Tag Archives: titles

Authors Answer 141 – Choosing a Title

How can something so simple-looking be so difficult? The title may only be a few words, but it’s very important, especially if it’s to be memorable and eye-catching. A book could go through several titles before the final one is chosen. How do we choose our titles?

Question 141 – How do you come up with the title of your stories?

Gregory S. Close

Things that I think are important in a chapter/story/novel title:  double-meanings, turns of phrase, foreshadowing, and (if at all possible) a pun.  For example, one chapter in In Siege of Daylight is called Storms and Wards.  The title is literal, in that there is a storm involved, and magic (wards).  But there’s a bit of double meaning here, because there’s also a bit of conversation about conflict and politics, and the conversation is between a Master Bard and our hero, an Apprentice Bard (his ward, in a sense, kind of like Robin to Batman, but less grim and with more singing).

Other chapters have a lot more symbolism and/or foreshadowing, some a lot less, but I like to slip it in there when I can.

Cyrus Keith

Sometimes out of the clear blue skies, a phrase drops on me like an anaconda and won’t let go (“Hush Little Baby,” “The Next Fool But One“). Sometimes, I look at the overall theme of the story, and the title is a reference to that (“Becoming NADIA‘”, “The Long, Hard Ride to Midnight“). I keep a spreadsheet for title ideas, and one for story ideas. Sometimes I match them up, and sometimes they just kind of stay on their own.

Linda G. Hill

Titles are the hardest thing for me. They are borne of brain-numbing torture most of the time. Only twice has a title come to me easily. In the first case, the title was the inspiration for my first novel – Trixie in a Box (yet unpublished), and the second is a memoir I’m working on about my life as a hearing woman mothering a Deaf son, which will be entitled Don’t Talk with Your Hands Full!

D. T. Nova

I just think about it until I have a title that both means something important to the theme and also sounds good to me, with a tendency toward simple titles.

Paul B. Spence

Painfully. This is really the only part I struggle with. I usually try to name them something that will evoke a certain emotion from the reader, which still somehow relates to the story without giving the plot away. The working title is rarely the one I end up using.

C E Aylett

At some point in the writing process, several drafts down. Most often, anyway. Something will just crop up from the story that hits me as appropriate. Or something connected to the theme.

Beth Aman

I don’t usually stress too much about this.  Sometimes I find a cool line somewhere later in the book, or a cool concept.  I like it to be somewhat related to the plot, but also sometime that conveys what type of story it’s going to be.  I dunno. They just appear.

Jean Davis

My titles seem to just happen. I found that if I need to have a title, it’s a torture session and everything I come up with will be awful. I’ve had a title before I started writing once. Most often they hit me while writing, when a word, theme, or phrase catches my attention. Otherwise, the file is the name of the MC until the first round of edits, which is the other point that title ideas tend to hit me.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

So far my naming conventions have been extremely straightforward. I tend to simply describe a key aspect of the story. In “Nowhere to Hide“, for instance, the main characters are constantly finding that they can’t hide from the looming horror no matter how hard they try. “The Other World” is literally about an “other world”, and early in it’s life it was called “Parallels“, because it was about a parallel world. A short story that I wrote for a competition was called “Pool of Diamonds” because the key scene has the main character kneeling in a puddle, surrounded by diamonds. In retrospect, describing my “method” this way sounds terribly lacking in creativity, but I feel the straightforward approach has worked for the works I’ve written so far.

H. Anthe Davis

I am a title-hoarder.  I have a file in my story folder that just collects title ideas — little words and phrases that pop into my head or that I hear somewhere, like in a song, that stick with me and gestate an idea in my mind.  When I’m titling novels or chapters, I reference that list to see what best fits.  If nothing does, I look at the overall theme of the novel: what sort of mood or philosophy am I most leaning toward in it?  My first book, The Light of Kerrindryr, got that (possibly hampering) title because the main character is conflicted in his understanding of the Light, which he worships.  Is he truly following the Light he knew back home (in Kerrindryr), or is this some different, twisted version of the Light he’s succumbed to in his travels abroad?  This isn’t ever explicitly stated, but it’s a conflict in him throughout the book, and so it became the title.  Other titles in the series have referenced key events or important objects (The Splintered Eye for an event/creature, The Living Throne for an object/….creature, etc).  I also try to make sure that the covers resonate with the title, because I’m picky like that.

Eric Wood

First, I’ll come up with a working title, usually based on the plan I have in my head. Then I start writing. If the title still matches the piece, I keep it. Otherwise, I’ll retitle it to be a creative interpretation of the story or blog post. I try to keep it mysterious, yet comprehensible enough so readers have an idea of what to expect. Like good lingerie, something needs to be left to the imagination.

Jay Dee Archer

This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of writing for me. The story, characters, and setting are easy by comparison. I go through several titles, usually. But sometimes one sticks out that I feel I really need to use. For my Ariadne series, the web serial is called Journey to Ariadne because it chronicles the preparation and journey to the planet Ariadne. The first novel is likely to be titled The Knights of Ariadne, and it has a double meaning. The family name of one of the colony’s main families is Knight. But also, it can mean warriors. As for the series about the old man traveling through the solar system, I have no title ideas yet. And a fantasy series I have planned is tentatively called The Fractured Lands, but that may change.

Quite often, the title will come early on, but I won’t always stick with it. It can be an inspiration for the story, though. There could also be something in the story as I write it that becomes the title.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you choose a title for your books? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Making a YouTube Channel More Attractive

I’ve just started doing the Get Discovered course on YouTube’s Creator Academy. And one thing stood out: it’s incredibly easy to verify your account! Now that I have a verified account, a lot more things are available to me. One of the most important things is custom thumbnails.

You see, I’m trying to make my channel and videos more attractive to people. This includes things like using appropriate tags, making straight-to-the-point video descriptions, attractive titles, and custom thumbnails. There’s one thing I’ve already added, and that’s a watermark. You’ll notice it on the lower right-hand corner of my videos, and if you hover over it, you can go to or subscribe to my channel.

I still have a lot more to go through in the course, but another thing I have planned is to get all of my videos sorted into playlists, and have them available on my channel, so the latest videos in each series are easily found.

Studying about improving my channel and videos has been very interesting. I’m going to do a lot more to maximize the potential of my channel. Of course, I’ll keep making videos. But don’t worry, I’ll be spending more time on writing than on videos. Writing is my number one priority.

If you have a YouTube channel, why not share it in the comments below?

Do Book Covers Matter to You?

When you’re looking through a bookstore, seeing if there are any interesting books to buy, the cover is one of the first things you notice. But is it really that important when you decide whether to buy a book or not? What about eBooks? Does the cover matter?

I find I don’t look at the cover so much as I read the book’s back cover description for eBooks. I often look at covers for print books, though. But I always go to the back cover to read it. Often, the title is what attracts me to it. If it’s by an author I like, the cover usually doesn’t matter at all.

What about you? What’s the most important thing for you when you buy a print book and an eBook? Let me know in the comments below.

Disney Titles in Japanese

Sometimes literal translations don’t work well in other cultures.  You often get changes because the original English title doesn’t translate well or doesn’t make much sense.  Here’s a sample of shows from Disney Junior and some Disney movies.

Handy Manny

In Japanese, it’s おたすけマニー.  That’s Otasuke Manny. That translates as Helper Manny.

Special Agent Oso

In Japanese, it’s きんきゅうしゅつどう隊 OSO. That’s Kinkyuushutsudotai OSO. This translates as Emergency Dispatch Corps OSO.

Winnie-the-Pooh

In Japanese, it’s クマのプーさん. That’s Kuma no Puusan. This translates as Pooh the Bear.  Interesting how his name is now Pooh, rather than Winnie-the-Pooh.

Doc McStuffins

In Japanese, it’s ドックはおもちゃドクター. That’s Doc wa Omocha Doctaa. This translates as Doc is a Toy Doctor.

Gaspard and Lisa

In Japanese, it’s リサとガスパール. That’s Lisa to Gaspard. This is confusing me, because all they did was reverse the names. Now it’s Lisa and Gaspard.

Sofia the First

In Japanese, it’s ちいさなプリンセス ソフィア. That’s Chiisana Purinsesu Sofia. That translates as Little Princess Sofia.

Little Einsteins

This is such a minor change.  In Japanese, it’s basically just Little Einstein.

101 Dalmatians: The Series

In Japanese, this is 101匹わんちゃん. That’s Hyakuippiki Wanchan. That translates as 101 Puppies.

Frozen

Finally, we have last year’s Disney movie that was incredibly popular here in Japan.  The Japanese title was アナと雪の女王. This is Ana to Yuki no Jou.  That translates as Anna and the Snow Queen.

My daughter loves the song Ready Go from Frozen, sung by Adele Dazeem…

See what I did there?

Week One of the A to Z Challenge

I’ve been doing a bit of planning for the challenge so far, and I’ve decided that each subsequent story will have something to do with the previous part.  So, the B story will have something to do with the A story, and the C story has something to do with the B story, and so on.  I even have the first four days planned with story ideas.

I also decided to let you know the titles of the first week’s stories.  There are only four days before the first Sunday break, so only A to D have been titled.  Here they are:

  • The Artist
  • The Botanist
  • The Carpenter
  • The Doctor

So, how would these characters connect?  In fact, A has nothing to do with C, while B has nothing to do with D.  Some of these characters may never meet, but there is some connection between them.

The A story is coming on Wednesday.

How Do You Choose a Title?

I was trying to think of something snappy and creative for the title of this post. I failed, didn’t I? But that’s okay. This simple and direct title does its job. However, you can’t do that for a book.

The first things people see when they look at a book are the cover and title. Obviously, the cover needs to be eye catching. The title needs to be memorable.

I’ve seen so many titles that are so simple that they’re forgettable. Or they sound the same as others. It’s difficult to think of a great title.

For my short story series, I’ll be using planet names, but I need them to sound different than Ben Bova’s titles. I’ll use the planet names in combination with other words that are relevant to the story. But how do I decide?

So, for those of you who write, how do you choose a title?

Untitled. Where’s that Title?

Earlier today, I was going through Goodreads and was thinking about how authors come up with titles for their books.  I find it to be one of the most difficult things to do, besides actually finishing the book.

I’ve seen some titles that are rather generic looking, which is unfortunate.  They’re not memorable.  I’ve seen some that make little to no sense to me when I see the book cover.  However, those ones make sense once I read the book.

So, where does the title come from?  When is the book given a title?  To answer the second question, I guess it depends.  I’ve already got a title for my first book, but have no idea what to do about the titles for my trilogy.  My short story that I’m writing for Camp NaNoWriMo has a provisional title that I may stick with.  As for the first question, let’s look at a few methods I’ve observed.

First is the straightforward title.  This kind describes the book in the simplest terms.  It basically tells us what it is.  For example, The Hobbit tells us it’s about a hobbit.  It’s that easy.

Second, there’s the title that takes an important element of the story, often some important object.  For this example, it could be The Sword of Shannara.

Next, the title could describe some concept that’s mentioned in the book.  It’s something that plays an important part in the story.  An example is Wizard’s First Rule.

And then there’s the title that makes very little sense unless you actually read the book.  Often, the title comes from something that is said.  For example, Angel Fire East.

These are just some types of titles I can think of on short notice.  As for my stories in progress, they’re two different types.  Journey to Ariadne is the first type.  It’s straightforward and it tells you exactly what it is.  The short story I’m working on, Fractured, is the third type.  It’s an important concept that will be revealed in the story.

How do you think of titles?  And do you have any suggestions for other title categories?  Let me know in the comments.

In an odd twist, as I was thinking about what to say for this post, I saw that someone else wrote about the same topic less than 2 hours ago.  So, if you’d like to check out what he says, definitely go see it.  It’s an interesting post to read.