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How do you find a title for your story?

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How do you find a title for your story?

Postby berry » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:16 am

I am having serious trouble creating a title for my story. Almost everything sounds hackneyed, lame or unrelated. So I was wondering how others approach this.
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Postby Bread Butterbeard » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:11 am

I usually pick a theme from the said story, or what it was about, for example is my story was about needing a magial sword of Guklan then my title may be Search for the Sword Glukan, or Guklans sword
"The world you know is over Grandmaster Shard, will you stand and fight for your people, or let them slip into darkness?" Tartikoff Greenwood to Brayan James Shard

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Postby aldan » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:00 pm

Another possibility is to look at what some other (successful) authors have done...

J.R.R. Tolkein: "The Hobbit" (the name of a type of race introduced in this novel, and which is the race of the main character), "The Fellowship of the Ring" (a name for the group of characters the story ends up revolving around), "The Two Towers" (which refers to the two 'mage towers' that the characters (and specifically, two of the Hobbits in the Fellowship) end up becoming involved with at Osgiliath and Minas Tirith, and "The Return of the King" (which refers to something I can't speak of without giving too much away, but is an important thing that this novel revolves around). So, this author speaks of a race, an important group of characters, important locations, and an important event.

David Eddings' The Belgariad series: "Pawn of Prophecy" (a reference to the main character's situation), "Queen of Sorcery" (refers to both one of the new characters as well as a a non-character queen they encounter), "Magician's Gambit" (refers to the doings of a major bad guy, but also may refer to that of a major character as well...), "Castle of Wizardry" (has reference to two locations: the place where the evil god Torak is at, as well as the one at Riva), and "Enchanter's End Game" (refers to the fact that this finishes the main plotline, and also gives the reason for why the bad guy mage did what he did). This set of series titles makes a combination, each one, of a chess term and a fantasy term, giving the impression of a sort of 'game of destiny' or some such, which is sort of what the set of books is about.

Now, that's just two authors, and I'm sure that you can find more examples. Try looking in Wikipedia for different authors (use the author's name in google and then choose the Wikipedia link), and you'll find good information to help you, or at least you should....
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to open it and remove all doubt."
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Postby Grand Evander » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:27 am

When I create titles not only for works but for individual chapters, I use a personal rule of thumb. I try to have the title reference something specific to the chapter/story, usually with respect to a certain theme unique to either the chapter or the work more generally. I also include a word or two of language specific to my work to distinguish the title and make it specific to my writing. At the same time, I don't load the title with so much language specific to my world that someone who reads it will be completely lost. I feel that a title should have a fine balance between the familiar and the new for the reader, to draw them in without making the work sound inaccessible.
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Postby SirJill » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:08 am

Good titles usually just come.

Sometimes they take a little prodding, and may evolve. Take an aspect of your story, and put it into three or so words.

Jill Demonstrates:

At Any Price

It Depends on What You Pay

(And yet, none of these tied to the musical aspect of the story so, finally:)

A Trade in Ivory

And the Final Title:
Merchants in Ivory
"I want to sit down, every day at my piano and write a song that people will listen to and remember. And do the same thing--for the rest of my life."

--Johnny Can't Decide, Tick, tick...Boom! by Jonathan Larson
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Postby RHFay » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:52 am

Hello all!

Sometimes the title comes first, as in the idea that you then write your story around. At least, that's how it often works for me.

Definitely pick a word or phrase that sums up the theme of your piece. Think to yourself, what is this story all about? Then try to put that in a word or phrase.

Cheers!
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.
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Postby Violanthe » Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:03 pm

I'm terrible at titles, and the further I get into a story the worse off I am, so I always try to pick titles very early on whenever possible.
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Postby Talon Sinnah » Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:52 pm

The easiest way is finding something to use from the story. Sometimes it can be about a small fact that will start small but end up a major plot theme.
I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the Soul. The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

-Walt Whitman-
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Postby Spiderkeg » Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:20 am

I tend to label my stories after the major setting (planet, land, kingdom, etc.) or after the major artifact (magic sword, magic ring, magic book). Some authors like to use phrases which give some vague depiction of the story's theme (Pawn of Prophecy) but I tend to stay away from such methods, as they often come out sounding like some knock-off movie sequel or video game sequel.
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Postby Magus » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:02 am

I'm the opposite of Violanthe on this one. I may not wait until I'm finished writing, but I do wait until I'm finished plotting, and don't bother with how far into writing it I am.

Some titles can be used to describe the character (ie The Wayfarer, The Half-Orc, The Necromancer, etc...), while others describe elements of the plot or setting (ie In the Dreams of the Dragon, Aberration, Nocturne, The Marauding Dead, etc...) and others just sound cool (Daemon Lore, Faery Lore, etc...). I find that the latter two end up being the best, while a the same time giving me more trouble than the first. Still, for me at least, they seem to come pretty naturally, and not too long after I've plotted the story.
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Postby Spiderkeg » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:39 pm

Magus wrote:Some titles can be used to describe the character (ie The Wayfarer, The Half-Orc, The Necromancer, etc...), while others describe elements of the plot or setting (ie In the Dreams of the Dragon, Aberration, Nocturne, The Marauding Dead, etc...) and others just sound cool (Daemon Lore, Faery Lore, etc...).

I gotta admit... "The Marauding Dead" just sounds tasty as a title. :wink:
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Postby Magus » Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:11 pm

Thanks.

:skull1: :mrgreen: :skull1:
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