1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    does a book or a story need a title?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Nov 22, 2011.

    this is in reply to:
    the first thing you notice about a book?

    so I was thinking do we really need a title to a story?
    sometimes I pick up a book look at the title read it then I realise the title has done nothing to add to the book.
    or accroding to lots or reply inthe other thread, the cover of the book is what first catches the attention.
    for example

    Jane Eyre the novella/novel.
    after reading the book alll this title has done is giving me the name of the character.
    it has not quite lived up to the story because the book was not about the name per say, but about a love story.
    one could assume by a title like that one is looking to find the origin of this name , which makes me think of the programme:
    'who do you think you are'?
    which is about ancestry and therefore solely rely on names.

    my other question is this:

    a title of a book can make the original author vulnerable in the sense that someone else's can come around sees the title then take it and write another Jayne Eyre and claim this his story is the one's and not Brontee's??
     
  2. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    Is Jane Eyre the/one of the main character(s)? If so, then I think it's a relevant title. I don't read romance novels so I don't know how they're usually titled, but if Jane is one of the two characters, then I would think it's as good a title as any for a romance novel about a love story.

    As for having a title: it would be kind of hard looking for a book in a bookstore that doesn't have a title. The title helps you identify the book instead of saying, "That one book where they went to the one place and did that one thing. Y'know?" The first thing the other person would ask you is what the title is.

    And I'm sorry, I don't know what the other question is asking. I got confused.

    On the subject of titles, I will add this: it's sometimes hard coming up with a title!
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK, let's imagine:

    "You've just _got_ to read ISBN 978-0-446-55502-9! It's fabulous!"

    Yeah, I think we need titles.

    As for your other question, there are also authors and copyright dates. I really don't think that anyone's likely to fool a literature class into buying Jane Eyre by John Smith. In the unlikely event that purchasing does make that mistake, I suspect that the professor is going to notice.

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    about Jayne Eyre is a name for a book which appears not to be a good title for the reasons that others thousands of Jayne Eyre in the world would have the same name.
    think Smiths and Taylors they are thousands of people called with this name.
    what I am proposing is that if I called a book The Smiths's Theory imagine everyone called Smiths are going to feel.
    if you want to delve deeper into the name and call a book John Smith like Jayne Eyre imagine all the J Smith thinking their name is a title of a book. I personally would not want that to happen to me or my generation. Just a thought there.
    a bit like Fred's Blogg. I can only feel for all the Freds in the world.

    I agree because whilst you engage in a 5thousands work story then to have to boil it down to a three word title sounds like an impossible task and is it fair on the writer ?

    sorry it is me.
    I meant a title of a book can give someone else the idea to write another book under the same title as yours say and then claim his book is the original stroy and not yours.
    People are famous for copyworks and faking it. like paintings.
    theywill have you believe it is the original . it is easily done.
    so a title is just another way of giving other people to write another book usig the same title.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Yes, I think a book does need a title, but the title does several things.

    Principally, it's to give a flavour of the story to come. With the example you gave Jane Eyre, we know that the story is about a person called Jane Eyre. Similarly, with F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we not only know that the novel is about someone called Benjamin Button, but that there is something curious about him.

    Secondly, it is a marketing tool. This sort of includes the above function, but also take things such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Here the title is a strange fragment of the narration from towards the end (if memory serves), but to the reader seeing that on the bookshelf it's alluring, intriguing. What an odd question. Do androids dream of electric sheep? Is it important? Why is it important?

    Thirdly, it gives the book a banner, of sorts, to stand behind and to be discussed as. Just think, without titles, you'd be forever talking about "the one about....", and indeed concise titles would probably be assigned by the readers for efficiency's sake. It makes life easier, in short.

    But a book with the same title is not the same book.

    These days, copyright is (I think) even easier to prove, as most people write with word processors. So, if they keep previous drafts, they can demonstrate the course of progress through the writing.

    But in the circumstances you outlined, I don't think it is a copyright issue. You can't copyright a name, so of course anyone else is free to title a book Jane Eyre (though, actually, I don't think they would, especially with that example, because it's such a famous book), but copyright will only come in with the book itself. Only if parts of your writing are lifted directly (note: not even plot ideas, because ideas can't be copyrighted) would there be a violation.

    But, even if someone writes a story with the same title as you (and here I struggle, because the title is the last thing I come up with, and I choose it to fit my story, so on that basis you'd have a huge headstart on any would-be poacher) then it would be their story, completely different to your own.
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    thank you for your post Banzai,

    about the book
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
    did you read it and did it actually have the answer in the story?

    about ,The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    I agree that the reader is given the idea but isn't that down to the reader to make their own minds up wether it is curious or not?
    because by saying it is curious then the writer has in fact formed a judgement and has passed it on to the reader.
    to read with assumptions in mind might be a spoiler for some readers.
    not all readers are the same.
    I did read it and did conclude that the case of Benjamin Button was not curious as such, but more bizzare.
    the word curious means something totally different.
    presuming that all readers will share the meaning of word is perhaps putting the reader down a fraction.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The writer is the one telling the story. The writer is the one who decides how things are. The writer decides who dies, who falls in love, and what is curious. That's not prejudicial or biased; it's just purely objective fact. The reader's interpretation is subjective, yes, but the writer has to decide what will be left open for interpretation and not.

    On the note of Jane Eyre, the title tells us that it's about a character named Jane Eyre. She's the centre of the story, but it doesn't tell us anything else which means we're free from spoilers or false predictions.
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells us, to repeat Banzai, that there's something curious about Benjamin Button. Readers are affected by the emotions and thoughts of characters. While something may not be particularly curious to a reader, if it's portrayed as curious to a character, the reader will feel that and be pulled in.

    Writers decide the story, and the privilege of titling our work is something that has been ours for hundreds of years. To remove that privilege for the sake of whether it's necessary or not would be insulting.
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It's not that sort of a question; it's more rhetorical. You need to read the story to understand it (which I heartily suggest you do, it's a very good book).

    "Curious" in this case means odd, rather than necessarily interesting. In the novel, the main character ages backwards, which I feel would be odd to most people. But in any case, it doesn't have to be objective. As cruciFICTION said, it is up to the writer to name it, so the writer is naming it as he or she sees appropriate.
     
  9. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    yes it is the writer's decisions on what happens in the story from beginning till the end but it is not the writer's final word on what the meaning of 'curious' might entail to various readers.
    it is one thing to tell the reader that the character is alive or dead but it is another to try an define the meaning of word through one story.
    I am sure you would agree that people understand words and meanings of a language with various hints and subtelties.
    please understand that no one is debating what a writer should and should not do.
    I am trying to highlight something that is personal to my point of view regarding titles in books.
    It is something I am interested in and wishes to discuss with writers in this forum.
    In my opinion there is no a right or wrong about anything, but what there is the ability to stop, think and reflect for one'self and with others on things that we are given to see read or write for that matter.
    the point of this thread is to discuss views and ideas and share them with others in a civilised and mature way.
    I don't have or need to agree with you or you with me but I would hope to get a decent conversation out of it.
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're correct; people do understand things differently. But first and foremost, it's up to the writer to convey the meaning they wish to convey. That's the very basis of language; that you have a point, and you put this point forward. The writer is defining "curious" with their title and with their story. They're defining it to the reader. Writing would be convoluted if everything was left to the reader. That's why very little is left to the reader.

    You imply that what I am providing is not decent conversation and that I am not discussing views and ideas in a civilised and mature way, but I'll refrain from feeling insulted by the implications that you may or may not have consciously added.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, books and stories do need titles!

    for all of the reasons given above, which should be obvious to anyone...

    you might just as well ask if people and places need names, or years need numbers... i don't see how a discussion of these givens can possibly help anything or anyone... what am i missing?
     
  12. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    It would be the same if movies, streets, TV shows, CDs, had no title. I know there are some instances of albums (and, who knows, maybe a book) that are called Untitled, but it would be downright chaotic if everything was untitled. Besides, part of the fun is coming up with a title.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    hahaha, OMG, Lol...
     

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