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Thread: Which came first?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Miss Moo's Avatar
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    Which came first?

    Your title or your story?

    I was making the bed this morning and a terrific title popped into my mind after I did something silly......now all I need is the story to go with it!

    So, which comes first for you......the title or the story?

  2. #2
    Book Slut Kelsey's Avatar
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    If I have a great story, I am terrible at coming up with equally great titles!

    If I think of a great title, I wrack my brain trying to come up with any kind of story.
    ~* Kelsey *~

  3. #3
    fluently sarcastic grandma offender ladyleeona's Avatar
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    Definitely the story, at least with my current WIP. In fact, calling it 'Untitled' for the first 15k nearly drove me INSANE.

    But, like you noted, the perfect title came to me at the most random moment, so we be 'untitled' no more
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  4. #4
    Soldier, Storyteller Linda Adams's Avatar
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    Story first. The title has changed three times since I started.
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  5. #5
    Very Necessary serabeara's Avatar
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    Definitely the story.

    I'm well over 30K words in my WIP with no inkling of a title. It's not the first MS I've worked on like that, and it won't be the last. I'm terrible at coming up with titles. Heck, I struggle enough with character names!


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  6. #6
    I heart sexy elves and wizards. fredXgeorge's Avatar
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    Definitely story. I suck at titles. Usually for most of my first drafts it's just called the MC's name.
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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Miss Moo's Avatar
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    Interesting to see so many who have the story first. Now I have this title stuck in my head but I have no idea how to write the story to go with it! I guess now I have something new to work on, or at least, to try to work on.

  8. #8
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Moo View Post
    Your title or your story?

    I was making the bed this morning and a terrific title popped into my mind after I did something silly......now all I need is the story to go with it!
    Me, too. About six months ago, the perfect title, but alas, no story to go with it. I'm still searching, though.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW froley's Avatar
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    Definitely story. Neither of my novel-length WIPs have proper titles yet.

  10. #10
    Trigger-Happy Pyromaniac Writer BRDurkin's Avatar
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    I generally have at least a pretty solid premise for a story before I have the title. The title usually comes before I do any planning or outlining for the story, and I pick something that will help define what I want the story to be about. However, I don't limit myself to that; it's subject to change as the project evolves.
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  11. #11
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Story, most of the time. My WIP's title changes almost every time I open the file. When it's done, I might hold a name-that-novel contest.

    But now and then, a title will pop into my head, and then life is easy, because the titles that come unbidden bring stories with them. ... Of course, eventually, most of those turn into artworks instead of books... hrm... might have to work on that.
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  12. #12
    The Captain of My Soul Fade's Avatar
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    When I was in fifth grade and just started writing, it was always the title. I'd think of something that I thought sounded completely awesome and say "man, I can't wait to write that!" even if there was no story to go with it.

    Now, I can't think of titles for the life of me. Both my trunked novel and my WIP had the story come first, and I never finished one I just thought of the title for, proving that I need more than a title to make a story.

  13. #13
    figuring it all out niknicnac's Avatar
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    Sometimes the story comes first, and sometimes the title comes first. If the story comes first then I wait until the story is complete and try to give it a title that tells the reader an idea about what the story is about. If the title comes first, then ideas usually follow (of course sometimes the title still ends up changing before the story's complete.

  14. #14
    permaflounced
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    About a third of the time, the title comes to me either before the story or at essentially the same time—right along with the premise anyway. About a third of the time, the title comes fairly easily well before the novel is finished. And that last third, ugh. I go through title after title and nothing seems right.

    I also have a list of titles in my idea files, that have no stories to go with them yet.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The title comes first for me...

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Moo View Post
    Your title or your story?
    Depends. I've had both happen. Sometime in the distant past I saw an interview from the late best-seller factory novelist Harold Robbins that he started from titles and went forward.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Arcadia Divine's Avatar
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    It depends for me. Most of the time I just pick a key phrase and wait for the title until I get far enough into the book to where I can come up with an appropriate title.
    Everything bound to life dies eventually.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW Lainey's Avatar
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    The story almost always comes first for me - I'm terrible at titles. :P

    Don't get it right, just get it written.
    - James Thurber


  19. #19
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    Nine times out of ten, it's story first for me. The title comes when the story develops.

  20. #20
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    I usually struggle with titles, so the story usually comes first, and, for me at least, the title will come to me as a work on it. Usually it comes from the text itself - a word of phrase that is used that just sums up what it's all about.
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  21. #21
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Story, and then I find a good title after suitably developing plot, sub-plot and character.
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  22. #22
    Still waiting . . . kelzey2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Moo View Post
    Your title or your story?

    I was making the bed this morning and a terrific title popped into my mind after I did something silly......now all I need is the story to go with it!

    So, which comes first for you......the title or the story?
    Usually the story, but this has happened to before too. Luckily, I had a very vague, extremely short outline of another story lying around which I managed to alter to fit the title.

  23. #23
    Tyrant King jeffo20's Avatar
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    Story.

    I have four novels in various stages of completion. Only one of them has a title, and I'm not even happy with that.

    I have a much easier time naming short stories, but the story still comes before the title.
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  24. #24
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    A catchy title may be the nucleating agent for a story, but by the time one finishes a novel-length project, that original title may not hold up. It has still served its purpose by getting the story going, though. Publishing companies can suggest title changes, and I seem to remember some wording to that effect in a contract some time ago.

    For me, it's story first, and the title emerges from that story. If a title comes early on, it is considered a working title until the story is complete.
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  25. #25
    ~Charity~ writingismypassion's Avatar
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    It's always the story first for me. For my current novel, I referred to it as "Emily's story" until it was finished. Then I came up with a title, which I have since changed. Now that I'm almost done editing, the title may change again.
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