Ugh! Choosing a title for a story is my least favourite part of writing.
I normally have a working title for my stories, but when it’s finally time to properly title my story, I’m left with a blank page waiting for me to find a title that makes the story shine. But, I must admit, a lot of my titles don’t shine as much as I would like. But when you have a submission deadline, and you only have an hour before the submission window closes, you have to pick the best one from the list you have and hope it doesn’t put the editor off.
Even though I have difficulty picking a title, there is one title I’m proud of, and that is ‘The Snowflakes of Time’. Yeah, I’m proud of that one.
But having one good title isn’t enough, so I decided to research and find more ways to come up with a title for a story, and this is what I want to share with you today.
To find a title for my stories, I look for words or phrases in my story, so I won’t mention it again. But here are more ideas:
These tips are taken from the ‘How to Title a Book: What Do Good Book Titles Have In Common?’ blog post and the ‘How to Create a Good Story Title’ article.
- Use your protagonist for inspiration — does your character have a title or an interesting name, such as Artemis Fowl from the series of the same name written by Eoin Colfer.
- Use the setting of your story — is your story setting significant or fascinating? The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is a good example of this.
- Base your title on the inspiration for writing the story or the story’s central theme or symbol. An example of this is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
- Use the books you’ve read as inspiration — is there a line or phrase that stands out to you and could work as a title? For example, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
- You can use a title generator, like Reedsy’s Book Title Generator, to get you thinking. With the Reedsy’s title generator, you choose the genre and select whether you’ve finished writing the book or you’ve just started — I’m not sure why you need to do the last bit, lol.
- Look for a pivotal event in the story and base the title on that, something like Samantha’s Last Kiss.
- Research the key elements in your story and see if you find something suitable for your story. For example, the serial killer in your story is known for taking his victim’s big toe, so you could call the story ‘The Hallux Collector’ — I know, not great, but hey, you get the idea.
- Explore your bookshelf or someone else’s — please make sure you have permission to go through someone else’s bookshelf first. While you study the books on the bookshelf, write down the titles that stand out to you and consider what makes them work.
- You can see if any songs, slogans, poems or even movies have any words or phrases that could be perfect for your story. For example, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut was inspired by the Wheaties slogan.
- Hope and pray an idea will come to you — sorry, that’s the best I can do for number ten, and nine tips just don’t look right to me.
So, there you have it, ten tips to help you choose a title for your story.
How do you choose titles for your stories? Let me know in the comment box below.
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