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What makes a good title and why?

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  #31  
Old 08-14-2009, 10:56 AM
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I was talking to a friend the other day and I remember a commercial for The Time Traveler's Wife came on. I remember thinking instantly that its a bad title. But what's funny is that it didn't make me want to not read the book anymore or see the movie.

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  #32  
Old 08-20-2009, 09:18 AM
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You want a good title? This one's pretty good

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God

Belongs to some guy named Benny
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  #33  
Old 08-20-2009, 09:24 AM
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Does "Primate" have a meaning I'm unaware of?
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  #34  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:49 PM
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It might explain much of the Church's traditional opposition to evolutionary theory.
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  #35  
Old 08-25-2009, 09:28 AM
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for me, a good title captures the spirit of the work. take a look at the essence of what it is you're trying to say with what you write - what is the main point you're trying (or that you discover after you're done you were unconsciously trying) to make ... and come up with something tantalizing that captures that. short and sweet is always good. something unique that makes the reader wonder what the hell it means by arousing curiosity is also always good.
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  #36  
Old 08-25-2009, 10:08 AM
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Or not. There are plenty of major books out there with titles like "Robinson Crusoe" or "Meet Joe Black" or "Tucumcari" or "Hell's Angels".
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  #37  
Old 08-25-2009, 12:34 PM
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On the subject of titles, what's the whole copyright/trademark issue?

The original title of my novel was also the name of the fictional place in which the story takes place. Then I did a google search on that one word title and found out that an Australian gaming company has the same name.

So does this mean I can't use it for a book title? Or for the name of the fictional place, either?
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  #38  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Marx View Post
On the subject of titles, what's the whole copyright/trademark issue?

The original title of my novel was also the name of the fictional place in which the story takes place. Then I did a google search on that one word title and found out that an Australian gaming company has the same name.

So does this mean I can't use it for a book title? Or for the name of the fictional place, either?
There's entire sections of books on writing that have to do with copyright stuff, I never understood most of it. But I have seen books with the same name.
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  #39  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:02 PM
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This may help: copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf

Apparently I can't post links until I have 10 posts.
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  #40  
Old 08-25-2009, 07:39 PM
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A good title is marketable - and I use that term pretty loosely being that it relates to a lot of things. But if you want your book picked up in a shop, you'd generally want something that's intriguing, catchy and demonstrates a bit about your book (unless you're Stephen King or Dean Koontz who would sell books if they had no title haha). I don't mean that you need all those in one title to sell a book, but having one of those factors at play would definitely help.

A good example (in my opinion) is The Hunt for Red October. What's a 'Red October' and why are they hunting it? I think it's an accurate feel for the book as well (...even though I didn't particularly like it...)
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  #41  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Team 2012 View Post
Or not. There are plenty of major books out there with titles like "Robinson Crusoe" or "Meet Joe Black" or "Tucumcari" or "Hell's Angels".
true dat. but i said "for me..."
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  #42  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dogfish View Post
for me
Not a bad title for something
*
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  #43  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:53 AM
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A natcheroo for self-published book
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  #44  
Old 08-27-2009, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
Not a bad title for something
*
it could be!
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  #45  
Old 08-29-2009, 04:29 PM
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Anything that relates to the book but stands out among other titles. :P
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  #46  
Old 08-29-2009, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
There is no formula for good titles. Any more than "What makes an attractive woman and why?"
But Lin, haven't you heard about the Golden Ratio? There is indeed a formula for beauty, and it consistently displays a higher than chance success rate, which has to account for something.

Originally Posted by Lin View Post
If you're saying, "I'm a writer but can't think of a title," you should think about modifying one end or the other of that sentence.
That's the funniest thing I've read all day!

I agree that there's no formula to title writing, but a really good/awful pun always works. Take a look at the porn industry. How many millions of copies of Edward Penishands have sold on the strength of the title alone?

Pete
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Last edited by PeteMalicki; 08-29-2009 at 05:17 PM.. Reason: boo boo
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  #47  
Old 08-29-2009, 07:05 PM
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I know we're on the topic of titles, but contrary to, "Don't judge a book by it's cover.", I believe that the cover for any book or movie poster is a foundational part of any story. Even though just looking at the cover and turning it down is shallow and rude to the author who made it, think about this: You go to a bookstore and you see a new book that had a title of:
"Zirga megatonic speed"
You'd be either thinking,
"Holy ass, this title is soooo boss."
or
"What the hell was this guy on when he wrote this?"
But that's besides the point.
Well anyways, you're looking at the book and curious as to what kind of book it is, and you look at the cover. But the cover is actually a picture of happy sheeps and wolves having a tea party with rogue bears. I'd burn the book instantly.

Even though this was kind of off topic, I hope it helps...
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  #48  
Old 08-29-2009, 08:54 PM
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Wow, I'll be they LOVE to see you come into a bookstore.
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  #49  
Old 08-29-2009, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LEECH View Post
I know we're on the topic of titles, but contrary to, "Don't judge a book by it's cover.", I believe that the cover for any book or movie poster is a foundational part of any story. Even though just looking at the cover and turning it down is shallow and rude to the author who made it, think about this: You go to a bookstore and you see a new book that had a title of:
"Zirga megatonic speed"
You'd be either thinking,
"Holy ass, this title is soooo boss."
or
"What the hell was this guy on when he wrote this?"
But that's besides the point.
Well anyways, you're looking at the book and curious as to what kind of book it is, and you look at the cover. But the cover is actually a picture of happy sheeps and wolves having a tea party with rogue bears. I'd burn the book instantly.

Even though this was kind of off topic, I hope it helps...
Ever seen the movie posters for the original Star Wars in different countries?

I dare you to pick out what the Hell this means:


Or this:

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  #50  
Old 09-01-2009, 12:47 AM
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Lol, that was incredibly entertaining.

Back to titles. I'm not really sure what attracts me to titles. I have an aversion to anything with 'Vampire' On it these days. :P

However, I'm a more of a 'Book Cover' Person, I love covers far more than I love titles. When I named my story I actually used the name of a song that inspired the concept.

I've heard that you should avoid one word titles. But honestly, it should be whatever works for you IMO

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  #51  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by CTK View Post
Personally I think this one sums up Star Wars better than any other poster I've seen. What is it if not a western set in space?
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  #52  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
Personally I think this one sums up Star Wars better than any other poster I've seen. What is it if not a western set in space?
Star Wars is everything. A western, a mythological hero's journey, monsters, Japanese Samurai, medieval Knights, etc.

Han Solo is definitely a cowboy, though, and a pirate.
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  #53  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Marx View Post
Star Wars is everything. A western, a mythological hero's journey, monsters, Japanese Samurai, medieval Knights, etc.
Did you know it took its inspiration from, amongst other things, an Akira Kurosawa movie? Ironically, Kurosawa was heavily influenced by American Cinema.
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  #54  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
Did you know it took its inspiration from, amongst other things, an Akira Kurosawa movie?
Which Akira Kurosawa movie? I do faintly remember something like that. Did it have the Samurai duels? Because the Jedi-light saber duels were influenced by that, along with Darth Vader's helmet.
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  #55  
Old 09-02-2009, 07:07 AM
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I'll have to google it... Rashomon maybe?

Basically it was told from the perspective of two servants to a warlord who found themselves slaves to fortune, caught up in everyone else's conflicts. They became R2D2 and C3PO.
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  #56  
Old 09-02-2009, 07:08 AM
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Nope. Wrong. The Hidden Fortress - http://www.lovehkfilm.com/panasia/hidden_fortress.htm
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  #57  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
I'll have to google it... Rashomon maybe?

Basically it was told from the perspective of two servants to a warlord who found themselves slaves to fortune, caught up in everyone else's conflicts. They became R2D2 and C3PO.
Very interesting. I had no idea about that.
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  #58  
Old 09-02-2009, 07:45 PM
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But it doesn't have any medeival knights in it, no Japanese, and the "mythological hero journey" is either a projection or could be said about any piece of writing--an archetype is either universal or it's not.

Another thing Star Wars features heavily: *very thin plotting and characterization. * *Its main influene is really old movie serials, as is Indiana Jones' * *
Something like "Serenity" is a quick wake-up to the idea idea that a space opera like that can move a bit deeper without losing the action.
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  #59  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
But it doesn't have any medeival knights in it, no Japanese, and the "mythological hero journey" is either a projection or could be said about any piece of writing--an archetype is either universal or it's not.
...

Uh, yes, you are right, it doesn't actually have medieval knights in it, but I think you're confused. I was, of course, referring to some of its inspiration, on Jedi Knights and Luke getting his father's light saber, the light saber duels being homage to Japanese Samurai, Darth Vader's helmet, and etc. By the way, when George Lucas wrote the story he closely followed Joseph Campbell's Hero's journey myth archetype.

Last edited by Chris Marx; 09-02-2009 at 08:08 PM..
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  #60  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:31 PM
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Well, no, I don't think I'm particularly confused. * You said it contained elements it doesn't contain. * When you speak imprecisely you can't really call other confused when they respond.
The fact that Lucas read Campbell is often quoted (and half the time mention that idiot "Hero's Journey" thing instead). *I read it, too. *Doesn't mean anything I right "contains mythic heroes". *What myth? is one question you could ask yourself in case you want to do a second revision, hopefully without telling other people they're confused about your muddled attributions.


Or you might cast another eye on my comments and ask yourself: *if one mentions universal archetypes, is there really such a thing as a book that DOESN'T contain them? *It's a highly overblown fanblab about the film. *

And getting into that whole "blueprint" thing can damage a writer's mind. *Any dipshit out there selling his 34 point blueprint to writing a screenplay will quickly show you that Star Wars, Casablanca, and all other big films follow his skeleton key slavishly. **

Another film much mentioned as a Star Wars influence is "Throne of Blood", itself a re-telling of "MacBeth", by the way.
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