View Full Version : Evolution of Short Story Titles

12-10-2011, 04:24 AM
As I'd posted (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231853) in the Writing Prompts board, I've written a javascript short story title generator (http://www.mcoorlim.com/random.html). The way it works is that it grabs a random grammatical structure into which it plugs various nouns, adverbs, prepositions, and verbal auxiliaries.


The <adjective> <noun> <preposition> The <noun> might yield "The Old Grave Under The Hill" or "The Green Dragon Beyond The Skull". Sometimes the results make sense. Sometimes they don't.

It's interesting to note how word choice and structure change after time. I was mining old Weird Tales tables of contents for structure, and back then you got a lot of "The <noun>". You don't see them as often anymore.

My questions:

1. Would there be a utility in the generator differentiating between different "styles" of word choice and structure based on era? 30s era pulp titles, 50s Sci Fi, etc? Beyond the novelty value of "ha ha, that's a funny title", do 'retro titled' short stories sell?

2. What current trends in short fiction story titling do well? Can you suggest what modern grammatical patterns are in vogue among short stories?

I guess basically what I'm asking are what are the current grammatical trends in short fiction titling, and how much of an impact do they have on popularity?

Ray Dillon
12-19-2011, 11:25 AM
Oh, cool! I'm going to totally try this. I'm awful with titles! Thanks!