1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    How do you pick a title for your story - any tips?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Sep 1, 2012.

    I don't usually sweat titles - sometimes they come real easy, sometimes I have to wait and a line appears
    and then I can use a snippet of it. But I'm working on a story and I'm unsure of using the title
    mainly because I think it could be misleading.

    What's your story title picking process? Maybe I can get some fresh ideas.
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I had a title picked out for my first novel right off the bat. The sequel just has a working title. Most of the time I use working titles and think of one when I'm done. If you get published, I think the publisher sometimes, maybe more I don't know, will create a title.
     
  3. Kaylin
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    Kaylin Member

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    I try to consider if a title has a ring to it, is in many ways relevant to the story, if it would spark readers' interest, tie in symbolically, lends itself to cover art, and how it compares to other notable titles in its genre. Since you wouldn't know everything the whole story until after it's finished, I use a working title until then.
    To generate random titles just for the fun of it, you could write down all the words or phrases of abstract, symbolic components in your story and pick two or three with your eyes closed. Then put them together for a title!
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Usually, I don't have a title right away, and I wait until I finish a story to come up with a good title. Until then, I just use a generic working title ("Story 1" or something similar).
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Usually I have a good notion of the title from the outset. Nevertheless, I remain open to changing it until the final revision is complete. By the time you finish, you know the story like never before, and as no one else does. By then, you are better than ever equipped to give it the final title.

    And then you send it off to a publisher. They may decide to relabel it for marketing purposes anyway. So don't obsess over the title. Just give it your best.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't have any process for titles... they simply come to me unbidden, at some point... most of the time, at the same time i get the idea for the story...

    ...if you can't decide, just wait till you finish the story... you don't have to have a title to write something... by the time you're done, one should make itself known...
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I can't write without having a working title for the story. Just naming it "Story 1" doesn't work for me.

    Some title will invariably occur to me at a very early stage, just when the original story idea starts forming in my mind. That'll be good enough to get me working. The final title comes along as I'm writing the first draft, usually.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd try to think of something that encompasses the book lol. For myself, I just named my MS file by my MC's name until I can be bothered to think of a proper title. After ditching 2-3 drafts and a total of over 80,000 words, and then about midway through writing my current first draft, it finally occurred to me that the whole thing is about the Shadow War.

    So right now, my file is called Shadow War. That's the working title, but it could also be my final title - I don't really know yet. My problem with it is that it sounds very generic heh :eek:

    So I guess think of what your novel is essentially about, and then think of a phrase or a few words that would sum it up. Think of the atmosphere or pictures you want your readers to have in their heads when they see your book - what would best conjure that? Or did you want irony and it's something they won't know til they've read the book?
     
  9. HongKong
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    HongKong New Member

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    Sounds like one of those things where you climb a mountain and after you chatted to the wise man on top you get an answer which was there all the time,LOL.
     
  10. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    When it comes to titles I would strongly suggest looking at your story and really seeing what kind of 'sums it up' if you will. Like almost the star attraction or the thing that's gonna make people pick it up off the shelf. I would avoid using a name for the main title, since names aren't really gonna interest people unless they know who it is. If the setting is very important you might want to choose that. If there is some kind of moral lesson or important story told, you might want to choose something that sums it up. If it's about growing up in a small town don't just call it 'Changes' or something. Call it something imaginative, something that creates a picture that is vital to your story. However if it was a sentimental ghost story or something calling it 'The time we have left' or something is quite personal and would hit the emotions more than 'The chill of memories' which sounds boring.

    At the same time do not choose something that there's any possibility has been used anywhere else. It has to be completely unique to you. May I ask, what your story is about?
     
  11. brokenblade
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    brokenblade New Member

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    Sometimes I don't have a title for my story right away. One of my first stories took a long time before I came up with a final title. There was another title that I was going to use as a final title. Then another title popped in my mind that sounded much better than the title I was using. So I used it.

    I think the best way to come up with a title for your story is to look at your story. The title has to be relevant to your story. It also has to be really catchy.
     

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