i'll often have a title in mind before i even start writing...
I tend to work a lot on themes, because I tend to write series. It's good, though, not to have a theme that starts straining itself. My "student food" series - romances set at university - title themselves well. The first was Supernoodles and Beer (later Instant Noodles and Beer when I worried about copyright), the second is Fries and a Milkshake, and the third will be Stirfry and Toast. Nice simple pattern, really, and the foods appear in the first scenes of each story, and metaphorically relate to the characters. I could probably keep writing them indefinitely, as long as there was always some form of cheap food to fall back on.
On the other hand, my teen fantasy series started on a cool note and got worse as it went - messed around with a lot of titles and in the end I only have 2 I like (Concrete Faery and Clockwork Dragon) both of which people are themes that crop up in other stories or even there are stories with worryingly close titles. The dozens of reject [something man-made][mythological creature] combinations I came up with are all lousy, which is probably why I haven't heard anything close to them in other works. The 2nd novel at the moment is "Purple Pixie" (or possibly an electric one) and it makes my brain hurt but that's all I can think of and it needs a working title at the very least.
For a lot of other things I run on really really awful long-winded working titles and just hope something later will help. "The Ridiculously Complicated Quest Of..." "The Story About..." and so on.
On the other hand, I've written about 10 drafts of the novel I'm still calling "Cloud Peeps" and nothing's jumped out and made me want to change the title. :/
I have a list of titles that I want to use, just because I like them really, but have yet to write a story using them.
I'm actually quite bad at coming up with titles for my pieces. Most of them don't have titles, or if they do it's a really obvious title (like I called a piece about a boy climbing a mountain 'Mountain Climbing' - original eh?).
I think if you go through your story, like really closely, then a phrase might jump out to you, or if you think about what it's about and the themes then you can derive a title from that. I really don't have much else to offer.. maybe the right title will just come to you at some point.
For titles, I often take a common phrase or saying and alter it slightly.
"So far, so good" -> "So close, so good"
"For the man who has everything" -> "For the man who has nothing" or "For the man who has had everyone"
"In the nick of time" -> "In the ridge of time"
Some brainstorming ideas for your works:
"Heavenly Organs" - this is a play on "Heavenly bodies", and at the same time ambigious (it could refer to the musical instruments) and slightly lewd
"The Socratic Method"
"Time flies like a bird"
"The Covesea Wars"
"The Island of Time"
"Of Birds and Men"
"Heirs of All"
ooh I am loving Birds and Men for my first one - hmmm and Socratic something for my second one. Socrates' Children is staying for my current one.
Actually Heir to All and Heir to Nothing would work for my pair of books (I have written the one when Angus becomes King from the point of view of Socrates abdicating - also a slight play as Angus has long hair and Socrates shaves his head)...
Heavenly Organs is completely different version my best friend wants me to write lol My gay readers would like to see a more grown up version apparently they kinda like my characters.
How about this one from an old Tom Waits song: "Nighthawks at the Diner".
Aside from Socrates' Children, I'm not sure how lighthearted or dark each one is overall. That, of course, will affect your title.
For a lighthearted book:
The Covesea Oaf
Confessions of a Royal Bird Brain
Angus at Large (this is kind of like Garfield at Large, and Angus is super tall right?)
For a more serious themed book:
In Flight (can have double-meaning for both danger and the bird stuff)
The Covesea Peril
something involving hemlock maybe, as that's what killed the Socrates of ancient Greece, so you could use it to imply danger to your own Soc?
Hope I helped!
each one is both lighthearted and dark - my first leans more to lighthearted, second one to dark - this one not sure lol
Mallory - you are determined lol Maybe I should just call it Oaf and be done with it. Angus is huge maybe Great Big Oaf.
Separate names with a comma.