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Perks
01-15-2014, 08:23 PM
So. They want a title. They want it today for the placement meeting tomorrow. I'm stumped.

Any little tricks you guys use to rattle a title loose in your head?

DeleyanLee
01-15-2014, 08:27 PM
I often find titles in the book's theme or main conflict, since that usually lends itself to more interesting, witty or even poetic wording. Don't know if that'll help you.

Once!
01-15-2014, 08:38 PM
I can't help myself. When I saw the title of this thread, I couldn't stop thinking about Frankie Howerd...

Titles seem to go in cycles like fashion. In the eighties we had adjective noun titles like Lethal Weapon, Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction. All of which were moderately meaningless and interchangeable with each other.

Robert Ludlum likes titles in the format "The Name Noun", as in the Eiger Sanction, the Bourne Ultimatum.

Adventure novels often have something like "Firstname Secondname and the Something of Something else". Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Sky Captain, Flash Gordon

Do you have a memorable name for one of your characters: King Kong, Silas Marner, Lolita?

Is there a surprising linkage between two things which you might not expect to be linked? The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The dog that didn't bark in the night. The girl with the dragon tattoo.

A phrase or witty aphorism that you used?

A term you invented for your book: The Hunger Games. Under the Dome?

A single word that sums up your book: Twilight, Alien, Psycho?

Or try this - describe the plot of your novel in one sentence. Now take each of the words of that sentence and jumble them up into pairs. Anything sound interesting? Think of synonyms for each word. Anything yet?

Perks
01-15-2014, 08:40 PM
You guys are pretty all right, you know that? I'm on it.

Phaeal
01-15-2014, 10:14 PM
A phrase from Shakespeare or classic poetry generally works well, as in The Sound and the Fury or Death, Be Not Proud.

Titles are tough. Sometimes I think of a great one, apropos of nothing, and then create a story to fit it. :D Otherwise, I generally look to the thematic underpinnings for a telling word or two.

Just don't go with this formula: The Blankety-Blank's Daughter/Wife/Mistress/Aunt/Mother/Any Other Female Generic Noun. I'm sick to death of that one. ;)

Perks
01-15-2014, 10:23 PM
Just don't go with this formula: The Blankety-Blank's Daughter/Wife/Mistress/Aunt/Mother/Any Other Female Generic Noun. I'm sick to death of that one. ;)

I am very with you there.

GHO57
01-15-2014, 11:29 PM
Hmm...

"Blankety-Blank's Any Other Female Generic Noun"

... the story of Blankety Blank; abandoned as a newborn to be raised by rogue lumberjacks. A story of personal growth, of love, of family secrets. His epic search for women taking him away from the logging camp that's been his life to discover... women in general.

...

The man lumbered (geddit, he's a lumberjack) through the unfinished wood door of the small cabin that had been his home for the last year, bowing his head in deference to the rough-hewn log over it. His massively boned head, while nigh on indestructible in his imagination still hurt when he banged it on the door-frame. That was something he'd managed to avoid for a month now, he considered it a small victory over his environment, the place was slowly beginning to feel like home, he was learning its little tricks.

He glanced down just in time to stop his size fourteen boot from landing on a small bundle wrapped in a pink blanket. (guess where blankety gets his name from) A small bundle that was looking back at him.

...
Cut to chapter 15
...

"dad", said little BB, "where do the men go every friday?"
"They go whoring" rumbled his father
"What's a whoring?"
"A whore... is a woman, don't worry about that yet, son. You'll learn all about it one day"
BB looked puzzled, but he knew better than to press the issue. For several years, that was the only noun he could associate with women.

MarkEsq
01-15-2014, 11:50 PM
Would you feel up to posting a blurb/synopsis? Maybe the geniuses here could come up with some suggestions for you to mull over.

I might, too. :)

Perks
01-16-2014, 12:23 AM
Urg. I think I ran out of time on this one. I need to find out if I'm stuck with whatever they pick.

robjvargas
01-16-2014, 02:00 AM
:Huh:

Well, I suppose if it matters, you want to be sure to keep the center of gravity above--

:poke:

What? It's not...? Oh! Titling!

Woops.:eek:

I had a working title going for eight months. Then three critique partners looked at a chapter title I had and said, "That's the title."

They were right. Sometimes, the moment or principle that drives the story will also provide a key word or phrase that inspires the title. Sort of like when a song gets its title from a phrase only given once in the song itself.

Liosse de Velishaf
01-16-2014, 04:22 AM
Are responses here still useful or has the deadline passed?

Perks
01-16-2014, 04:28 AM
Well, now I'm not sure. Ha! Can't seem to find out if a decision's been made. I'd love a tip if you've got one.

And there's always the next soandso who sees the thread title and looks for guidance.

elinor
01-16-2014, 04:55 AM
Titles are incredibly tough. I think of mine as "working title". I give it two words usually, the first ones that come to mind that are easiest to type out, and then stop thinking about it.

The next book I'm outlining is a YA UF and I've had trouble on a title, so what I've been doing is making word lists of words that I might associate with the book. Then sometimes I'll take a glance at it and see what pops out, and mentally combine words however, and see if something happens. Nothing useful yet.

Liosse de Velishaf
01-16-2014, 06:21 AM
Shameless Plug for My Blog (http://atsiko.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/on-titles/)

Perks
01-16-2014, 06:38 AM
Shameless Plug for My Blog (http://atsiko.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/on-titles/)

Awesome! I'm so tired tonight, but I know what I'll be reading with my morning coffee.

Thank you so much for the link.

dondomat
01-16-2014, 06:45 AM
Lord, I read the title as 'Tits for Tipping'. No, never again before my first coffee..:)

Liosse de Velishaf
01-16-2014, 04:38 PM
Lord, I read the title as 'Tits for Tipping'. No, never again before my first coffee..:)


Did anyone not misread this thread title? I know I did.

Undercover
01-16-2014, 05:22 PM
Did anyone not misread this thread title? I know I did.

Yup, had the title trip up too. I think all these suggestions are neat. That's what I try to do too, something poetic, a phrase or strong word that best fits the vibe of the story.

For instanced. The Pencil tortured me with making a new title. haha. But I loved her for it. Ironically enough, "Disconnected" was my original title. It jumped out at me because the MC has a split personality. But I changed it to make it more unique and poetic. But once I got the contract, the editor, like I said, wanted me to change it. FOR MONTHS this went on. God, I threw out so many. She was like, no, no, no...keep trying. She liked some of course, but she didn't LOVE it. Then the org. title crept back up. And I was like, watch, she's gonna like this one best. And whammo, she was like that's it.

I was still hesitant because there were other books with that title and I still thought it was kinda generic. Plus it sounded techy, techy to me. And that's not what the book was about. Cause with the word "disconnected" it sounds like it's an online thing. But I figured it's destiny, because it was just too ironic not to go with it in the end.

Perks
01-16-2014, 05:27 PM
I can't even title a thread. *bursts into tears*

Namatu
01-16-2014, 05:47 PM
I can't even title a thread. *bursts into tears*No, it was good. Very attention-getting. It's why I clicked!

Perks
01-16-2014, 05:48 PM
I'll be fine. Don't mind me.

Phaeal
01-16-2014, 06:32 PM
Apropos of tits. Any title with the word "titmice" in it would rock. Especially with some alliteration or even assonance. Like:

Titania of the Titmice

or

A Titillation of Titmice

or

The Titanium Titmouse

or

For Whom the Titmice Twitter

G'head, use one, use all!

KTC
01-16-2014, 09:28 PM
So. They want a title. They want it today for the placement meeting tomorrow. I'm stumped.

Any little tricks you guys use to rattle a title loose in your head?

I have been called the TITLE MASTER by my friends. I have helped SEVERAL people with titles. I usually read their work first, though. Myself...the title is what I use to write the novel, so I can't really help you there. I come up with the title and then freefall from it to find the story.

calieber
01-17-2014, 07:11 AM
Lord, I read the title as 'Tits for Tipping'. No, never again before my first coffee..:)


Did anyone not misread this thread title? I know I did.

Well, tripe does have a honeycomb shape that's pretty good for tiling, but it would start to smell after a while.

I usually have little trouble with titles ... except for what I'm outlining right now, naturally.

Perks
01-17-2014, 07:13 AM
I've been given until Tuesday. Oh Lordy, another 'T' word...

ShaunHorton
01-17-2014, 07:31 AM
I plan on doing a blog post on how to choose your title eventually. A lot of the suggestions so far have been pretty good.

I recommend the shorter the better, and nothing over five words. More than that and you're starting to eat up cover space. The fewer words you can use, the bigger they can be, and the easier they are to see from a distance or at thumbnail size.

As for what the title should be, I like the MC's name, or, if you can boil the synopsis down to a sentence or two, and do a search online to see if there's any words that have those sentences for their definition.

Personally, I also keep an eye out and see if that title has been used on anything else published in the last six months or so. But that's just me.

onesecondglance
01-17-2014, 01:55 PM
As MarkEsq said upthread, if you can give us a logline, one para summary or something I'm sure we could help you brainstorm.

If you'd rather do off-thread, drop me a PM and I'll happily throw out some ideas. They might not be perfect but they might spark some inspiration.

JFitchett92
01-18-2014, 12:50 AM
Did anyone not misread this thread title? I know I did.

I'm here for the tits.

Without a blurb/synopsis, we can't help with any actual names. I got the title for my book from a term used in it (the term actually got removed post-outline, but the title stayed the same). You could always use a sentence from the story and then take the key feature from that sentence.

Example:
No one would dare venture beyond Vicar's Gate because anyone who was anyone knew there was a dragon in the woods.

Hope you find something by tuesday. At least you have the weekend to mull it over.

Namatu
01-18-2014, 01:40 AM
Perks, you may have figured it out already, but my money's on: Nothing But Cowboy Boots.

Manuel Royal
01-19-2014, 05:29 PM
Perks, if you came up with "Three Graves Full", I'd say you've got the skills you need.

I generally think shorter is better. One word is great. But if it needs to be longer, I like a title that implies a question.

It's always bugged me when I hear of publishers changing a title. (Though "Gone With the Wind" is definitely better than "Mules in Horse's Harness".)

Without knowing anything about your current book, let me throw out:

Bonecutter

Daddy's Drinkin'

Soft Breath on the Nape of Your Neck, But Then You Turn Around And No One's There: Spooky!

Quick, Quick, Quick

Pound of Flesh

Li'l Tart

Perks
01-19-2014, 09:01 PM
Sorry guys. I went AWOL. I'm not good at being tremendously busy.


Perks, you may have figured it out already, but my money's on: Nothing But Cowboy Boots.

Yay! Done and dusted. Thanks for solving my problem, Namatu. :)



Perks, if you came up with "Three Graves Full", I'd say you've got the skills you need. Thank you. I really appreciate that.




I generally think shorter is better. One word is great. But if it needs to be longer, I like a title that implies a question. I like one word, too, but I'm not finding one I like for this one.




It's always bugged me when I hear of publishers changing a title. (Though "Gone With the Wind" is definitely better than "Mules in Horse's Harness".)

Ha! TGF was my answer to a publisher change. The working title was 'The Liar's Margin' but they wanted to call it 'The Other Body'



I've been over and over my little pitch synopsis, but can't find a title in it. I don't even love this pitch synopsis, but it was cobbled together in about five minutes and got the job done, thank goodness. The working title was 'Heritage' but they don't like that.


Dee Aldrich keeps the memories of her late mother’s cryptic cloak-and-dagger games boxed, Pandora-style. Dee lives in the now, safely on the far side of her carefully cultivated suburban tranquility. But once her husband grows secretive, Dee’s manufactured peace can’t stave off the feeling that he’d rather see her out of the way. With her intuition ignited, the cunning lessons learned at her mother’s knee take the reins, whether she wants them to or not.

A tailing blue sedan spotted once too often, then the reappearance of a soldier from a terrible night long ago, and an old mystery is revived while the paranoia of a murder-for-hire brews. In untangling conspiracy from coincidence, Dee discovers that, through the axioms and mindgames she learned as a girl, she’s always known her mysterious mother far better than she’d ever realized.

Blood and water, nature and nurture; a mother’s love reclaimed in memory. How much of who we are is in our Heritage?

Kylabelle
01-19-2014, 09:22 PM
Blood Cunning is what jumped out at me. No idea if it suits your story but thought I'd offer.

Torgo
01-19-2014, 09:45 PM
"Three Graves Full" has that lovely twisted-nursery-rhyme feel, and as someone publishing a second thriller, I'd probably want to keep that going if I could, for branding purposes. I'm not saying go back to nursery rhymes (theming titles like that feels like it's been done) but you could take a spin on some kind of aphorism or well-known phrase relating to the concept of heritage - the 'blood is thicker than water' sort of thing, or 'what's bred in the bone'. But with a twist that hasn't already been thought of by someone - which is the tricky bit.

But you could start searching around famous quotes or sayings in the general area, and see if anything jumps out at you as possible to adapt or coopt in some way?

Mr Flibble
01-19-2014, 10:16 PM
I quite like Blood and Water from your synop.


You could take a spin on some kind of aphorism or well-known phrase relating to the concept of heritage - the 'blood is thicker than water' sort of thing

I love those kinds of titles -- my WIP was "Thicker Than Water"*, but that got nixed :( Still, it's a great way to go. Maybe try mining Shakespeare quotes?


*I was going to call the sequel Thinner Than Blood...

Perks
01-19-2014, 11:02 PM
Maybe try mining Shakespeare quotes?


Ha! Spent all afternoon yesterday scanning Shakespeare. Got a few ideas, sort of, but most remembered how much I friggin' love Shakespeare.

I ran across this brilliant zinger from The Merry Wives of Windsor and couldn't stop cackling -


"Here will be an old abusing of God's patience and the king's English."

Perks
01-19-2014, 11:03 PM
And thank you - all for your ideas. I'm stuffing them into the mill and seeing what comes from it all.

Really, you people are lovely.

JFitchett92
01-20-2014, 01:16 AM
Blood And Water
In The Blood
Like Mother, Like Daughter (A tad unoriginal)
Bloodline
Mother Knows Best

Just some ideas, not necassarily good ones but ideas nonetheless.

Manuel Royal
01-20-2014, 05:46 AM
If Shakespeare is wanted, I'd recommend

Farewell the Tranquil Mind

DeleyanLee
01-20-2014, 08:12 AM
What caught my ear in your blurb and made me wonder more about the story was "Manufactured Peace".

It kinda begs the question of what's going to shatter it, and how.

reiver33
01-20-2014, 09:54 AM
Bloodcalm

Namatu
01-20-2014, 07:24 PM
Add me to those liking Blood and Water, and also DeleyanLee's suggestion of Manufactured Peace.

Since you've got an element of espionage in the story:
The Legend of Blood and Water

In another direction, but still keeping the espionage theme:
Window Dressing (http://www.spymuseum.org/education-programs/spy-resources/language-of-espionage/).
Although I like the idea of what it captures better than the actual phrase.

Under an Assumed Life (instead of an assumed name)