Monday, June 25, 2012

Titles - Oh, the Terror

Titles. It's something writers stress over, possibly even more than the dreaded synopsis, for if you can't create a stunning title for your written gem, it might not ever get noticed. The title is important for marketing, for recognition (so readers know it's the one their friends were going on about last week at lunch), for grabbing attention in that giant sea of titles out there.

So what's the best way to create a fantastic title?

Here's some tips:

  1. Think about what the story is about - the ideas behind it, the plot, the characters. Write down any and all words that relate to anything tied to the tale. Fill the page, or pages, with as many nouns and verbs as you can.
  2. Cross out ones that are too cumbersome, bland, overused, or otherwise not pleasant. 
  3. What's left? It might seem like a jumbled mess, but start rearranging those darling words anyway, add conjunctions, prepositions, adjectives - don't be afraid to get wild with it. Keep it simple, keep it catchy, keep it connected to something in your story. 
  4. You'll be left with a list of a few groups of words, some you'll cross off just because they don't click, others might be so-so. If you can't pick out one with a "That's it!" kind of feeling, hold on to a few good ones while you write, chances are, as the story and characters unfold, one of those options will get stronger, or change a bit to reach that point. 
A bonus step is to Google your choices to see if any other book, blog, movie, painting, or other artistic expression out there has a similar title, or the same. If so, ask yourself if you need to adjust your title or if it's good to have it similar to the other book, blog, movie - well, you get the point.

The title is often your book's first impression (its cover the second), so great care needs to be given to those first few words the world will see. It can seem like an impossible task, but if you do the steps above, use a thesaurus to make your choices more vast, have fun playing with words, you can create just the right one for the job. 


Anonymous said...

A very insightful post! A brainstorm is always a good idea, because it gets your mind going.

T.C. said...

Thank you. I do try to help get minds going.