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What makes a good title?

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  #1  
Old 07-02-2012, 03:04 AM
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Icon5 What makes a good title?


Working on titles for a few short stories, and I'm not happy with what I have. Looking for some inspiration. Any ideas for what makes a good title?

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Old 07-02-2012, 03:11 AM
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Something catchy that encompasses the gist of the story. Anything cool/unusual/interesting stated in the stories that might lend themselves naturally to title material?
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:22 AM
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Try to make some revisions with it. Maybe by the time you have made some modifications it would look good. Another thing is that, some title or maybe most do attract the readers, its eye catchy- interesting and unique form the others. You could also make some weird titles that the readers would be able to think and be curious with your story. Originality matters.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:33 AM
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"Make it exciting" or "something that grabs you" are easy things to say, but how do you do that? I don't believe anyone can give you specific step by step rules to follow.

I, for one, couldn't begin to tell you how to create a good title, but I know one when I see it. I make a list of possible titles. I list any title that comes to mind regardless of how silly. Then I go back and pick the most attractive.

Best title ever "Tears of the Sun". Worst movie ever "Tears of the Sun". Still, every time I hear the title, I want to watch the movie again.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:10 AM
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instinct just follow your noise as they say!!
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:22 AM
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I like to use titles which mean nothing on their own, but make the reader want to know why that title was used. Also, titles which seem odd or strange are far better than cliched titles. Titles which give nothing away are always more enticing for me.

For example if you had a story about a day at the zoo, you could call it "A Day At The Zoo". But it would be better if you called it something like, "Claws", or "Lion Shit".
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack View Post
"
Best title ever "Tears of the Sun". Worst movie ever "Tears of the Sun". Still, every time I hear the title, I want to watch the movie again.
That title sucks!

Best title ever - the nominations are:

"IT" (Stephen King)
"The Bad Place" (Dean Koontz)
"From The Corner Of His Eye" (Dean Koontz)
"Slaughterhouse Five" (Kurt Vonnegut)
"A Scanner Darkly" (no idea, but I love the title)

But the winner is...
"Star Wars" (think about it - has a great ring to it and conjures great imagery with just those 2 words!)
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:09 AM
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Short stories often have pretty simple titles that come from an object, character, setting, or specific moment of the story. Some examples:

The Lottery Ticket
After the Ball
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
Harrison Bergeron
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Library of Babel

It doesn't have to be anything too wild. Just identify the center of your story, in five words or fewer (maybe a couple more if you really, really need them). There's your title.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:33 PM
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I think short titles make good titles. I am working on a story now that it simply titled "Beautiful Monster". Titles have to catch the eye. so you want to see action words, or words that attract attention.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:45 AM
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I like the titles that are a bit of a story in themselves. "The lion, witch and the wardrobe" comes to mind.
My own ones are a reflection of content but more of a metaphor.
"Pixies vs The Night"
"Bring on The Night"
"Death to The Pixies"
"One Last Night"
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:53 AM
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A title has two main purposes grab the attention of potential readers and serve as a point of reference. A good title is catchy, has an air or mystery and is in line with the book's content.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:25 PM
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One method is a combination of words that makes a person wonder why they are together- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; The Hunger Games; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; The Da Vinci Code; Seven Deadly Wonders.

Another option is using a single word- Divergent; Legend; Changeling; Frankenstein; Dracula.

Or having a series main title and using sub-titles for each book. This can be used with either of the first two methods- Chronicles of Narnia; Harry Potter;
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:32 PM
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Titles that I like use contradictory words or words that aren't usually paired together.

A good example of this that comes to mind, is "The Glass Castle".

A title like this has more meaning once you read through the book but initially makes you wonder what exactly it is.
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:24 AM
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What I would call "a rule of thumb..."

It should fit on the cover -- so avoid using too many words.
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Old 07-21-2017, 05:36 PM
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So... Brian and Virginia meet, Fuck, have kids, travel to Africa, learn how to shoot pistols before she pays a couple of kids to dump his dead body in a dumpster is too long?
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Old 07-22-2017, 05:02 AM
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That might be a bit long.

I was trying to think of things with really long titles -- all I could come up with was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:08 PM
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One kind of title you must avoid or I will hate your title and that's a title that's a poem all to itself. There's way too many of these. Please don't have a beautiful title like :

The Riffling Lights of Oceans
The Gates of Tawdry Dreams
Hunger Among The Buffet Trinkets
The Light between Oceans

The Sun Also Rises, for example, is a godawful title. Hmm... the sun also rises?! Why yes so it does. That Earnest!

Yuck.

The Great Gatsby on the other hand...

King Lear - yes.

A Midsummer Night's Dream? Oooh my! YUCK. Spit Spit. PeeYou!

Titles. Simple but not so simple as to be marvelously simple.

Titles, see. Fraught with peril.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
So... Brian and Virginia meet, Fuck, have kids, travel to Africa, learn how to shoot pistols before she pays a couple of kids to dump his dead body in a dumpster is too long?
You don't need the 'meet', drop the kids, and Ginny's smart enough I figure to trick Brian (jumble of Brain - get it? snort) into the dumpster so she can shoot him with an elephant gun imported from Africa. We don't actually need to go to Africa do we? So boring.

Please drop the kids. I get so sick of kids. I know everybody has to have kids in their books these days but surely these days will be over soon so Let's Get Started on That!
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by hymanwallace View Post
You don't need the 'meet', drop the kids, and Ginny's smart enough I figure to trick Brian (jumble of Brain - get it? snort) into the dumpster so she can shoot him with an elephant gun imported from Africa. We don't actually need to go to Africa do we? So boring.

Please drop the kids. I get so sick of kids. I know everybody has to have kids in their books these days but surely these days will be over soon so Let's Get Started on That!


Fair enough. Its become a collection of short stories called Brian and Virginia. So far, the kids have not become characters in any story except peripherally. Yeah, fuck the kids.


Sent from my whack-ass dump hole.
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