1. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    Title?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cyrano, Oct 21, 2009.

    How do you come up with the title of your novel? Do you decide it before or after you finish the book?
     
  2. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I usually come up with a title before I begin, because I have an outline and know how my story will end. Usually, by the end of the novel, I think of a better title.

    Vampire Stasis became Bending Nature.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Usually I'll have a temporary title, whether it be a name of a character or the theme of the piece, etc. After the piece is finished, I change the title into something better and which fits better with the piece.
     
  4. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    That's exactly what I do.
     
  5. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually the titles come to me. Like my NaNoWriMo novel this year which is called Becoming Dead. Which pretty much describes how my main character goes from a full of life guy who didn't have worry in the world until the Zombie Apocalypse came. Through the novel he grows cold and distrusting. He comes to the conclusion that he himself is dead on the inside.

    I usually think about my story and characters and the title sorta just pops into my head. I almost always try and find the right title before I start writing, and if a new and better one comes to mind then I switch.
     
  6. Mo Yeongsu
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    Mo Yeongsu Member

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    I tend to have a problem with titles. I am working on a novel right now and wish to God I had something to call it. Just a slug title for now would be fine.
     
  7. Karma Girl
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    Karma Girl Member

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    What is your story about, if I may ask?
     
  8. Mo Yeongsu
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    Mo Yeongsu Member

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    Not sure if you're talking to me or OP.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I usually have a pretty good idea of the title I will use early on, but I keep an open mind throughout the writing. You really don't need the title until you're ready to send out queries. Even then, the publisher may suggest a title change.

    All you need during the writing is a working title, so you can keep it distinct in your mind from all the other projects you're working on.
     
  10. HondaWriter
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    HondaWriter Member

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    The title of my book has changed four times. I've now simplified it, to give it a better ring.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whether it's a short story, essay, poem, or novel, i usually have a title in mind before i start...
     
  12. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I've just finished my novel's first draft, but I'm already on the fourth title - and still not sure I'm happy with that one. I think it's a waste of time agonising over it, though, until I finish the twentieth or whatever edit and I'm ready to send it to publishers/agents.

    On the other hand, with my second novel (still in the planning stage), I already know the title for the book and its potential sequels, and it was the title that suggested the plot and characters to me, and I know that those titles will not change.
     
  13. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    I work with 'codename' titles to start with and wait for a title to present itself in the narrative. The first novel I started (<-- almost completed too!) was FES [First Ever Story] Not very original but it helps me keep an eye on the projects that are banding around.

    I don't like to try an pick a title before hand, but that's because normally I don't have a plot or summary or anything - just an image or idea that I would like to develop. Sometimes they don't lead anywhere, sometimes they do. But I'd have an awful lot of titles to think up if I had to have one before I started something. :)
     
  14. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Some authors believe that a book's title must indicate what the story is about. If it doesn't, include a sub-heading that does. For example, Harry Potter doesn't mean anything to someone who hasn't read the story. So, it's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, etc. Do you guys agree with that? Must a book title hint at the tale's contents?
     
  15. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    I quote Twilight as the answer to your question. Successful book, but what does the title have anything to do or hint at the story?
     
  16. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well not sure about the other book titles, but in Twilight Edward explains its importance. Its brief and doesn't have much of a connection with anything. But it does ultimately have some importance towards the characters.

    But I guess you are right. It doesn't hint at the story or give away anything. Not really. But its still not a random title with no connection.
     
  17. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had an idea of the stories title for mine, but it chanced, once, twice, many times.

    Even though i have finished my original draft, i'm still unsure about it (So until its actually 100% complete i'm probably going to debate it).

    Unless im troubled after its finished completely, i'm not fussed.


    When i started my story i had an idea about how it was somewhat going to go, thus my first title, but it changed (story a little) and i discovered more solid themes and goals for the story and main elelments. So the titled changed to fit it.
     
  18. Mo Yeongsu
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    Mo Yeongsu Member

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    I believe the title should give some kind of clue to the feel of the book at least. Certain words can inspire certain images and ideas that should be connected with your story. Twilight makes you think of dusk and sunsets and reds and it's about vampires so I can see it. And twilight is a cool word, too. So as a title for that book's contents, I support it. The story itself, I despise.
     
  19. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    On an out of subject comment, I won't go near the Twilight Series because of certain things pertaining to the books.

    On the subject however; Titles can be easy to come by or they may be difficult. They can and will be subject to change at times, or they may just remain whatever you as the author decided to call them in the very beginning.

    I myself have a book that's title has changed several times now and I still can't seem to find the right title for it. I also have many stories of which I cannot create a title for and therefore have temporary titles to them until I can come up with something better. I do have a case where a book already has a title though it's not even started yet. This book also has a title that indicates what it's story is about without giving away the full content.
     
  20. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Just to add to my post, I want to make it clear that I only quoted Twilight in response to marcusl's question of "Must a book title hint at the tale's contents?"

    The answer being "No, it doesn't have to be."

    Before any of you have ever heard of Twilight being a book on vampires, would the name "Twilight" make you immediately think of vampires?
     
  21. Mo Yeongsu
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    Mo Yeongsu Member

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    Tonton, take a look at my post. The feeling of a book can be derived from its title many times and that, to me, should be the very minimum. I don't want a title that is completely and utterly misleading.
     
  22. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    Why would you create a title for your book that is deliberately misleading? Wouldn't that be kind of silly? I mean, if you want them to think it is about something then why wouldn't you have written about that something?
    Or, to rephrase - if you write about something, why lie and say it is something else, instead of writing about that something else?


    I had a title for my book before I began writing it. I like the title, I like how it has multiple meanings. But I also realize it may not be the snazziest title, and another might fit it better. I am not worried about the title until I am finished with the writing of it though, since no matter what I come up with, it may later change at any time anyway.

    After all, it doesn't matter what it is called. The story inside is what counts most. I have better things to think on atm.
     
  23. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Of course with every title out there, you can derive some sort of feeling or something from it. I doubt anyone would name a book with no relations in according to what the book is about or have no hint of anything doing with the story.

    I mean, I guess someone could make up an ambiguous title that has nothing to do with the book, but the publisher is probably going to change it anyways. You want a title that is catchy or markets or at least describes the book in some way.

    I state again, I was only answering marcusl's question, "Must a book title hint at the tale's contents?" which is "No, it doesn't have to, but as long as the title does have something to do with the book."
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The "hint" can be pretty thin.

    Just off the top of my head:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
    Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
    Please Don't Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr

    These are not titles that really tell you what the book is about. Certainly not as obvious as Robert J Serling's The President's Plane is Missing.
     
  25. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    For me a phrase jumps inside of my head. And this phrase stays as the title forever because it fits the mood.
     

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