1. Forceflow
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    Forceflow Member

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    How do you decide a title?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Forceflow, Aug 28, 2011.

    Im currently wondering how to go about picking a title for my book, does anyone have any tips to a good title? :rolleyes:
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    - Make it relate to what the stories about to give the reader a clue what it might be about.
    - I try make sure it's catchy or memorable.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Is the book done?

    I usually come up with a title after the work is done. By that time something suggests itself to me. I have a hard time coming up with a decent title at the outset.
     
  4. Forceflow
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    Forceflow Member

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    no, i'd like to get a title ready though, or i'll fret about it till its done lol.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I name most of my titles base off ethier the fictional world's name or the main characters power or a magical object.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Heh.

    Yeah, I do that too, but it is usually just a place-holder title. Whatever comes to mind first. Then when it is done I end up changing it :)
     
  7. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Steal a working title from They Might Be Giants and then when everyone loves it, keep it and hope some day TMBG become as big a fan of yours as you are of them and don't mind you stealing their titles!
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Saw those guys play in something like 1990 or 1991....
     
  9. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    They played the theme song for Malcom in The Middle... a 90's show.
     
  10. Forceflow
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    Forceflow Member

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    How does this sound, took the idea of using the magical power for it.
    Pengkarma: The Martian Assault
     
  11. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    First thing I would ask myself, what's a pengkarma?
     
  12. Forceflow
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    Forceflow Member

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    heh heh, you'll have to wait till its finished. although that kind of proves that it works, it made you curious, thats good unless your a cat. then thats so very, very bad.
     
  13. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^^

    Not necessarily. A good title creates an instant image and entices you to learn more about that image. Pengkarma creates no image, just a black space. Leaving it as The Martian Assault would work much better.

    And yes there really is no point worrying about it now. When you've completed your novel, you can think of a title that serves the book. Use it as a device to convey some aspect of the plot. It all helps when you're trying to lure people into reading it.
     
  14. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    Titles usually come to me and they stay the title even when the project is finished. Usually it's a phrase in my head that sparks up a million ideas, and this phrase tends to be a name or a short theme. And that phrase becomes the heartbeat of the whole entire novel.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know where I get my titles from. Sometimes it's just a phrase that seem to suit, other times it's a phrase in the actual novel that sounds interesting enough to work as the title. Other times I can't really come up with a title at all, because either the ideas I get has already been used or they sound silly, lol. Once the title came to me together with the story, I didn't even have to think about it, it was just there. I like coming up with possible titles, though. The ones that gives the right impression of the novel.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I enjoy the process of coming up with titles. There are so many ways to do it. Go through your novel and see if there's a phrase that jumps out at you. Or do what Hemingway did - go to a book of quotations and take something from there. Or use an image that you were thinking of when you wrote the book, something powerful. A wand, a bridge, a lighthouse, or something. Something evocative.

    One word of caution: Please don't pick a title that's hard to pronounce. Don't title your novel something like The Xy'qlers of Wihtrfnyr. Nobody will be able to talk about it or Google it or anything. Stick to straight English.
     
  17. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Pengkarma" puts me right off - I don't know what it means so it doesn't entice me. Plus, I get the impression you're writing fantasy or sci-fi from it and these are genres I tend to steer clear of.


    I think finding a title is something everyone does differently. I can't give you tips on choosing a "good title" but I can tell you how I named my WIP, Vermilion Dhole, and it's prequel, Black Lamb. I will do so, simply because I have the information saved in a document from when I explained it to potential readers a month ago, but you may not find anything of value in it as it's specific to my novels:


    Black Lamb:

    • Lamb's is a brand of rum which the love interest, Lu, gets drunk on prior to opening up to the MC. Dark/Black rum is one of the many types of rum they offer.
    • Lambs symbolise innocence; Lu is asexual -- I write romance/erotica -- and has a childlike personality.
    • Black symbolises uncertainty and mystery in western culture and indicates that a person is interested in S&M in the GLBTQ handkerchief code.
    • Both the MC and Lu are considered the black sheep of the family: they failed to comply with their parents' ideals and ran away.
    • In one of the late chapters of the novel Lu argues that he's not a "wether": this is the term for a castrated ram.


    Vermilion Dhole:

    • Vermilion is a symbol of the Virgin Mary, which is taking the place of the "lamb" in the previous title.
    • Orange on it's own is symbolic of endurance while red-orange (so, vermilion) symbolises sexual desire and aggression. The MC and Lu's relationship was founded on lust and struggles with the restrictions they face when they take three minors into their one-bedroom home.
    • In India, as part of Hindu culture, vermilion (or sindoor) is used as a sign of marriage: it's when a woman places kumkum powder in a dot between the brows. The MC and Lu have a much more committed relationship in this novel, their home now operating more like a family. There is also discussion of a civil partnership.
    • Dholes have reddish-brown/copper fur: which is partially why I chose to link this to "vermilion".
    • Dholes originate from south-east Asia but used to run wild in many parts of Eurasia at one point: Lu's half-Filipino, but has European blood too (English and Italian) and has grown up in the United Kingdom.
    • Dholes are endangered; Lu and the MC's relationship is on the rocks. I deliberately wanted an endangered animal to replace the idea of fertility associated with lambs/sheep.
    • The dhole mating season is from October to January: these were the months the MC and Lu lived together before becoming a couple - where their relationship was based on lust. Plus, it was the only time they had the one-bedroom flat all to themselves.
    • Dholes kill their enemies by disembowelling them after a long chase. The MC is suspicious that Lu's leading him on just to kick once he's down.
    • Plus, I think they're cute-looking, so it creates that "sweet but deadly" feeling.
    • Dholes are social but live in small clans: this represents Lu's expanding social life and his new situation at home with the MC.
    • When "dhole" is pronounced by English-speakers it sounds the same as the word "doll": Lu's dream was to be a photographer before he became a car mechanic. In this novel he takes up work as a model for an art student at the MC's brother's college. Add to this that vermilion is often used in cosmetics.


    As I said, this probably isn't useful, but I'm sure by showing you how my titles were chosen that you've worked out how I do it, right? If it isn't clear: I want my titles to have a link to the story rather than labelling what it's going to be about - I don't want to give it a cliché title that instantly tells someone, "I'm writing X" because genre can put people off (like the use of the word "pengkarma" has done for me). None of this is explained in the story, of course, so I doubt anyone would piece together everything on their own - these are the facts, not how the titles will be perceived. I don't know what people think when they see my titles but I have fun with them and people tell me they like them so I don't see a problem.
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Simple and understated often works best, imo.

    Titles usually come to me as I work on something.
     
  19. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I agree with Steerpike, don't worry about it until the books done. But that didn't stop me from trying to title my book while writing it. I titled my book just as I started writing it and the title changed 3 or 4 times over the course of writing the book. :)
     
  20. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    A title should be a few words that aptly captures the essence of the story.
     

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