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title first or content first?

  1. Title

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  2. Content

    33 vote(s)
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  1. onionmon
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    onionmon New Member

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    title first or content first?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by onionmon, Sep 1, 2008.

    Is it just me? I get ruffled when I don't write a draft title before writing content. Or, I'll start writing content, and unconsciously shift focus to the title. The title is going to change later on anyways; why am I so set on concreting it down??

    What about yall?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My titles almost always present themselves during the writing process, not before.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I always write before I get a title.
     
  4. MightierThanTheSword
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    MightierThanTheSword Member

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    I usually know what my title will be ahead of time, but I almost always wind up changing it to better fit the theme of the story.
     
  5. AmberDextrose
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    AmberDextrose Member

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    Maybe it's an age thing. I certainly felt that way when I was younger, but for me it was being unable to narrow down all the millions of things that my story Could be about.

    I think when you've got a story that needs telling you don't worry so much about the title.

    Could also be a hanger on from school when you're given a title and told to write.
     
  6. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    With stories, I begin with a plotline, an image, a theme, or a character... so titles come later, usually with a lot of agonizing so I had better have finished the bulk of the work. "Working titles" annoy me a little, but I can work with them.

    With poems... I totally forget :p but a read-over or two and it's usually just obvious what the title ought to be.

    With essays and articles, though-- I usually have the gist of it make the title, and I need the title there to remind me of what I meant to say. I'll rarely change it. That's why--

    --I think it might be this, too ;)
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always start a work with a working title, usually developed in the planning stages (rough plot outline).

    The title normally sticks, and doesn't change through the writing process and remains when submitted to markets. I say normally because one article I've written changed titles, one novel did, but no short stories have.

    The title for me, helps with the focus of the story. But whether one method is better than another--which comes first? I don't think it matters, especially realizing what is used may simply be a working title subject to change anyway.

    Terry
     
  8. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Titles usually come first to me
     
  9. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Same here.
     
  10. BellLily
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    BellLily New Member

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    Honestly, the most I worry about a title is what to label the story under in Word so I can find it easily again. Besides that, I always worry more about content. Usually plot or characters come first for me. Titles never did anything for me because I don't come up with good ones and it takes me forever to finish a story (if I do).
     
  11. mistressoftheflies
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    mistressoftheflies Member

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    Content first.

    What's the point of having a title before you actually have a finished product in your hand? ;)
     
  12. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    On fiction, my working title is always the name of the main character. If a better title pops up while I'm working, I'll use it. If not, the publisher will come up with the right one.
     
  13. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Good advice, I suggest following that.

    FYI: Content is the only thing that matters.
     
  14. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It's hard to separate the two because I tend to mull over story ideas for months if not years (I work in series stories), and the title almost always comes to me sometime during that period, so usually, it seems like the two go hand-in-hand. I'd say the story idea is probably there before the title, but I usually have the title down before I actually start writing.

    It's somewhat different with shorter stories. Often with those I won't have a title until I'm partway through or finished, usually because I really have no idea for a good title until I look through the text. It would feel very weird for me to work on a novel or serial without a title, though, because my novel and serial ideas bounce around in my head for so long.

    I do have a very few finished stories that are currently titleless. One is called "Random Scene 3" (ugh) and the others are called "Random Story 1" and "Random Story 2," though the first one has a working title. The other two just stump me.

    My titles don't tend to change because I'm not getting published. *shrug*
     
  15. sorkab
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    sorkab Banned

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    same here. content is better to work from as it can inspire a working title. As Lucy said it is from working out her plot - in the planning stage that she comes up with an inspirational title - if this also works for you, o for it.
     
  16. CobaltLion
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    CobaltLion Member

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    I have this weird need to title thiungs before I write. There's just a nagging feeling that I get if I don't have something to call a chapter. However, I a lot of times go back to change those titles later.
     
  17. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I guess i'm one of the few that will come up with an idea/title and work my way around from there.
     
  18. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I prefer to have at least a temporary title going into a story, but sometimes one just won't come until I know the characters and their situations a little better. I'm one of those writers who makes a lot of my plot up as I go along (although I have to have at least some advance planning). Because of this, the final product sometimes comes as a surprise to me. I don't always take the story in the direction I originally intended it, in which case I often wind up changing the name anyway. In those situations, it seems just as well to wait until the work is finished. I have a lot of "Untitled" files on my computer. I don't feel its really necessary to have a name for a story until you're preparing to submit it to an agent or editor and even then publishers frequently change titles.
     
  19. ABMiller86
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    ABMiller86 Member

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    I say content first, though coming you might come up with a working title, you might find that over time your story has changed and that title no longer applies.
     
  20. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    I usually have a title initially, but sometimes the title will change as I progress with the work. Sometimes it doesn't, it depends. I feel weird if I'm starting a work and I don't have a title. Coming up with some kind of a title just makes me feel better.
     
  21. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Doesn't matter which comes first. A title can inspire you to write your story, then in the end you can still decide to change it.
     
  22. DownUnder
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    DownUnder Contributing Member

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    For me I always get the content down first, and think of a title later. As for working titles, mine are completely random, like 'Story1.'
     
  23. Gladiatus
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    Gladiatus Contributing Member

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    Same here, I was wrting my story and after a few days the title came to me.
     
  24. Rio Moss
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    Rio Moss Member

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    I always see a scene first in my head, then the development of the story, the background of the characters.
    The title follows way later, and can sometimes be a headache to find.
     
  25. ChevyGurl
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    ChevyGurl Member

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    I usually start writing and as I get into the storyline and new ideas brew and things may change, the title may come to me sooner then later. But, I sometimes think of something better as the story goes on. For poems, I always write the title afterwards because I just write what I feel and then the title is just kind of...there.
     

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