Titles: Elusive Prey or Staring You in the Face?

I apologize for the silence of late, everyone: between continuing to think on ideas for NaNo and causing havoc on Grand Theft Auto v, I haven’t been giving this blog its due. So let’s change that with today’s topic: titles.

Ah, titles. The selling point of your novel. The eye catch. The word or group of words that will make a prospective reader think, Hmm. This looks interesting. I might want to read that.

Whether the story is original or fanfiction, a title is a very personal thing. Books are like children; you don’t want to send them to school with a name that doesn’t fit them, or ends up costing you years in therapy. It should reflect what the story is about, be it on a grand scale or directly associated with a character.  There is no scripted, right or wrong way to title a written work. In fact, I can almost guarantee that book titles we know today probably entered the world under a completely different moniker. Renegade was Key of the Xabeldi for years. A title can be as much a balance as a means to point the way. Or, if you’re looking to capitalize on concepts like foreshadowing or irony, it can be a curve ball to throw the reader off, or a cleverly disguised clue. Whatever best works for the story.

I bring this up because one of the pages I follow on Facebook, Writers Write, recently posted a guide to titles: Eight Points To Consider When You Name Your Book  I personally disagreed with the suggestions the article presented, but I don’t think looking to outside inspiration is bad, either. I’ve used songs more often than not for my titles (music is a huge part of my writing process, a topic I plan to expand on in another entry) I’m of the opinion that a true title will be born within the story itself. Again, it doesn’t always happen. I think all the planets have to be aligned, you need to be wearing the right color, and come up with it as the right time of day/year– at least, that’s how it seems for me. Titles, like summaries, have proven somewhat difficult for me. Granted, I don’t fret over a title as much as a summary. But in a perfect world, I’d have the summary, title and story written without breaking a sweat.

Bottom line is don’t worry if your bouncing baby remains unnamed during those early stages of creation. He just might tell you his name.

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