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zanizh
02-05-2009, 08:08 PM
I suck... or I feel like I suck, anyways, at trying to come up with great titles for my work.

Can the Wide World of AW give me some pointers and tips to better my title making capabilities?

Sage
02-05-2009, 08:23 PM
I try not to force it. Some of my titles were obvious from the moment I started the novel, others had to come to me after I've gotten into the novel. One of mine started with the title (the thing that inspired me to write the novel provided it) before there was even a plot. Usually there's a phrase or idea or image in the novel that just seems to sum it up right. Sometimes a character's name or nickname can be used somehow in the title. That's what works best for me, anyway.

Puma
02-05-2009, 08:23 PM
In my opinion, catchy titles are always better - the ones that make you say What??? Maybe in some way they're a bit incongruous, or they give a hint what the story's about (not like the Life and Times of X - more like The Shopaholic). Frequently they're very short - ICE, Blizzard - but give you an immendiate impression of the subject and tone. Maybe in some cases they imply a question (For Whom the Bell Tolls) so you want to read the book to find the answer.

Coming up with titles is not easy. Good luck. Puma

Shadow_Ferret
02-05-2009, 08:25 PM
My titles:
Title
Untitled
To Be Named Later
Name of MC
Name of First Location in WIP

I only seriously name the thing after I'm done. Then I can scour it and pick out a cool line, or since I have an idea what the story's about, name it based on events or things like that.

firedrake
02-05-2009, 08:34 PM
That is usually the hardest part for me too. But, as I write, the titles usually come to me.

Spiny Norman
02-05-2009, 09:53 PM
I'm pretty lousy at titles. I tend to go for conceptual stuff or a cool line, and inevitably get shot down. Not to mention that the title I submitted to my agent and publisher turned out to have a real sexual connotation in it, if you read it the right way, and my book is about a sexual as a morgue. (Hopefully you do not find morgues sexual.)

I don't have much of a fix for you, but I feel your pain. I'd suggest naming it after an item or person in the story that has symbolic meaning to the main character. That's what everyone else did for me, and it turned out to be the right idea.

Cybernaught
02-05-2009, 10:11 PM
I like to look through my story and see what tropes seem most prevalent. I'll take my title from there. All my stories begin with "Untitled," and some even remain that way after their finished.

zanizh
02-07-2009, 11:41 PM
My problem is that I'm cheesy by nature. That's from growing up with a cheesier dad. I'd say, "I'm gonna run to the store." and he'd come screaming down the hall with his arms flailing and yell, "Don't run! Drive!"

So as far as me picking out a cool line, I could think I have the coolest line ever and someone else tell me, "Um, girl, that's dorky."

When I try to title something, I feel like I'm compacting the story into a three word poem. Guess I'm going about it wrong. :Shrug:

Thanks for all the tips. I'm gonna keep them in mind while I write my new fantasy short, "The Bird People Who Want to Eat Your Children".

LOL. You'd have to see one of my other threads to get that. ;)

semilargeintestine
02-07-2009, 11:42 PM
Weird titles like that intrigue me. I would read that based solely on the title.

zanizh
02-07-2009, 11:48 PM
Weird titles like that intrigue me. I would read that based solely on the title.

Really? :e2hammer:And I was just joking!

Cranky
02-07-2009, 11:53 PM
My titles:
Title
Untitled
To Be Named Later
Name of MC
Name of First Location in WIP

I only seriously name the thing after I'm done. Then I can scour it and pick out a cool line, or since I have an idea what the story's about, name it based on events or things like that.

Mine always (or nearly always) start out being titled P.O.S. #__ with the next number in line. My last one was P.O.S. #7...but now it's got an actual working title.

Some of them go through lots of working titles, and only rarely have I gotten a title immediately. For two stories, actually: Hack and My Name Is Alias.

Ciera_
02-08-2009, 12:06 AM
I'm godawful with titles, too. I really like the one I've decided on for my first book:
Murder Pet
It's sharp and intriguing, I hope. And relates DIRECTLY to the book, while the book isn't about killing kittens and goldfish and such.
Took me months to come up with it. I literally sat for hours trying to think of a good title, and I don't remember how, exactly, but it just came to me.

semilargeintestine
02-08-2009, 12:08 AM
Really? :e2hammer:And I was just joking!

I'm sure you can come up with a better one, but unique titles stand out more (go figure!). There are so many titles that are all the same. It's become very formulaic. I'd like to read a story with a title like the one you thought of, even if it was a joke.

Wayne K
02-08-2009, 01:24 AM
As I've said before, I'm great at titles, but then I get stuck.

Darzian
02-08-2009, 07:42 AM
I was under the impression that editors/publishers love to change your titles. I had a thread on that a few months back and most Awers told me not to get too attached to my title as it may be replaced anyway.

Lady Cat
02-08-2009, 09:38 AM
Two of my WIPs started out with a title; one started out with a working title and the perfect title came to me about halfway through; one has a working title and I'm still waiting for a better one to come along.

The working titles are just something descriptive I can call a project so I can find it in my file easier, things like: New One; Space Jungle; Stupid Space Idea That Wouldn't Leave Me Alone . . .

The keeper titles usually come from a few significant words from the story itself - a phrase one of the characters uses or a key element of the story itself.

Shady Lane
02-08-2009, 10:48 AM
I fail at titles. I just slap something on there and let my agent/editor take care of finding something not-awful.

SirOtter
02-08-2009, 10:50 AM
I'd been playing with Dead Women in Love for over a year and was half-way through the sequel before I changed the title from Fair Exchange. The sequel, Altar Ego, became All the Damn Vampires shortly thereafter. I'm still trying to settle on a title for the Vast Amorphous Fantasy Thing I've been working on for ten years.

emc07
02-08-2009, 12:23 PM
I suck... or I feel like I suck, anyways, at trying to come up with great titles for my work.

Can the Wide World of AW give me some pointers and tips to better my title making capabilities?

I have this problem too. I'm not done with my WIP, so I haven't picked one yet. For me, it's easier to come up with titles for short stories or poems.

I don't know.. maybe check out the titles from some of your favorite books. See how their titles correspond with their stories? In a lot of series, they are related somehow, if you have a series, you could come up with a theme instead of an actual title, then a title might come out of that. Good Luck!

Stlight
02-08-2009, 01:02 PM
Relax, go with the idea that the agent/publisher will change it as D. said. That will free your mind to come up with something.

If you plan to equery, pick something that fits into the subject line along with the word query.

MetalDog
02-08-2009, 01:17 PM
I suck at titles too. My current WIP is running around under the filename 'What Really Happened', heh. All the finished or in-edit stuff is named after characters or settings.

I guess making a long list of possible names for the things and asking for a vote might not be a bad idea. Even if people vote for one you don't want, it tells you that at least part of your mind is made up.

Deccydiva
02-08-2009, 01:30 PM
I'm with Sage on this; I can't even start without a title. When I did NaNo, I plucked a word out of the air but by the time I was halfway through, it was looking better and better. Whether the novel fitted around the title or I was just lucky, I don't know but it felt right so it stuck. Would I mind if a publisher changed it? Not at all, he who pays the piper, etc...

Christian Genzel
02-08-2009, 05:00 PM
Yes, finding a good title can be difficult. Like many others here have said, sometimes the title exists even before you write your first page, but often it's the last thing you'll work on after finishing the manuscript. I've have both experiences.

Re-reading your manuscript to find a phrase that would make a good title is a good idea. You may also want to take a large piece of paper and just write down any words or phrases that come to mind when you think about your story, including names. Sometimes, a good title can be created by merging some of these ideas and words.

Someone here has suggested checking the titles of the books you like and how they relate to the story. That's a good idea, too, especially when you take a moment to think about why a particular title appeals to you or intrigues you.

I often prefer short titles which somehow suggest the theme or the mood of the story (my screenplays include The Muse, Sleepless and Hold Your Breath).

brainstorm77
02-08-2009, 11:07 PM
Usually for me the title just comes to me.

Greenwolf103
02-12-2009, 08:08 AM
Funny thing: I saw a book today with a title that was the very same screenname I had when I had an AOL account once upon a time. Kinda eerie but it brought a good laugh.

Darzian
02-12-2009, 09:33 AM
One thing I REALLY dislike is a title that has more or less nothing to do with the book. There are a few out there and I sort of find them annoying. Sometimes the titles are very distantly connected to some element in the story or something, but I tend to prefer ones that have a strong link to the story because the title is one of the things I look at when buying a book.