Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finding a Title

For some people, the title comes before the book. For others, it may come during the brainstorming, the outlining or that first draft. For me? It still hasn't come. I started with a temporary title pulled from my prologue. However, the words I chose were a made up language created by The Fae in my book. The pronunciation will likely be different depending on the person. I figured this wouldn't do. I had more important things to focus on these past few months with the rewrite so I kept the working title that I had.

Now that I am in a critique group, I figured that I had better get serious about a title. I brainstormed. I wrote down every noun, verb and adjective that brought elements of my story to mind. No luck. So I took the plunge...

I googled.

And found this gem on Rachelle Gardner's website:
How to Title Your Book

Oh how I love her. I follow her. I think I missed this post because it was written when I was in throes of a Mini NaNo, racing to finish in 30 days (I didn't. I finished in under 90, though!). Although I don't feel 100% confident in my title, it's getting there.


Intriguing. But not quite there yet.

How do you title? Is it easy? Does it simply come to you? Or do you have to work at it like I do? Perhaps it varies with you depending on your project? Do tell!


  1. Titling is so, so hard for me. My current WiP title, What Was Mine, appeared months after the book did.

    Dark Forest sounds intriguing. I wonder what goes on there :)

  2. Mine varies, I have to wait until I have completed the story though, which is a little easier for more since I tend to write short stories. Have you tried using an online thesaurus and looking up words familiar to the ones you chose?

  3. Titling for me is nearly impossible. I've toiled over RG's post dozens of times, asked my librarian friends for help with contemporary titles that I might not know (and then getting my butt to the library), web-charting, the whole nine yards. I have gotten a subtitle (it's a series), but I don't have the main part. You know, the "Harry Potter and" part. Argh. I'm tempted to hire someone to do it for me :)

    Dark Forest sounds pretty great, and gives so much potential for an awesome cover... yeah, I'm jumping the gun, I know.

  4. I have steps.

    Step 1 - Start with a name
    Lauren's Story
    Stella's Story
    Sadie's Story

    (focusing on the MC helps me realize a proper title)

    Step 2 - Feelings & Goals
    Finding Me
    Getting to Peloria
    You Wish You Were Me

    (I take my feeling and goal/outcome of the story and title it then)

    Step 3 - Final Thoughts
    The Traveler's
    Getting to Peloria

    (Sometimes my title changes, other times it remains the same, it all depends on my feelings at the end)

    I love the idea you have at the moment and I think it's brilliant while you continue to work on your story!

  5. The title can be tough that's for sure! Then once it's accepted for publication, the publisher might change it again. I'm now off to this link you gave. Thanks!

  6. I feel bad.... My title came pretty easy to me. It just made so much sense.

  7. Titling has always come fairly easy for me. Like my current WiP is called "Windfall" which has a duel purpose. It's the name of the town where the story is set, but it also is a word defined as 1 : something (as a tree or fruit) blown down by the wind
    2 : an unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage and both definitions really fit the theme of the story.

    But for other things, I change titles willy nilly. It is hard if nothing strikes you!

  8. Bee - It's so good to know that I'm not in this alone!

    Summer - Interesting that it's the same way with your short stories. I live with the thesaurus up when I write. It didn't help much when I was brainstorming for titles, though. I think my words may have been a bit limited.

    Rosie - I love that you jumped the gun. :-)

    Jen - I really like your steps. I'm not sure that I'm set with this title so I think I may try them after the rewrite is done. Or maybe during the rewrite if I'm having a blocked day.

    Karen - I keep reading that you can't get too attached to your title because the publisher can change it! That's why I don't want to spend too much time focusing on it.

    Melissa - Don't feel guilty! I'm glad that it comes easy to you!

    Mina - I LOVE it! I love that it has double meaning. Windfall - definitely sounds like a book I would buy!