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    I cannot write them, which is why my various works (not really anything) have all had these “working titles” that kept changing.

    Any tips on coming up with a good title? What do you think is a good title?


    I have trouble with this too actually, unless a title just comes to me. I know that I’ve seen a lot of books that use song lyrics for titles, and then there’s the naming-it-after-the-main-character title. If you can sort of think about what a theme in the book/story is, then you can try to draw off of that.


    I know I’ve seen a lot of books that use song lyrics for titles

    Guilty. :D

    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2009

    If it’s a series, a sort of running theme could work for the titles (like Andrew Clements’s Things Not Seen/Things Hoped For/Things That Are series).


    Or like Among the Hidden/Among the Imposters/Among the Betrayed, etc.

    I like series with themed titles.


    Then you know whether it’s part of the series or not. (On an unrelated note, if you’re writing a series that is supposed to be read in a certain order, it irks me to no end when it’s not made clear which book is what number in the series.)


    I know I’ve seen a lot of books that use song lyrics for titles

    My problem is that I’d feel hackish. I have this odd habit of avoiding anything that is too derivative—not that I’m against the use of song lyrics for novel titles.

    I like series with themed titles.

    I second this.


    Not necessarily titles. Lyrics are at least a little less hackish then titles. If you used song lyrics, I would suggest that the song, or at the that line of the song, should have something to do with the overall theme of the story.

    Ex: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    Portion of Rhyme/Song: One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

    Anyway, you could always be extremely enigmatic with your title, or you could have a very long and odd sounding title that makes people go, “Hmmm, that’s sounds interesting.”


    Crap, I meant song lyrics for titles. I’m sorry.


    ‘Tis okay. I was just clarifying. Your point still stands though. I can see the hackishness of this technique if executed poorly.

    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2009
    Unification is good but something brief that catches the eye is good. Just no 'the (insert common noun)'. There are thousands of books like this and I cannot stomach any more.

    Yeah, I don’t care so much for “the (insert common noun)” either. They are very overdone.

    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2009
    throwing an adjective in there does not improve things either.

    Haha, no, it does not.


    In your opinion/opinions, what is a good title?


    Well, sometimes lines from the book can make meaningful titles.

    Or did you want a specific example?


    A specific example would be nice, but your reply was also helpful.


    I like adjectives, abstract nouns and names as titles. Whenever I write something I always think of the title after I finish. One thing though, I really dislike it when people put a philosophical sounding title to a book and then there’s one irrelevant scene that explains the title. Really irks me. ;)

    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2009

    I haven’t really thought about a title for my WIP... But I think of it as “my brothers story” because it’s about some brothers, so when I do get around to really thinking about a title, it’ll probably have “Brothers” somewhere in it.


    Okay, an example of a title that I like…

    Full Tilt- it’s about an evil amusement park. The name just sort of fits it.


    I don’t know if it’s a good book, but I do admit that the title is intriguing.


    I like the title, and I prefer the first cover.

    The book I was talking about:


    I think A Game of Thrones is an awesome title. Suggests intrigue, political power play, etc., so you know right away what’s going down.

    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2009



    @ Neurotic Platypus – I have the edition with the first cover and I agree.

    Full Tilt does look interesting.

    • CommentTimeOct 28th 2009

    Yeah, a title needs to say a lot about a story without being a whole paragraph. It needs to sum up the central theme/focus of a story- so a story focused on an amusement park would be named “Full Tilt”, both to speak of the amusement park and to hint that it’s going to be a nonstop sort of book. (I haven’t read it, so I’m just assuming this all from the title/front cover.) “Speak” (a great book, by the way!) is completely focused on speaking- specifically, the reasons why the narrator isn’t. The book also has themes about communication and whatnot, which the title also implies. So the title sums up the central focus of the book, while implying something about the themes.


    a great book


    But yeah, it’s offputting when you pick up a book with a sci-fi sounding cover to discover that it’s really a pulpy romance or something.

    • CommentTimeOct 28th 2009

    That’s true, too… it has to fit the style of your book. “Speak” is nice and generic, but a title like “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me” just wouldn’t fit a serious story that grapples with the underlying issues of human psychology or something. It’s just got to be a short, humorous story.


    Something that annoys me in titles of fantasy books is that it’s always ‘The ______ of _______’.


    Yeah, I see what you mean there.

    I don’t know whether I mentioned this before, but the shorter (and the more unique-looking, I guess) the title, the more likely to grab the attention of a reader.


    Ah, coming up with titles… the one thing i am absolutely horrible at

    Here are some:
    The Bloodline Chronicles
    Chronicles of the Future
    The Fallen
    Grey Wolf
    The Chronicles of the Nether Wars
    Chronicle of the dark cursed blade Nagflar, ‘he who touches it shall be cursed’ (Yes its that long )(It’s a cancelled/throwaway story btw)

    And yes, i am a sucker for the word ‘Chronicles’

    What are you’re thoughts on titles that are in a foreign, possibly dead, language? (e.g. Latin, Greek, French, etc.)


    @ ^^

    IMO its fine as long as the language itself is used within the book (be it spoken, used for naming purposes, etc.)
    Otherwise, having a title in French while everything within the book is in english is well, strange

    And to pull up an example of naming using a foreign language i bring forth Brisingr
    The word itself is used a good bit in the book itself and Norse is used in the book (as the ‘ancient language’)


    I was thinking of The Ascendancy Chronicles for my overarching story. (I like splitting things into parts.)

    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2009
    hate to be a total douche but adding 'chronicles' to stuff is kinda cliche.
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2009

    “Ascendancy” is a nice word, though. Titles that use an unusual or unique word always grab my attention.


    I know, I wasn’t completely happy with ‘Chronicles’, because it raises Narnia associations for me, but I couldn’t think of anything else.

    I do like the word ‘Ascendancy’, though. Plucked it out of a song because it sounded cool, and then realized that it really fit my story. :D

    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2009

    I’d go with ‘Ascention’, but that’s just me.

    • CommentAuthorRocky
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2009
    I'm massively picky about titles. Many times I won't even bother reading the back of a cover to a book with a cheesy or trite title. I like titles that are simple and direct, but are attached to stories that have that title meaning woven through it. But the titles of my stories are very important. They have to grab you.

    One of my favorite titles of all time is _Jurassic Park_. It's impossible to not have your curiosity piqued by that.
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2009

    I finally came up with a title for the story I’m using for NaNoWriMo: Weapon of War

    It’s probably been used hundreds of times, but I’m just using it because it fits with the story.


    @ Lala:

    Okay, for Chronicles of the Future, I’ll make an exception. I just hate it when its all symbolic, like ‘The Sword of Strength’. XP


    I like Yamato Monogatari for my supertitle.

    What I really don’t like is “___________ Saga.” My distaste is partly based on Twilight, but there was also this one jackass in my CW class who named his asstacular short story “Genetic [something or other that I forgot]: Part One of the Cirrus Saga” or something equally pretentious/contrived.


    How bad is “An Age of Flying Machines [and Ice Walkers]?”

    I swear, I will change it, but on a badness scale of one to ten, ten being “It makes babies and men cry” and one being “It sounds bad,” what is it?

    @ sansafro – What does it mean?


    It sounds, at first glance, like an encyclopaedia on the history of flight. If you add in the “And Ice Walkers” that makes it more intriguing, but also a bit long. I can’t say whether it makes men and babies cry, but it didn’t make me cry. It’s not the most catchy title, either, though.

    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2009
    Just call it "Makes Men And Babies Cry."
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2009 edited

    Basically it’s just Yamato(the name of the Japan knock-off country) Story/Tale/whatever. It’s not very creative, but it’s a common way to phrase historical stories( Genji Monogatari, Heike Monogatari, etc.)


    And yes, i am a sucker for the word ‘Chronicles’

    Beats the heck out of “saga.”


    I like ‘sequence’. ‘Saga’ isn’t that bad. It just had the misfortune to be attached to Twilight. But I like the word.

    In my view, the only thing that can get away with ‘Chronicles’ is Narnia.


    Here Abide Monsters
    I think that is a good title.
    His Majesty’s Dragon
    I picked that one up because of the title.


    I came up with Screamer for the title of my short story about an angel, but the most impressive title I’ve seen is probably Heaven’s Net is Wide by Lian Hearn.


    What about ‘cycle’?


    I find “cycle” to be meh.

    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009

    I just don’t like ‘saga’, ‘chronicles’, ‘cycle’, ect.


    I think I prefer the similar titles for a series of books, and I really just prefer the word “series” to all of it synonyms. But that’s just me…


    “Series” sounds pleasantly professional to me.

    “Cycle” makes me think of two things.

    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009

    “Series” sounds pleasantly professional to me.



    “Trilogy” can be okay, so long as it actually stays a trilogy.

    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
    But the possibility of finishing the thing in two or four books is pretty strong unless you know exactly what you're doing so perhaps the similar names discussed earlier are the best idea.

    But if it sounds cliched or trite, then it’s stupid too.

    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009

    “Trilogy” can be okay, so long as it actually stays a trilogy.

    A la Inheritance “Cycle” and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    Speaking of which! My calc teacher has this gorgeous leather-bound copy of H2G2! I was very excited. /offtopic


    I like pretty much any title that
    1) Doesn’t make me laugh
    2) Doesn’t remind me of a ton of other stories
    3) Doesn’t use a name I had thought out for a book and turn into a teenage girl’s (or adult’s for that matter >_<) wet dream [ throws dart at Twilight poster Friend: Hey! Throw the darts at the board and not my sister’s cupboard!! Me: Grrrr…. ]


    Doesn’t use a name I had thought out for a book

    Does that mean you wanted to name a book Twilight?

    Doesn’t make me laugh

    Well, sometimes this is okay if the title was obviously meant to be funny, but if it’s an accident, it’s just irksome.


    Hey, Twilight is not a bad name for a novel. Until it was ruined. :(

    But I think I might use ‘cycle’ for mine, because I guess it is about how people rise into and fall from power. (ie Ascendancy). And that is kind of a cycle, right? Does that remind people too much of Inheritance?

    (Actually, Inheritance is not a bad name for a series either. Until it was ruined.)


    Hey, Twilight is not a bad name for a novel.

    I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I just wanted clarification is all. It would be a fine name, but unfortuately, one person ruined it for the whole bunch.

    I think “cycle” is okay. It all depends…


    “Cycle” makes me think of cycles in medical terms.

    Well, “Twilight” is kind of vague to me. It is a fine name, but it isn’t very helpful in telling about the story, I think. But maybe it could have been pulled off. I doubt anyone will use it now.


    I think Twilight has a cool title, although it pisses me off that it’s attached to the series we know and love.


    I think Twilight has a cool title

    Agreed. The word itself has absolutely NOTHING to do with the book, but it’s a nice and simple title.


    I guess it’s atmospheric. You imagine something a little darker, and not sunshine bunnies (although Twilight kind of cheats because there are sparkles).


    “Cycle” makes me think of Wheel of Time for some reason, but i like cycle more than saga or series…

    And yeah, i wanted to name a story ‘Twilight’
    And its pretty much around an alternate world where a crazed angel’s failed attempt at creating humanity are stored, oh and the alternate earth is called ‘The Twilight’
    And the MC’s soul is the key to the twilight
    And a few creatures from the twilight (vamps, werewolves, etc.) exist in secret among us
    And it was based in Industrial revolution era europe
    And it has secret societies (Illuminati , etc. with strong strange twists)
    And there is magic
    And those are a lot Ands


    And I think you should name it Twilight anyway, because your series sounds so much more awesomer!

    “Trilogy” can be okay, so long as it actually stays a trilogy.

    hey. Don’t knock Douglas Adams!



    That series sounds awesome. You could still call it Twilight maybe. It might even get you more business because they would associate it with Smeyer, but then they would read it and realize how much more awesome it was. =)

    hey. Don’t knock Douglas Adams!

    I don’t know who that is…. I was knocking PaoPao.


    I think you ought to call it Twilight, anyway.


    At least your Twilight title would have something to do with the novel. I really want to read this series now, Lalaland.


    I don’t know who that is

    He wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


    Speaking of titles, that’s a very interesting and catchy one.


    hey. Don’t knock Douglas Adams!

    To be honest, I thought the series lost its charm during So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.

    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2009

    Have you read it? Because you need to. Everyone does. :)

    (even if you just read the first three, which are the best ones IMO)


    I think I only read the first one, and perhaps the second one too. In any case, I forget what happens.


    He wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    Oh. I’ve only seen the movie, which was slightly dumb, but also amusing at times.

    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009

    Read the books. They’re much much better. The extended whale scene alone is worth it.

    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009

    Seeing that movies in theaters was great. My entire family detested it and found it extremely stupid and pointless, and I was the only one who loved it.
    Then I read the book (but not the rest of the series).

    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009

    but not the rest of the series

    Then that is a thing that you must now do.


    Well, I’m on book 2, but let’s get back on topic, here.


    I’ve only watched the movie but I’m itching (desperately) to read the book(s)

    And back on topic…
    I tend to (sadly) shy away from books with derivative sounding titles, like “The Dark Tower” (the moment i read that title i thought “Sounds like I’ve read it before”)
    I like catchy names which may sound weird (dunno why I like the name “Spine of the World”, just sounds interesting)
    In that sense I like titles that are connected to the content in ANY way (e.g. say a book is named “The Swan’s Song” and its about somebody’s last mission/quest/journey)

    Oh, and i loved the movie for its sheer random, silly creative funniness (an incredible change from the over-perverted and extra-vulgar sex/love comedies… I’m beginning to hate THEM! I’m honestly tired of sex jokes themselves >_> )

    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009

    You didn’t read the Dark Tower series?!? They tie together just about everything Stephen King’s ever writen!

    Anyway, I’m listening to this podcast novel series (the second book just started) with great titles. The series is called The Antithesis Progression (hey, another good term to use for a series), the first book is Predestination and Other Games of Chance, and the new one is Free Will and Other Compulsions.


    Wow, those are really great titles!

    ‘Progression’ sounds a bit more sci-fi than what I’m trying to go for, though.

    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009

    Well, it is a sci-fi series.


    I have a very generic title for a short story I’ve just finished: Christina and the Waiter.

    My alternate title was Candyman, but considering the Christina Aguleira (how do you spell that?) song, I thought it best to steer clear.

    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009

    Well, that and the movies.


    Ok, whenever I hear the word ‘candyman’ I think of the song from the Old Willy Wonka movie…and then the Scrubs episode when JD’s the candyman and he eats Turk’s hand because it’s made of chocolate.

    I was thinking of nixing ‘Chronicles’ and going just with ‘Ascendancy’ for mine…eh. I don’t know. It’s not particularly important right now.

    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
    I think I've settled on 'Culture of Defeat' and 'Culture of Fear' for the two books (or one book, two parts) I'm working on. The names look good enough together but are still distinctive, I guess.

    Anyone else finding sharp, snappy one-word titles are being overused right now, what with those stupid, pseudopoetry books everywhere?

    Yeah, I’ve noticed, but examples?

    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2009
    Crank, Glass, Burned, Impulse, Trick. Rubbish, all of it.

    Aren’t all of those by the same author?

    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2009

    I wonder why the Twilight books have their titles. What the hell are they supposed to represent?


    Um…I don’t know. But they sound cool!

    They don’t match the cover art either, but I think the cover art was created with the sole intention of looking nice, which it did, and not really anything to do with the book specifically.


    Twilight is because it’s when change happens from day to night, and it was the biggest turning point of Bella’s life.

    New Moon is because when it’s a new moon it’s really dark and it was the darkest time of Bella’s life.

    Eclipse is because Bella’s love for Edward’s in danger of being eclipsed by Jacob.

    Breaking Dawn was because dawn is a good thing (like in the saying ‘it’s always darkest before dawn’), and that’s when Bella’s life becomes perfect.

    Of course, you couldn’t pay me to live a perfect life forever and ever with Edward Cullen of all people.


    I can’t believe I was so stupid I didn’t read into those very deep titles.

    /end semi-sarcasm.

    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2009

    I figured out the “new moon” one (I think it’s blatantly said in the book, anyway), but never put that much thought into the other titles…


    The covers do have meanings, except for New Moon. Smeyer says they do anyway. You can look them up on Wikipedia.