1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What are the qualities of a great title?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GingerCoffee, Jun 18, 2013.

    A couple of examples for me are:

    Mercury Rising
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    East of Eden
    I know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    I Sing the Body Electric
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
    The Sun Also Rises
    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    Girl Interrupted

    I know some is personal reaction, but I'm wondering if there aren't any other qualities besides just how it hits a person individually. I can think of some bad qualities easy enough.

    How closely does it need to relate to the story? I don't think Mercury Rising relates specifically but it does in a general sense and I love the emotion the title evokes.

    Just wondering if people had any thoughts here.
     
  2. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Many of these challenge you to ponder, from the onset.

    Especially The Sun Also Rises (also?), East of Eden (Eden evokes something), Mercury Rising (an action), I know Why the Caged Bird Sings (a statement that gets one going) and so on...
     
  3. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    It should relate to the story in some way. Whether it's obvious at the start, or becomes revealed to the reader at the end if up to the writer. I feel a good title is one that catches someone's attention in some significant way. For me, my favorite titles are "The Night in Question." "Where I'm Calling From." "The Things They Carried." "Bullet in The Brain." "But Nobody Said Anything." "God knows the truth,but waits."

    There's many more,but as you see, those titles have something in there that catches some form of intrigue. And in all those stories, the title was relevant to the story's conflict or was a sentence or phrase in the story.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Challenge you to ponder, hmmmm. I still ponder what, I Sing the Body Electric, means even though I know the story.

    You seem to like little 'hinty' titles, blackstar. That's interesting, definitely a different category than the ones I picked.
     
  5. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    For me a great title is one that catches the imagination and makes you as a reader think. Some of the ones I've found intriguing are:

    Who Goes Here?
    The Unpleasant Profession of Johnathon Hoag
    The Eighty Minute Hour
    Conditionally Human

    But I think it is largely a personal choice thing.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Your forum tag reminds me of the title, Psycho, and for some titles I wonder how much is the title alone and how much is the story we know and relate to the title. I left Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and Gone with the Wind off my list for those reasons. I like the titles but can't separate them objectively from the stories.

    [sidetrack]Do you really live in Rotorua? Love that bubbling mud. ;) )[/sidetrack]

    I wonder if one used 'rising' with another noun if people would feel it was cliché?

    New World Rising
    Gliese Rising
     
  7. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I think titles for me have to be slightly quirky or have a twist - play-on words or a shift in a popular saying. Something that grabs my interest, in all honesty. Having something like "Time Out" on the cover, unless I read the back or know about the book already, it would turn me off big time because it's cliché and boring, all done before with no interesting element to it.

    Snappier titles seem to grab my attention, but I'll admit that longer titles have a sense of grandeur that does hold readers' attention.

    One of my favourites is one of yours: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" On first inspection it makes you think, then it makes you laugh, and then you read the blurb. And all because of a title. Never underestimate them.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as you can tell from the list you included, there is no formula, no set of rules that makes a great one...

    what makes one great is simply how it hits the majority of readers... 'cat on a hot tin roof' for instance, doesn't relate directly to the story/plot, but is a common expression that makes the person seeing that title stop and blink... then wonder what the heck the story can be about, if it has that title...

    while the 'hitchhiker's guide' is as explicit as can be, making one want to explore that journey...
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Formula is not what I was looking for, I'm asking about qualities. The two you list are just that. Thanks.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What makes a great product branding?

    That's another way to look at the same question.
     

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