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  1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yay, I came up with the perfect title for my novel!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Jun 8, 2011.

    I can't believe it took me a year to finally find the title for it. Writing it, in comparison, was easy while the title-creating has given me sleepless nights.
    How do you come up with the titles to your novels? Does it just appear out of the blue? Do you refer to something being said or done in the novel or is it just a "random" title that seems to fit in the context? Do you use songlines or famous quotes? Get inspired from other novels?
     
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  2. Glimpse
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    Glimpse Member

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    Titles for stories would be a more appropriate question.
    Having said that, titles are one of the hardest elements to come up with because so many people are going to choose to read it based on what title you give it. I wish it weren't so, but it it. That's why I usually give titles to my stories based on relevance while also keeping it vague enough to arouse curiosity. So yeah, it's pretty much what happens in the story which titles my novel. Otherwise, it's a quote that I find particularly fitting. Something like "I am become death" would be an intriguing quote to use for a story about nuclear war. On the surface, it doesn't seem to fit, but digging deeper, there is a connection.
     
  3. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    Titles are hard. I have a working title for my book I'm not happy with, but I've yet to come up with anything better. For a long time while I was starting it I just called it Booky.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wrote the first draft of my only novel about 20 years ago. It had one title. The second draft, which I've started but is on the back burner right now, has a different title. Somewhere in between, the right title for the book hit me hard, like a revelation.

    For the short stories I've been writing, the titles have been easy. Pretty minimalist, actually. I wrote one about a timid, peaceful guy who is given a gun, and it's just called "The Gun". Hard to get more simple than that. My short story titles are usually pretty easy to find. There's one exception, though. I wrote a story for a writing class, and I think it's the best piece of prose I've ever written, and my instructor said it's terrific except for the title. I don't like the title either, but I can't seem to come up with a better one. I might have to start going through a book of quotations to see if anything fits - that worked for Hemingway.
     
  5. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    Titles are things that I have never cared about. I usually just choose the title by figuring out the most important element of the story. I have a story about a kid growing up alone in a forest, so I just named the story after the forest.

    Since I'm not published, I don't worry about it all that much.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for your answers! :) have anyone of you ever come up with the title first and created a plot starting from that? that sonds pretty interesting, I would like to be able to do that. Usually the problem I have with titles is I come up with one that doesn't sound bad but then I find there's already another book, maybe even a famous one, with the same title. Argh! it has already happened several times, and it wasn't like it was even the title of a book I've read. Same thing when I had to come up with a name for a band in one novel, they were all taken, and I don't want to steal/recycle one, I'm not sure that is even legal!?!
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am bad with titles. They honestly just have to come to me. Sometimes they come easily, and usually those are the best.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    That's awesome, congratulations. It's a great feeling. I just came up with a great name for my YA fantasy the other day, and realized I can make it into a series, so I"m right where you are.
     
  9. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    I use a metaphor or pull a good line from the book for my title, usually having something to do with the themes of the story.
    Ex. Catch-22, Crime and Punishment, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, etc.

    It's similar to writing essays, I write the entire essay first, and then choose a title that effectively summarizes it.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm happy for you. It's like finding the missing piece, that detail that is crucial for giving the story the right tone. I was almost sure there would be another with the same title but there wasn't and Im amazed. it must be destiny! ;) I know you usually don't copyright titles but recycling one that has already been used has this bad feeling about it, right? unless it's old enough (or somewhat unknown) for most people to not remember it :)
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Well yeah. The last thing you want is a title that's been claimed already. :)
     
  12. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aha congrats! I'm hopping the same revelation will come to me at some point :p
     
  13. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I love writing titles. They are like one line poems, or the cherry on top!
     
  14. stevenchapmanwriter
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    stevenchapmanwriter Member

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    I always have a working title for my novels, that way I don't have to think about giving them a name until they're finished. Sometimes the working title sticks, or at least gives me an idea for a proper title, and sometimes I wait until a phrase or word pops out from what I'm writing and demands to be made the title of the book.
     
  15. Jo_and_the_novelist
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    Jo_and_the_novelist New Member

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    I refused to even admit I was writing a novel for the first year I worked on it. And then I just called it "Thing" because I couldn't think of anything else. Eventually I came up with a title I really liked. And when I say "I" I mean someone else thought of it for me.
     
  16. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    99 % of the time, I don't come up with a title until I'm at least halfway through, usually longer. It's usually some sort of phrase or something else having to do with the context of the story, and I usually figure it out pretty quickly. It takes awhile for me to figure it out but once I do, I know it's the title I want to use.
     
  17. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I made the title for my first novel that I'm currently working on very quickly. It's a simple title but it fits in well.
     
  18. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    Do we get to hear (read) this title?
     
  19. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Yeah of course, just wasn't sure whether that was the point of the thread or not. It's called "The Brycewell Blade" (Though a change of title isn't out of the question.). That's the name of the sword which the plot revolves around so it was really fairly simple.
     
  20. thewordsmith
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    Great! Now that you've found the 'perfect title' sit down, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Then read carefully what I am about to tell you.
    If and when you sell your novel, a publisher might not find your title quite so perfect. He or she may just decide that something else would do the work greater justice. So that means you have sweated blood for the past year over something that may not ever make the cover of your book. (And I daresay, if a publisher says, "Love the book, hate the title", you'll jump at whatever they want to call it!)

    So don't sweat the title that much. Certainly don't give a year of fret and brain cells to that aspect. Sometimes good enough really is good enough. And, remember, you'll still have plenty of time to thrash out that perfect title later. It's just not worth the mental stress.
     
  21. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Not sure if you were talking to me directly, the first part of your post sounded like you were but apologies if not. Anyway I understand the story is most important but as I said I didn't spend too much time over it and am prepared to change it if need be.
     
  22. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    :D thank you! I do realise that is very likely but it still feels satisfying because for all this time it was like "Why can't I come up with a good name for this story when I have had it in my head for this long?" And I wanted a nice name for it to be better prepared for meeting the world (as in the office of the publishers, hihi), but I won't be disappointed if they come up with a better one, i'm not THAT attached to it, I just thought it was an important step in the creating process, so don't worry. It IS my baby but I'm not obsessiely protective about it :)
     
  23. Hysteria1987
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    Sometimes I get inspiration for the title, perhaps from a line in the story itself. Sometimes it just comes to me. Usually, though, I have a lot of trouble thinking of something good too =P The two stories I have on the go at the moment are both unnamed, and I expect they'll remain that way for quite some time yet (or at least, until I flesh them out a bit).
     
  24. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    I thought of the perfect title for my novel... in English.

    Unfortunately, I write in Swedish. And it doesn't translate well at all. Dammit.
     
  25. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I don't title my book/story until the very end. When I come up with the title first it restricts the story, rather than having it fit together.
     

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