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  #1  
Old 03-19-2012, 08:32 PM
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Recently I started wondering what the trickiest thing about writing fiction is. I myself have a myriad of difficulties, but one of the most frustrating is concocting a good title to go with my work. Because of the very nature of a title, it must say so much with so little.

So here's my real question: Is coming up with a title difficult for you guys? What are some methods or resources you've gone to in the past, and are there any titles you've devised that you're particularly proud of?

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Old 03-20-2012, 12:55 AM
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Usually titles for me are so easy to come up with! They're the least worrisome thing about writing. Well, with the exception of one, but I'd since resolved that. So, no real formula to how I come up with things; they usually just pop into my head. *shrug*

Yes, I do have a title I'm particularly proud of: The Deeper the Lust, the Sweeter the Flesh. 'Bout a "damsel in distress" who, with the help of her dragon soul-mate, eats womanizing men.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:19 AM
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Opposite for me, I generally get a title idea first and that may include a major character, a scene, or just an idea or concept. My problem is fleshing that out into an appropriate and effective story.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:37 AM
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For me, it all depend on the plot - so I have to come up with a plot, then the title always come easier.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:03 AM
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I am really bad at finding the right tittle for my work. Nine out of ten times some-one else comes up with the right tittle for me. I just go with a working tittle until the whole thing is done and then worry about the right name for the baby. Eventually things work out fine.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:20 AM
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Usually the title hits me right in the middle of what I'm writing... and I have to jot it down really fast or I lose it completely. If I don't have that flash of inspiration someone else always comes up with a name.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:16 PM
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I haven't come up with a title for my novel either. A friend of mine proposed a few silly ones that had nothing to do with anything but we were just drinking and goofing off. I figure a title is the least of my worries, I gotta finish the damn thing first.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
Usually titles for me are so easy to come up with! They're the least worrisome thing about writing. Well, with the exception of one, but I'd since resolved that. So, no real formula to how I come up with things; they usually just pop into my head. *shrug*

Yes, I do have a title I'm particularly proud of: The Deeper the Lust, the Sweeter the Flesh. 'Bout a "damsel in distress" who, with the help of her dragon soul-mate, eats womanizing men.
I will say that I quite enjoy the premise of that story. Any fiction where womanizers get what they deserve is a refreshing escape for me. Your title seems good, too. Very cool.

I should mention that titles aren't the most difficult part of writing. They're just very tricky. Finding that right set of words can be a challenge.

The most creative one that I've come up with is probably The Midnight Flare. It's a modern noir story about a newly minted detective who hunts a nocturnal arsonist through 1948 Philadelphia. Personally, I thought it was pretty cheesy, but my sweetheart insisted it was awesome, and she reads like it's her job, so I trust her judgment.

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Old 03-22-2012, 09:12 AM
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Unless you're self-pubbing, any title you come up with is only a working title. Publishers nearly always specify in their contracts that final title choice is theirs.

Natch, it doesn't hurt to have a spiffy title when shopping your opus. It may tweak an agent's or pub's interest. Just don't fall in love with it. It will quite likely change before hitting bookstore racks.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:52 PM
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Titles come to me when they are ready, it's like a name. Sometimes before the book is written I have the title already at hand, other times the title doesn't manifest itself until the book has finished, or middle way through. I've learned that patience, letting things spring as they come, rather than forcing them. Sometimes the titles seem random to me at first, but then I realize that the title makes complete sense. That's usually what I go with. There was one time I struggled at a title, but I stopped worrying about it and when the time came, the title came with it.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:59 AM
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Titles usually come to me easy enough. If it's not there when I begin writing, it usually surfaces in my mind within a few chapters. Rarely do I complete a first draft without finding a permanent title.

I think my favorite title I've ever used, though, was The Austrian Lie. The premise is still a secret. It's the one story I don't share because it's the only one I believe stands a chance at publication.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:38 AM
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I need some kind of working title from the very start, but usually as I write it changes as the story grows. For that reason I really don't worry much about it at first. By the end the final working title has usually grown on me and I keep that.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Ravenius View Post
Titles come to me when they are ready, it's like a name. Sometimes before the book is written I have the title already at hand, other times the title doesn't manifest itself until the book has finished, or middle way through. I've learned that patience, letting things spring as they come, rather than forcing them. Sometimes the titles seem random to me at first, but then I realize that the title makes complete sense. That's usually what I go with. There was one time I struggled at a title, but I stopped worrying about it and when the time came, the title came with it.
Having just miraculously come across a nifty title for one of my latest "novels-in-progress," I'll have to say I really agree with this. Most of the solid titles that I've concocted have come to me when the time is right.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:07 AM
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I always look to what has been done in the past, especially in regards to the specific genre the story is written in. If in doubt you could always just follow classic examples such as:
A) The name of the proatgonist - Emma, Madame Bovary, David Copperfield etc.
B) The name and main plot - Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets etc.
C) The theme - Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Atonement etc.
D) The setting - Mansfield Park, Twenty thousand leagues under the sea etc.
E) A quotation - Far from the madding crowd, For whom the bell tolls etc.
These ideas are discussed in How Novels Work by John Mullan.
Hope that helps.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:43 PM
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Coming up with a title for my book wasn't that difficult. I came up with three titles for my books- Thorns of life, The Promised Land, Thorns of a Thief. I ended up picking Thorns of a Thief based on what my book is about. My book is about a young boy who witnessed genocide in his village in the Sudan. He was kidnapped by the rebels, sold as a slave, escaped and made it to USA.
So for my title, Thorns Of A Thief translates to the obstacles of life being thorns in my characters life.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:43 PM
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Titles usually come easy to me as well. I'm plotting a series of trilogies, all set in the same world, with characters that "cameo" in and out of each--and I have all but one of them named, and have had for years. The current trilogy I'm writing is titled both thematically and alliteration-ally, while the others are titled thematically and rhythmically. It's writing them now that's the hard part!
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:03 PM
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Oftentimes I find titles only come to me when I know--truly know--the essence of my story. When I've got the plot down, the characters down, when I begin writing it, when I begin experimenting with styles and techniques to tell the story--that's when the title usually tiptoes into my mind.

I don't have a particular method. I write first and wait for the title to come to me. If it doesn't, I revise the story, because something's wrong. Repeat.

Titles I am proud of:

Mere Refractions (a play with phonetics and physics): a collection about living life and nearing death and ultimately, being human.
365: one of the stories from Mere Refractions. 365 one-way conversations, faded pictures, scribbled journal entries, unsent letters, and angry texts following a college student's suicide.
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