1. Birdie
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    Birdie New Member

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    Finding A Title

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Birdie, Aug 25, 2009.

    I'm polishing up the finished draft of a short story I've written, and I keep getting stuck on one thing: the title. The story is about two young people in an abusive relationship and how it moves in a circular motion (getting together, being happy, fighting, leaving, etc.) The name I have for it right now is "Curs In The Weeds." Though I sorta like this title, it's borrowed from a song I like, and I don't want to plagiarize. I also want to find something that fits a little better and is more original.

    How do y'all find your titles? Any suggestions are very, very welcome.
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Honestly I have stopped stressing the title of a piece as only onetitle I have ever suggested was kept when the piece was published.
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I usually title my writing pieces with the same letters or sounds at the beginning of each word in the title.
    "The Fat Flower."
    "The Skinny Skier."
    Yeah, very original, I know :p
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I will say that you have made the right choice in not worrying too much about the title before the writing is essentially finished.

    Titles usually come to me pretty early in the writing process, but I still keep an open mind to a possibly better title. Often a title will come from a scene within the story, like The Killing Jar. Other times it is simply obvious from a recurring symbol or theme in te story, such as Blue.
     
  5. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I try and title my stories based on some important detail about the story. whether it states the reason behind the characters actions, some goal, or some symbol. Sometimes its not as obvious.

    I once titled a short story 'Because I love You' which was about a young mother who resorts to prostitution to help support her son.

    So I suggest you look over your story and find some important symbol or detail about the story.
     
  6. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I agree sometimes the title flows from the writing itself, other times the title jst comes to you with the original idea, but this may change as you write, in fact the whole thing could change as you write it, remember the original title for a certain movie was the adventures of luke before the mc was changed form starkiller to skywalker and the name considerably shortened
     
  7. Daladamn
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    Daladamn Member

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    Well I could go into a speech about thinkin of titles but seems already covered, so heres a few throw-aways that might help you with your dilemma, or at least help you come up with an idea.

    "Retracing Steps" , "Love and Violence" , "My Violent Consort" , and "The Wife Beater and Me"
     
  8. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Don't forget that what you come up with has to sound appealing to the publishers (assuming you want it to be printed)

    Hell, you could even submit different titles to different publishers for the same book - research which publishers have released which titles and try to get under their skin a bit =)
     
  9. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about something ironic & cynical: "The Darkest Spring: A Love Story"

    It's got a line from that Curs song you like.
     
  10. puddincup
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    puddincup New Member

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    In my mind try to make it unique and eye catching. Most people, like me, if the title of the book sound overplayed and uninteresting I wont touch it. I know that it is wrong, you cant judge a book just by its title. But if it is eye catching those percentage of people who base there beliefs in picking a book or story by those rules, could help with distributing your work.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure how much a publisher will be influenced by a good or weak title. They are human too, so a title with snap may start them with a more positive first impression, but their primary focus will be the writing.

    If the publisher likes the writing, but the title is weak, he or she will suggest title changes. The title is largely a marketing decision, as is the cover art, and publishers will realize that someone may be a fine writer and yet not have a flair for marketing.
     
  12. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Does one of the two characters have a particularily snappy line that you could use as a title? For character-based pieces, I've found I tend to use dialogue bits as titles (I've also heard Ayn Rand titled Atlas Shrugged after a line of dialogue that really popped out at her on rereading).

    Otherwise, I write fantasy--I use nouns as titles, because they're generally unusual. A list of works in progress or recently compleated reads:
    *Drown or Die (character-driven piece, dialogue title)
    *John Kosichev (character's name)
    *The Beacon and the Keeper (plot-driven, about a thing called Beacon and a person called a Keeper, though this isn't an outstanding title)
    *A Demon of Healing (plot-driven, about a demon that can heal people)
    *The Last of the Lesser Kings (plot/idea driven)
    *A Matter for Wizards (character-driven, dialogue-titled)
    *A Marriage Pure and Good (character-driven, dialogue titled)
    *Aqua Vitae (character driven, the narrator keeps calling various beverages "A real aqua vitae". Also a pun, as she over the curse of the story she discovers the elixer of life.)
     
  13. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like short titles that sound good phonetically when spoken out loud. They're catchy like pop songs and will affect how much attention your story gets. The title should trigger something in the subconscious that matches up with the theme or feel of the story.

    Movie studios seem especially good at this. Perhaps browsing around IMDB will give you some ideas.
     
  14. Folken24
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    Folken24 Member

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    When I first start working on a story I usually give it a one to three word title solely so that I have a name to use when thinking about it. Often they're very mundane names like "Shallow Puddle" or "Tucker's Story".

    Then, if I think of a better title, I use it, but if not, I don't worry.

    It may sound weird, but when a story doesn't have any title, I almost feel pressured to give it a name, any name. So I just get it over with, and later, when the story is finished, I can just sit back and let my mind wander and mull on the story, and see what comes to me.
     
  15. Birdie
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    Birdie New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas! I'll go look it over and see if anything pops out. The story is a contest entry, so having a snappy title might be useful to catch attention.

    The reason I gave it the name Curs In The Weeds is because the song makes me think of the characters with tone and lyrics.
     

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