Category Archives: Creating a Title

Title Anyone?

What's in a title other than letters?

What’s in a title other than letters?

Some people say creating a book title is hard work. I say it depends on the writer’s method.

Many writers slave over a book outline, describing every character, every chapter, and often every scene. Thus a title for them is likely tedious.

For me, the book finds its title when its concept is well grounded. Of course, a title should use certain elements, like tone, expectation and interest. But breaking the brain over what works best isn’t my idea of fun. Here’s an example: Salem Street.

But what does Salem Street say? Does it suggest a thriller, science-fiction or a romance? Maybe Salem Street is a romance, because it sounds homey and inviting.

Perhaps the writer intends a story with lots of conflict between rivaling housewives, creating the title Salem Street Witches. Here intrigue suggests witch trials, brutal judgment and burnings at the stake.

Next I offer something quirky like A Knuckle for Your Thoughts. Here we have a play on words, mimicking “A nickel for your thoughts”. In this title, the word knuckle describes the story. Maybe it refers to a man who finds boxing more appealing than running his father’s business.

What’s essential is that a title must describe the book. To me, this is important, because a misleading title is counterproductive. That’s why I create a title first, imagine the plot, outline if necessary and begin to write. Then I use it to stay focused.

Would Sweet Little Kittens describe a story about two orphaned brothers named Black who bounty hunt? Probably not. Is Clan of Black more appropriate? Probably. Point is, whether you write first and create a title, or create a title and then write, the title must serve as the backbone of the story.

With this said, a new title has suddenly popped into my head: Say No More.