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I've been creative writing all my life, though with various haitus(es) along the way. IFrom 2010 I started this blog and enjoyed sharing writing and other information with everyone. illness and bereavement supplied the more recent hiatus.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Do you have a Title?

The title of your book is the first thing anyone will read.

It's got to hook the reader in just as much as the first line.

Apparently most authors are rubbish at choosing titles for their novels, but it's one thing I love doing. I think it's because I love playing around with words for my poems, haiku and limericks; checking out the definitions of things; making puns.

I like the idea that a title can be summative and direct or enticing and oblique.

Apparently the best titles include something with which the average reader can identify, giving an immediate impression of genre and content. Many just leave the reader puzzled and lost. While it can be intriguing, it should be memorable, giving the reader insights into the content of the novel. 

Your title must be:

Specific                 Concrete          Unusual.

Check out the Mslexia website for their free pdf workshops which has some great advice.

How do you tackle titles?
Do you avoid them until the last minute?
Choose a title that will do for the moment?
or research and chunter until you find the one that suits?


  1. I tend to collect interesting/weird words, headlines and phrases in the hope I can use them as titles at some point. Sometimes the title inspires the story.

    Moody Writing

  2. Titles are hard. Mine isn't unique but I don't care all that much. People should be able to find it by title and author searches even if there are five other books with the same title.

  3. I find titles either easy or hard. Some just arrive fully formed, and others seem impossible to find!

    My question is, what is the title for your WIP? ;)

  4. I like to have a title before I begin.

  5. I am in the process of writing a book and I already have the title. It will mean nothing until you read the book, though.

  6. I collect phrases that would make great titles. Unfortunately they rarely seem to fit the type of books I write!

  7. I am completely and utterly rubbish at choosing titles for my stories. I write the stories first then afterwards I will read the story and then a word or phrase may strike me and I think maybe I can use this word/that phrase as a title - but only if I'm lucky!!

    Take care

  8. I've changed the title of my current WIP three times. Have finally settled on "Untroubled Kingdom" which is also the title of my blog. It's symbolic and has a lot to do with the story. However, I have no doubt that it'll get tossed out the window at publishing time. :)

  9. Like you, I love titling my works.

    I have the title before I write the work. For some reason this works for me...

  10. Whether the title is for a blog post or a book, I find the title comes to me naturally as I'm writing.

    Sometimes I use a place card title until the right one shows up.

  11. It usually just comes to me. Sometimes at the beginning of the story or during.

  12. Hi,

    Titles seem to come out of nowhere, just at point of beginning to write the first few lines! That's when I quickly "save" the file by title. ;)


  13. I'm rubbish at titles. I think my current title fits my WIP, but it is also somewhat misleading and ordinary. I do envy a good title when I see one. The ones I like most have a poetic ring to them I think.

    A recent good title I loved was Winter's Bone. I didn't read the novel, but I watched the movie. I kept wondering how the title fit, until the end when it all made sense in a big way. So good.

  14. I'm rubbish at titles -- the first few attempts, anyway. The ones I start with are revised nearly as much as the manuscripts themselves!

  15. Sometimes titles will pop out at me, and other times I either settle for a common title or call it "Project X" for a while.

  16. Titles are very easy for me, Madeleine. They just jump into my head, unlike the rest of the book.

  17. Sometimes a title starts it all for me. My wip stated with a title, now it doesn't fit but I'll file it away for another time.

  18. Picking titles is hard but fun. Great criteria :)

  19. I often struggle with titles. I often cry for help. One WIP has no title, working title is just the mc's name, which is usually the 1st title any work gets. The second WIP got its title from a suggestion from a crit partner after I begged for help. He got 'Stopover' which I liked. The rest came from me.

    Rarely, rarely, the title comes first. But rarely. :) Maybe I'll come knock on your blog when next I'm in desperate need.

  20. My experience with titles is quite unusual. I never really think about it. The perfect title just comes to me. I might be writing the post or watching TV or cooking at that time. When I actually put some thought into giving my post a suitable title I generally end up with an average one.

  21. The title is often the first thing I come up with. I've written things based on a title. On a few occasions I have gone back and changed a title, but usually I'm sold on the first title that comes to my mind.

    Tossing It Out

  22. I love coming up with titles. I actually have to change a title because it was based on characters I've since cut. Now it's all about snails so I'm thinking Slurp! or Slime lol.

  23. I love putting a title to my work. Most times, I have a title first. It may change slightly during the process of writing. But, next to developing characters, this is my next favorite part.

  24. LOL MPax I'll look forward to it.

    Sounds like we have a great mix of those who enjoy title finding and those who don't. Great stuff. Some bloggers write synposes and ask their followers for suggestions, too. :O)

  25. I'm one of those "rubbish" title creators. My trilogy has been named Book 1, Book Two, Book 3 for a long time. I come up with titlees, then discard them later.

    I agree a title really needs to sell the novel. That, and the cover.



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