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taerkitty

Actually, I do. I usually end up with this formula:

[Proper Noun]'s [Noun]

I think this is because I went through that Robert Ludlum and Fredrick Forsythe phase - many of their books followed this formula:

The [Proper Noun] [Noun]

And because I don't do poetry, I have no idea how to even begin naming a poem.

So, what's your technique (and how well does it work?) Feel free to discuss, to offer your own work as examples, and also to ask for help, either at inception:

I have this idea for a story but can't come up with a good title. It start with a ...

Or after it's been started:

Can someone read my story Gomer's Pile and help me think of a better name?

(Please note that the latter is an R/R request and you should reciprocate in the Want a Review thread.)

1/10/2010 . Edited 1/10/2010 #1
PencilSketchS

Most of the time my titles come from some random detail from my story, like something about a character, or their past, of something that will have significance later... but it's mostly just random. And sometimes the titles have nothing to do with the story, and just sound interesting enough at the time.

If ever you discover the formula to the perfect title, send it my way ^^

1/11/2010 #2
K.M.Simpson

Stupid name Ideas, they get me. Because I might have good titles that just don;t fit with the title.

I watch horses races and normally write down their names, weird, but I normally get good names out of it.

1/11/2010 #3
CassandraRose526

I try to find a quote that I can base it off of. Look up important conversations and see if there's something catchy that one of my character's say that I can make into a title. I look up background information about facts in my story. Borrow ideas from movies. Try to think of "catchy titles" I actually hate titling everything. In my defense, I've heard that when it comes to publishing they rarely use the title you pick out anyways. So I figure, what does it matter! I think my least favorite title is Child of Prophecy, because it's so BLAH . . . and doesn't really tell you anything about the story. I spent hours looking up quotes for that book too!

Some of my more recent titles: Shattered Dreams has to do with the fact that it has a Cinderella element to it. In my head, I was thinking: Shattered Glass. Then I realized that was the movie one of my friends was currently obsessed with. I also wanted it to be about a girl who has given up on dreams (thinking of the Cinderella song: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes) together, it melded to form Shattered Dreams.

A Bit Touched in the Mind is just a play on words: an idea to mean that somebody is kind of crazy, but in this case, when MC touches people, she reads their mind.

I got the title, Bolt from the Blue when I was looking up background information about lightening and electricity to see exactly how I wanted her powers to work . . . and more importantly, what her super-hero name would be. Found a lot of helpful information with good ole' Wiki!

Of my one-shots, my favorite title is Fair Trade because it's a great play on words for the story. Being that she's into fair trade everything and in the end, she makes what she considers a "fair trade" Yea . . . I'm lame.

But like I said, I hate writing titles. I'd just as soon as not. As a rule, though, I tend to write some of my story before considering what to title it. Hopefully, the name will come to me! It usually does.

Cassandra

1/11/2010 #4
Sputnik

I hate to do it but I use song titles so often its like reading an album cover. Failing that I have a weakness for pretension and use The 'something' for chapter titles because I'm too lazy to think of decent names. A third way is to be obscure but cool, as in the title doesn't have to make sense, but its interesting. I call this the 'Panic At The Disco' Method of Naming, although it can make you sound like a bit of a t**.

Sputnik.

1/15/2010 #5
Vulpine Ninja

for my poetries, the titles are taken from one of the verses/lines. Sometimes I come up with a title before writing a poem, so some titles are not found in any of the verses.

As for stories, I try to avoid using "The" at the beginning, or "Chronicles" or "Saga" (unless i wanna name a trilogy or so). I avoid from using obvious titles like "Love at first Sight" or "Stepbrothers" no matter how untypical I intend the story to be. People say don't judge a book by its cover (in this case 'title'), but I think a title should sound unique and appealing. Sometimes it takes time for me to think of a title. It could take years. First it was [title A], then as I develop the story suddenly [name B] is more suitable, but then when I re-think about it, [name C] has a nice ring to it. I'm obsessed with symbolism so I tend to use a symbol as a title, thus it may not make sense with the story content.

I have a story entitled "These Falling Apples". It's not about apples at all (but that fruit makes a cameo ofc), it's a slashfic. 'Apples' relate to the original sin, and the fact that the main characters are male. The story is about them struggling to accept their sexual orientations and the tension of commiting such 'sin'. The title is also another way of me saying "oh geez, these guys are really something..." about the characters. Scientific name for apple is Malus Domestica, where Malus also means 'dark' (in latin if i'm not mistaken).

Yes, I do waste a lot of time thinking of titles.

1/16/2010 #6
taerkitty

I love 'tangentially related, if obscure' titles. I just can't think of them. The manga Appleseed revolves around knowledge and how that leads to sin, at least the first volume, before Deunan became the One-Eyed Death Queen.

Oh, and an apple's seed did save the day in one of the 'ticking bomb' sequences, but that's almost a trivial side-note.

1/16/2010 #7
Vulpine Ninja

I love 'tangentially related, if obscure' titles. I just can't think of them. The manga Appleseed revolves around knowledge and how that leads to sin, at least the first volume, before Deunan became the One-Eyed Death Queen.

The best thing about such titles is that... somewhere in the middle of the story, or at the end, it makes you go "AHHH no wonder it's called [insert title here]!" when finally the author reveals the truth behind the title (whether it is clearly stated or not). I got that already XD

1/16/2010 #8
Vulpine Ninja

I'm looking for a title for my vampire story. It's not a typical one, mind you. It's romance free and there'll be no other vampires except for the main character, who's actually a half-vamp. The story is more like, discovering himself, finding his true calling and be more inclined towards his human side. I came up with different titles;

1. Little Dhampir - 'dhampir' is another term for half-vampires (go wiki it). But the title itself has 'told' people what he is. I used 'Little' because the main character, in spite of being in his 20s his body is of an 8 year old.

2. Child of the Damned - I came up with this while I was halfway through completing the prologue. But doesn't that sound like 'Queen of the Damned'? So this child is something obviously from the dark side. It could be anything...

3. Be Mindful of Sunlight and Garlic - seems too long, and somewhat comedy-ish... so I shortened it to...

4. Sunlight and Garlic - it's taken from the last line of the prologue, which I think is cute and (to me) the little dhampir is cute. In contrary, the story would have a lil bit of gore. Since those two things are vampires weaknesses, wonder if they'd affect a half-blood?

Suddenly I'm in love with the fourth option...

1/23/2010 #9
Mizzuz Spock

I vote for Option Four.

I really like the third one, but you're right. It's comical-sounding and, unless you're going to have humor readily present throughout the novel, then it can be a bit misleading. (I dance back between humor and omg-srs-as-a-heart-attack in my writings, so that's something that, personally, doesn't upset me...but others may not be too fond of it. xD)

I think your idea sounds great, and I can't wait to read it! :]

1/23/2010 #10
Vulpine Ninja

I'm gonna go for Option 4 then. Got no other ideas. thanks. The prologue is up. 8D I'm not sure if the summary is appealing so I leave it like that for the moment.

1/24/2010 #11
Mizzuz Spock

This is going to sound like a very strange post. Forewarning there. (Don't judge me, MMkay?)

I'm currently working on a story, and I'm in need of a title associated with love and Hitler. (Or, if neither, something in German that has something to do with choices.)

The working title right now is Heil Liebe. Which is a joke on "Heil Hitler" and Liebe is "love."

If anybody can think of something wittier or punnier, I'd be glad to hear your suggestions.

I apologize if I've offended anyone with the Hitler reference, and thank you if you can offer me titles. :]

1/25/2010 #12
Vulpine Ninja

if in German... some random German might thought "oh wow a fic in my tongue!" and get upset if it's not...? oh wait the summary is in English.. XD

"Heil Liebe" sounds good. But probably a lil bit difficult to say it out loud. What's the genre? Romance drama? Romantic comedy? sounds like the latter since you want it to be wittier and punnier. What I have in mind right now is "Heil Hit-Love"....

1/25/2010 #13
Mizzuz Spock

Hmmm. Good point. I think I'd take it in the Romantic Drama route, just because of the ending...

So maybe it should be something more serious. Good catch. xD

Heil Liebe is pronounced "Hyle Lee-buh" I think. All the German I've ever learned was from the foreign exchange student, sooooo... Yeah. xD

I do like Heil Hit-Love, though... :]

*thinks to self* Is there any way to make this a comedy...?

if in German... some random German might thought "oh wow a fic in my tongue!" and get upset if it's not...? oh wait the summary is in English.. XD

Another good point. The title doesn't really have to be in German, but I'd prefer it to be, just because of the overall story... Hmmm. And when I say it has to reference Hitler, that doesn't necessarily mean it has to have Hitler in the title. Just something that could be referenced back to him... I know this is complicated, and I apologize. xD

Thanks a bunch for helping.

1/25/2010 #14
Anise Cary

thank you all for the ideas, I suck at titles! I usually work with the main characters names as my working title and then struggle to find something better. I've changed the title of one of my stories three times since registering here

1/26/2010 #15
Mizzuz Spock

Hm. Yes. I seem to have run into another title bump.

So to recap my last couple of posts, (This is going to sound a bit odd, but whatever) I'm looking for a title that has something to do with Hitler and love, preferrably something in German, though it could just be something dealing with choices...

The working title was Heil Liebe, butI've now come across a title that I really, really like: Seven Bridges Road. However, I ran into two problems.

One: It's the title of an Eagles song, so is it okay to use it?

And two: The lyrics to the song fit the whole story theme to a T, but. The story takes place 60+ years before the song even exists. My story's plot revolves somewhat around time travel. (Though the time travel isn't the main focus of the story; it's the characters.) So...does it make sense to use it? Or should I just stick with Heil Liebe?

Or can anybody think of anything better? I appreciate any help/feedback. Thanks a bunch. :]

1/27/2010 #16
Vulpine Ninja

Actually I'm planning to do something like it myself. But I'm gonna use song titles for chapter titles, although the lyrics may not fit the whole content.

A lot of songs have the same title, and I'm sure that there are books that coincidently have the same title as the song. Then, there's a song's title which is based on a painting. Van Gogh's "Starry Starry Night". To say if it's appropriate or not, it's not my place. But if you feel bad about 'stealing' a title, don't do it. my suggestion is... take a line or any phrase from the lyrics to become a title! Anything that has the umph.

1/27/2010 #17
Mizzuz Spock

But I'm gonna use song titles for chapter titles, although the lyrics may not fit the whole content.

I'm actually trying something new for chapter titles. In fact, the story I'm working on is an experiment all in itself. o.o

Still undecided about the title of my story, but it shall forever be nicknamed "Hit-Love," thanks to you. xD

Concerning chapter titles: (Is this the appropriate place to post a question like this?)

I'm planning on doing those "In which something happens and someone finds out" kind of chapter titles. Does anybody have any opinions on that? Personally, I find them annoying, but at the same time, I'm finding it hard to name the chapters to my story and I hate just leaving them as Chapter [insert number here]. Just a pet peeve. :/

1/29/2010 #18
taerkitty

I don't see how anyone can think that inappropriate, so ask away.

I'm not sure what you mean by "in which something happenes and someone finds out" though.

1/29/2010 #19
Mizzuz Spock

Well, in some fantasy novels, the chapter titles will read like this:

"In which Hector finds an egg, Victoria gets jealous, and somebody steals the cookie from the cookie jar"

"In which the gang takes a bite out of crime and Hector's egg goes missing"

"In which an old friend returns, and the egg is not an egg after all"

So it kind of gives away what's going to happen, but then it doesn't, because it basically just tells you what's going to happen.

1/29/2010 #20
Vulpine Ninja

oh well... some titles that 'tell' you what happen might spark an interest?

So far, my chapter titles for TFA are ones I think suits the chapter, or any line from the chapter. The kinky-est chapter title evar is "One Sided Act of Pleasure" lol, I still cringe rereading that.

The story that'll use song titles as chapter titles would be a dark romance theme. Which I still have trouble plotting.

I plan to make Sunlight and Garlic's chapters a one word title. I've listed them all out. But I fear certain chapters need to break that rule. Well, I'll just have to go on with it and re-evaluate...

1/29/2010 #21
taerkitty

In my widdle-bitty-kitty mind, chapter titles mean very little. I see them as more likely a minus than a plus. A chapter work relies on the previous chapter(s) to keep the audience reading. A title will, at best, supplement the readers' enjoyment. At worst, it'll be seen as a transparent attempt to be witty.

Me, I shoot for something vague that's related to what happens in the story. Often, I take a cliched phrase and substitute a word. Other times, I just leave the cliched phrase as-is. In Foster's Gambit, here are the chapter titles so far:

- An Angel Walks into a Bar, a play on the lead-in line to many a joke, such as, "A duck walks into a bar..."

- Home is Where the Memories Are, a play on "Home is where the heart is."

- Demons Do Laundry Too, a non-cliched phrase, but one that's odd enough I hope it entices more than detracts.

- It's For You, a cliched phrase, given that this chapter is almost completely spent on the phone.

- When You Gotta Go, half of a cliched phrase, left hanging.

- You Gotta Go, the other half of the cliched phrase, to complete the thought.

- Playing God, a cliched phrase used in medical dramas where the doctor has to make a life-or-death decision. Foster faces the same dilemma.

- Renovations, another break in the trend, but again an attempt to pique the reader's curiosity.

- An Exorcise in Power, a play on the phrase, "An exercise in power."

- The Art of Misdirection, a cliched set of phrases, such as "The Art of War," "The Art of Cheating," etc.

- Ways and Means, a cliched phrase, usually made in the context of a finance committee.

- Travels and Tribulations, a play on the phrase, "Trials and tribulations."

But, let's be honest here. Of those of you who have been following Foster's, did you even remember these titles?

===

With one-shots, I may fall into the habit I started with The Human Touch and Days of Madness, where I post the Author's Notes as the second chapter. I may do that with Foster's Gambit as well, when it ends.

1/29/2010 #22
Anise Cary

coming back to this, looking at the ideas for titling work again and reading through the chapter title discussion. Only one of my pieces has chapter titles and I'm actually finding it more of a hassle than anything

oh and Kitty I did remember some of the titles from Foster's bc I remember LOL at Demons Do Laundry Too, and waiting to see You Gotta Go after the chapter When You Gotta Go, though you're right more often than not I don't remember the chapter titles of stories I read.

Actually there's been one or two stories I've read where the chapter title designates who the chapter is about which on one hand I appreciate and on the other hand makes me wonder why they do that, I mean shouldn't it be obvious who the chapter is about or who's speaking?

2/10/2010 #23
lookingwest

Actually there's been one or two stories I've read where the chapter title designates who the chapter is about which on one hand I appreciate and on the other hand makes me wonder why they do that, I mean shouldn't it be obvious who the chapter is about or who's speaking?

I have any elaborate system for INSIWB...but I figure my drop-down box has to tell people who's narrating for me, because when it's in first person it can really confuse people (Hopefully I'm in the "appreciate it" category, haha). Otherwise my chapter title that's NOT in the drop-down box is fun because it's a proverb for the shapeshifter, a song lyric for the human and a poem line for the witch...I love titles too much *sigh*

I spent about three years coming up with one for my story Vampire and The Romantics, because not only was I naming the story, but I was naming a rock band too, haha. So it had to be perfect for me :/ Took SO long, probably too long, actually...

Demons Do Laundry Too

best title ever!

2/11/2010 #24
spygirl101

try to read the vampire academy series by richelle mead, the main character is a damphir, and based on what I've read, they're not affected by garlic nor sunlight.

2/11/2010 #25
Anise Cary

Emily at least you don't start with an A/N explaining, it's just there. I think that makes it easier for me, I can just click see the character and start reading, but when someone feels the need to explain how and why they POV the way they do... Course this comes from someone who has people review that they've lost track of who's who in the middle of a chapter of Love and Secrets, something I've had to go back and rework, course I like knowing this cause it helps me improve. I'm ready to quit titling chapters on that one though bc for me it's become more of a problem than anything, I feel like I should so I spend time searching through the chapter to find the right title UGH. I just don't have a way with titles, I second guess myself on the titles I give my stories. I guess I always figured if I managed to get something published, as in a book, the company would give it a title. Yeah I'm lazy LOL

2/11/2010 #26
lookingwest

I guess I always figured if I managed to get something published, as in a book, the company would give it a title. Yeah I'm lazy LOL

I'm just the opposite! The publisher's would have to pry my titles from my cold dead hands....or a larger amount of money, XD

2/17/2010 #27
C. Tattiana H-H

Hey guys, dropping in to ask for a bit of help.

So, I started Shadows about six years ago. I wrote about four chapters before falling prey to a six-year-long Writer's Block. No joke. I recently broke down the barricade and started it up again, and the muse and I are doing just fine. Encountering a problem though. I don't like the name of it at present. Shadows was the name I had given it when I first began my writing endeavour. However, as much as I feel the title relates to some of the themes in the story, it's just not working for me. I would love to keep "shadows" in the title, but don't know how to elaborate/re-write/revise it to work better for what I have.

Hence, I am formally requesting someone to help me work this one out. You don't have to read the story – it would be cool if you did, but no sweat if you're not up to it – I just need someone to throw some other words/ideas/random sounds at me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks and well wishes,

Liana

Side note:

I have any elaborate system for INSIWB...but I figure my drop-down box has to tell people who's narrating for me, because when it's in first person it can really confuse people (Hopefully I'm in the "appreciate it" category, ha-ha). Otherwise my chapter title that's NOT in the drop-down box is fun because it's a proverb for the shapeshifter, a song lyric for the human and a poem line for the witch...I love titles too much *sigh*

Wow. It was already clear that you put a lot of thought into I Never Said I Was Brave, but I never knew to what extent. Fantastic read by the way. One of the best I've read on Fiction Press thus far.

5/8/2010 . Edited 7/23/2010 #28
MonochromePhantom
Hi :D The story I'm working on currently is about a girl named Amber who becomes good friends with a ghost girl named Yoon Mi. I have zero idea what to have for the title ^^; I'm a fail at coming up with them :/ Any help would be greatly appreciated.
3/29/2012 #29
Dodi

Great thread. I'm new here and this was the first topic I knew I wanted to address in the forum.

Titles are always a challenge and I have gone about it myself in several of the ways mentioned here.

Playing around with one now. lol

Thanks for the ideas, folks. :]

11/19/2012 #30
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