Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Title Anxiety

This is mainly for my writing friends but anyone feel free to offer me advice! Does anyone else have problems coming up with titles for their work? I am having the hardest time picking the title of my latest work. Actually, I've always had this problem. That's why the books I wrote in high school & college were known simply as "The Witches Books" Part 1 - Part 8. Creative, huh? I don't know why I have such problems coming up with titles. It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed.
In fact, today I've been thinking about it so much, I can't even seem to focus on actually writing the damn thing. So instead of trying to write, I'm going to make a Walmart run (only because this town doesn't have a Target mind you) and hope that something about the hell of the largest retail chain in the world can spark my creative juices and I'll actually be able to write when I come back home. I will keep you all updated on if I come up with a title for the book. Hopefully soon I can since I was contemplating a venture into the world of self-publishing soon. I don't think anyone will publish a book called "Untitled" will they? But hey it's working for Jordan Knight to call his album "Unfinished." ;)
Does anyone have any advice? Or better yet, ideas for a possible title for those of you that have read the work in progress? ;) I'll give you credit if you help me come up with a title. Please I beg of you!! Okay off to hell -- I mean, Walmart.

11 comments:

  1. I have absolutely no clue what-so-ever where when (or even if (Sometimes I just make shit up (I wish you could use writing brackets like math brackets(sorry)))) I heard that you should never give a title to a story until after it is written. I believe this so much so that I have difficulty taking myself seriously as a writer when it is often the title that inspires my stories. That being said though my most epically unfinished tale has an awful working title.
    So never sweat a title, it will come organically out of the story or someone else will read your work and suggest something. Even The title for Dracula was changed at the last minute from The Un-Dead!

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  2. Thanks for your advice :) I think I have decided to put it out of my mind & wait till the story is finished to try to come up with a title again. I don't know why I was stressing so much over it! I didn't know that about Dracula but glad someone suggested the title change ;)

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  3. No one sucks more at writing titles than I. I titled a post of mine "I Call This Post Number Six" because it was the sixth post I've written. I rock. Seriously, I'll be monitoring your comments because I am in need of advice in this area as well.

    The only thing that does help me is walking away from the work for awhile. Since I do most of my writing at night I do what most people say to do and I "sleep on it." Once in awhile I'll wake up with a somewhat decent title. (Obviously I didn't sleep well the night before I posted my sixth post.)

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  4. LOL That's awesome, Karen! I wonder if I could really get away with calling the book "Untitled"? Okay, no I know I can't! I am trying to let it go and hoping inspiration will strike. I often "sleep on it" too. Hope that helps for both of us!

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  5. Sometimes a title can really sell a book. Lost World comes to mind. Had tp pick it up and the dinosaur on cover got me too. We need to give more thought to titles and covers that is for sure but how to pick one is a mystery. Sometimes I use song titles which seem to fit the story. Like Moon Shadow or In The Midnight Hour. Other times I use something in the story which points back to it. Like Safehaven or Bouncehouse. No good advice here but don't make mistake of not giving it importance. Thanks for your blog and post. Hope you will check out my posts at http://characterswellmet.blogspot.com. Thanks again. Reggie Ridgway writer of words.

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  6. I think you just pick key words, concepts, characters, events from your book. Write them down on a sheet of paper. Then start smashing them together and see what comes out.

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  7. Thanks for the comments/advice! I will definitely take your suggestions and see what I can flesh out.

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  8. I have to admit, I've been known to start planning books from little more than a title - but only when that title captures something important about what I'm writing about.

    The key to finding titles for me is looking at what preconceptions I want to give the reader. My (forthcoming) novel 'The Death of John Collins' is so named because I want the reader to go into it aware of the possibility that the character of John Collins may well die (not saying whether he does or not, mind).

    Everything on your book's cover and promo material is going to have an effect on how the reader approaches it. If you get it wrong, the reader will end up feeling that you've misled them as to what your book is. It's well worth looking at what other people in your genre are doing and how they are channeling reader expectations. Hope this helps.

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  9. I struggle with titles too but I am reminded that the most unconnected titles really do seem to hit a nerve with the reading public. I mean, look at Hemingways 'A movable feast'? Or a 'Farewell to Arms'

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  10. Yes. My titles change. I start with a working title, and then a couple drafts later it's morphed into another title and so on. I also struggle with names. Oh I just can't stand naming characters.

    Right now, the novel I'm posting on my blog, I called it "Ode to Impossible" because it's about impossible stuff, but I could have called it so many other things. Now I'm thinking that my 3rd chapter should be the name of the book, but I'm not sure yet as I'm only 116/365 pages in so far.

    Good luck finding a name / title that fits your story.

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  11. I love the title of my book. In fact, I saw in PM's deals that another book with the same title sold last year, but I can't see my book being anything different than what it is. I don't know if it's worse not having a title at all. Whatever you choose, try googling it with the word novel or fiction after it and see if anything else comes up with that same title. Good luck!

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