1. Capt.Ahab
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    Capt.Ahab Member

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    Title and Naming Chapters?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Capt.Ahab, Feb 9, 2009.

    I know many authors have their different styles and preferences of what they should title their book and chapters. Some don't even give chapters names other than 1,2, and3. Others have really cool sounding titles and chapters. I couldn't really find a definite place for this to go, so I just put it under 'General'. My question is:

    What is in naming a title or chapter?
    Do you just formulate cool fancy words that have some tie to the plot of the book or chapter?
    Is it better to just keep chapters as "1,2,3" rather than calling it "The beginning, A faint Light, or Dragon's Maw."
    Its just a thought for me to consider as I write a titleless novel with nameless chapters. Also feel free to share some of your own title and chapter names.
     
  2. kyle777
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    kyle777 Member

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    Titles and chapters breathe life into books. What's the first thing you see on a novel? The title. And chapters are a fun way of foreshadowing later events too. Personally, I love naming chapters. Although, if you have around fifty chapters, naming could become rather daunting. I've seen books that simply have too many chapters to name them.

    Here's a few examples of chapter titles I've created:
    Chapter 8: Evil Incarnate
    Chapter 9: Safe Haven
    Chapter 17: Battle of Shadow and Sand
    Chapter 18: Sacrifice
    Chapter 23: Eternal and Forever

    So just a few examples. And each name represents something that occurred within that chapter. You can also mislead readers by naming chapters. My chapter 'Sacrifice' has a sacrifice, but no one actually dies.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't make any sense of that question's wording, so i'll just give you a generic answer:

    titling chapters is ok in children's and YA books, but isn't much done for the adult market... so, unless you're writing the former, i'd strongly suggest you not bother and simply number your chapters...

    if it's for a kids'/YA book, simply take some relevant phrase from the chapter, or sum up its content in a catchy title...
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    By title, you mean the name of the book, right? For example Stephen King's Pet Cemetery?

    If so then usually the marketing guru's give the title of an adult novel careful consideration. It is one of things that catches your eye. The design of the cover is another.

    Imagine if Pet Cemetery had been named, My Zombie Kid, or My Son Returns. Also, adult books, YA books, and I think all books sometimes have different titles for different markets. A novel might have a different title in the UK than in the US.
     
  5. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    I like to foreshadow things and reference relevant songs or lyrics in my chapter titles. Not much else though.
     
  6. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    A lot of people use a title to reflect the content in the story.
    I like to confuse people.
    Several of my stories are named something that they aren't about.
    Like I have a story called Weatherful Lanes and it's about arson.
    Then one called Stories you only Tell Your Mother and it's about abuse.
    I like doing it that way.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, arch, this is only about chapter titles, not book titles...
     
  8. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Never really thought about this before. Thinking what i've read it's true.

    Im shocked (cause i've been naming my chapters) etc,
     
  9. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Oh, if this is about book titles I don't ever title mine.
    I use to, but just got tired of it.
    I usually do:

    Chpt 1
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Oh, based on things he said, like - Its just a thought for me to consider as I write a titleless novel with nameless chapters. I thought by titleless novel he refered to the books name, and nameless chapters refered to the chapter titles.

    There is no need to name chapters, but some adult novels do.
     
  11. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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    Chapters: Basically, I'd just summarize the whole chapter and come up with a word or two that represents the chapter (If it’s mainly about death, then I'd put "The Hundrai's Death).
    Novel: You'd have to identify the theme of your novel and somehow combine interesting words to form an attractive title.

    You can if you want...

    It’s entirely up to you. Personally, I’d use numbers because I find it difficult to name chapters.

    Title Names:

    - The Aslacks
    - Life As a SuperHero
    - The Unforgotten
    - The Witches Broom
    - Two to Three Seconds

    Chapter Names:

    - Don't Leave
    - The Spirits
    - Unbreakable Love
    - The Storm
    - Interview with the Police
     
  12. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    My opinion on the whole title names only for YA/childrens is that you can title chaptors various ways to create the desired effect.

    I think there is a trend in the YA/childrens to name chapters a bit wordy and colourful.

    eg.

    The chickens attack,

    Riding a heatwave,

    or Back at the farm

    In adult fiction, while the preffered method is numbers, i've found (by reading orson scott card in particular) that to create a more 'adult' feel one makes the chapter names a little more broad but to the point.

    eg.

    Attack,

    Heatwave,

    Return, or Farm

    Dounno if you get my point but yeah...
     
  13. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It's different for everybody. With chapter titles, I usually wait until the chapter is written, then look back over it and try to find a title that helps hint at the plot of that chapter. Sometimes it's dramatic, sometimes it's a pun or is comedic. I don't know until I title it.

    With stories themselves, I'm a bit less creative, but the process is much the same. With longer stories that I've had in my head for ages, and/or which are part of a series, I usually have the title in mind before writing the story, but with short stories and novellas, I'll usually come up with it afterwards.

    Some people prefer numbers; I prefer titles. I consider them just as much a part of the creative process as the writing itself. I don't consider it a "children's/YA vs. adult writing" issue since I've seen both types of chapters in both types of writing. I title the chapters of my adult erotica serial just as much as those of my PG-13 fantasy serial. *shrug* I wouldn't discourage someone from using titles in their WIP because as with anything in the publication process, they might be dropped, but they might be kept.
     
  14. Prodigy
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    I always title my writings by using a name that is relevant to main theme. Then inject it with some awesome metaphors and similies.
     
  15. fantasywriter
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    fantasywriter Contributing Member

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    Actually, I've seen plenty of adult books that name the chapters, so this statement is not necessarily true. I've seen just as many adult books name their chapters than I have children's books. It's all a matter of preference. Do you want to name your chapters? Do you think it will add to your story? If not, don't name them. It's as simple as that.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You may want to check a variety of current novels in your genre first. Among the books I tend to read, named chapters are pretty much passé. So I'm inclined to agree with Maia. However, I'll concede that some genres or niches may not treat named chapters as juvenile.
     
  17. fantasywriter
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    fantasywriter Contributing Member

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    Just to console those who name their chapters, many classic novels that I read have named chapters. I don't think it's that big of a deal, and I suppose it does sometimes have to do with genres, but I just thought I'd point out that even some of the best books have named chapters. I personally haven't decided whether or not I want to name my chapters, though. It does take some cosideration.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't suggest using classic novels as a model. Styles do change. As I said, check current releases in your genre.
     
  19. JohnNoZ
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    JohnNoZ Member

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    I agree with Kyle777. Titles should grab the reader. They are like the first sentence of a book or chapter. You need to hook the reader, and make them want to read more.
     
  20. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    I think that creating chapter names is an extrodanrially enjoyble thing to do. Its fun analysing your work and creating that final flourish that is the title of the chapter.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it may be fun and all that, but i repeat, if you want to SELL your book and if it's not for children or the YA market, and you're not time-travelling back to a hundred years ago, it's BEST to NOT title your chapters...

    while it may be ok for some mss aimed at a niche market like fantasy or erotica, try it with a mainstream novel and you'll be flashing a big neon sign to agents/publishers that says 'HERE COMES ANOTHER CLUELESS AMATEUR!'
     
  22. fantasywriter
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    fantasywriter Contributing Member

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    I don't disagree with that completely, but I do to some extent . . . I've read more books with titled chapters than I have without them, in all kinds of genres, so I don't think it's a problem at all. Like I said earlier, it's all a matter of opinion - for you and the publisher.
     
  23. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    I think i'm agreeing with Miss/mrs/madaam/lady fantasywriter on this department.
    Although I'm not disagreeing with Maia either.

    So where does that leave me...?
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Gender confused? ;)
     
  25. MugenMonster
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    MugenMonster Member

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    i only title my chapters because i put the time and place in which the event is happening in, cause i jump around alot
     

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