Wednesday, 1 March 2017

How to Come Up With Book Titles

       If you were to scroll through my folder of old stories (and by old, I mean 'no one can ever read these messes of stories or I shall surely die') all the titles were essentially the same. Take these: "Sharissa's Story" "Lila's Story" and let's not forget the most detailed yet, "Story." As you can tell, I put a lot of thought into naming my books.

     I'd like to say that now I spend lots of time on what to title my stories, so they don't revolve around the word 'story'. At present, my favourites are Draped in DeceptionWrecked in WarGolden Revenge, Upturned, Safe-House, and Splintered Crown.

    Not too bad, right? (I hope.)

    I know several writers who struggle to put together titles, so I've made a list of ideas of how you can come up with a title for your beautiful, magical book.

1) Find Sentences that Jump Out at You

     Draped in Deception had been going under a name so horrible I won't even mention it here, and I was determined to find another one. In search of inspiration, I quickly flipped through the manuscript, hunting for any phrases or words that jumped out at me. And sure enough, my eye caught on this sentence:


Why did the world have to be a woman draped in jewels of deceit, earrings of deception, and a necklace of lies?

     Not the best writing, sure, but the sentence sparked a title into my head by combining two of the words in there, and bam! I had my title. I've noted other books often have their titles in sentences within, like in Queen of Shadows. Give this method a try, but if you're still coming up dry, maybe move onto...



2) List Your Novel's Aesthetic

     This is the method I, almost unconsciously, used for Golden Revenge. When brainstorming my stories, I like to string together different words that I feel communicate the tone or mood of it. But while in the initial stages my list focused on plot, compiling a list of words that relate to your novel's aesthetic can give you lots of adjectives to play around with. Golden Revenge's looked something this:

Hands dripping gold + a mass of filthy bodies amidst glimmering gowns+ velvet wings + drawn daggers + an inferno clawing at darkness + a shy smile + bitter revenge = Golden Revenge.



3) Imagine Your Future Book Cover

    Honestly, we've all done this. Your novel is sitting in place of pride in a bookstore, with its glossy cover and brilliantly crafted words. Forget what the title is for a moment; imagine the cover art. What is on there? What are the colours? Is it stark and simple, or a haphazard of neon? 

    I took this method for thinking up Splintered Crown, and when I pictured a crown, snapped into tiny pieces and scattered around a shadowy room, the title clicked. After all, book cover art is made to fit the title in many respects, so why can't it work the other way round?

    Like with the other two, try this method out as well. Hopefully one (or more!) will work for you, and you'll have a book title to be proud of in no time!


How do you come up with your book titles? Any further tips (I'm always open to learning about new ways!) What is your favourite book title, of your own work or someone else's?
Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your writing!

16 comments:

  1. Ooooh I like this post! And all your titles *flails* Draped in Deception is my favorite! And I don't really have to hunt for titles? I have some, but for the most part they come to me pretty early on. The Thief's Conspiracy just popped into my head before I even realized what it meant. But I knew that was the title (even though I was reluctant to use the word thief since it's done so much). For the rest of the series on that book, I followed the pattern. The _____'s ______. And I tried to find key elements of the book to fit into them. Key people to play a role in each, and key things to happen. That worked really well for me. Once you have a structure, it's pretty straightforward! I'm in love with all the titles and can't wait to write them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Thank you Hannah. :D That's awesome that you don't have to hunt for titles; I have to struggle a bit for them. XD The Thief's Conspiracy is such a cool title! Yep, it's always great to have the titles in a series similar enough so they seem cohesive and flow on. That's wonderful that you love them all; best of luck writing them! Thanks so much for commenting! <3

      Delete
  2. This is an AWESOME post! I FAIL MISERABLY at titles. Most of books I've started are labeled "Kaleena" and "Kaleena 2" and "Supernatural" and half of the first sentence because that's what defaulted when I saved. I seriously don't know how I ever managed to keep my files straight (because I certainly can't anymore, at least not the older stuff). Now I at least try to come up with a working title toward the beginning, but that's almost worse!

    Take my current WIP:

    I started out calling it "Shadow Babe," knowing that it was AWFUL but not really sure what else to do. Then it changed to "Shadow Assassin," which was at least a step up, if not insanely cliche. Now it's "The Demon's Assassin," and the series is called "Shadow Assassin." Still not sold. But I have different files with each of these different names on them.

    I LOVE your suggestions! I will have to try them. I've definitely noticed the first one in other people's writing, but (amazingly) have never though to actually do that myself, lol. Ahhhh well.

    I LOVE Splintered Crown as a title, by the way :)

    ~ Michelle @ FaerieFits

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle! I'm super glad you enjoyed it. XD I'm sure you don't fail miserably; your titles aren't awful. :) Like the rest of writing, practice and lots of edits make titles perfect! I like 'Shadow Assassin' as there are lots of way you take the words' meanings. :D Hopefully my suggestions can help you out a bit, and thank you so much for commenting! <3

      Delete
  3. I suck sooo bad at titles.🙈🙊 IT'S SO MUCH PAIN. Either I get one straight away and it works perfectly, or I end up settling for a horrid one and just telling myself that if it ever gets published, the publisher can work out that mess hahah. 😂 These are excellent tips though! I particularly like the idea of pulling lines out of the book. When I'm reading I always get a little squee whenever I see a line in a book that's also the title. It just ties everything in so nicely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah yeah that's a good point about the publisher (though I'm sure your titles aren't that bad!). XD Thank you! I also squeal when I see the lines in books, and feel so proud of myself for spotting them, even though everyone probably notices them! :D Thanks so much for commenting, Cait! <3

      Delete
  4. I'M LATE TO THE PARTY BUT HELLO AND THIS IS SUCH AN INFORMATIVE POST?!

    Most of the stories I wrote years ago have very cringey titles, but now I've started using lesser-known words as titles that explain the theme of the story through the definition.

    Does that sound confusing? I'm not sure haha, anyway, tip #2 was my favorite!

    I LOVE this idea! I think it's great that you and your cousin are finding ways to encourage each other in terms of writing. It's an important reminder of support and that writing doesn't always have to be a solitary 'job'.

    It also gives purpose to the first draft and instead of feeling down about it, you get encouraged! I'd love to try this out.

    Thank you for sharing this Hannah!

    - Andrea at A Surge of Thunder

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HELLO YOU CAN NEVER BE LATE! Thank you, I'm glad you found it helpful!:) No, not all, I think that's a really good idea for coming up with your book titles! If readers catch on it could even help them understand your story even more. :D Thank you so much for commenting, Andrea!

      Delete
  5. Titles = much dificulty and trial and error 😂😅
    It really helped for me to brainstorm with others on book titles. I never realized it until I tried it and renamed all three books in my trilogy to something more coherent. "The Sparrow Who Couldn't Sing," became Sparrow Singing. So much better XD

    This is such a great post, and you have such cool book titles. I'm going to have to come back this if and when I ever start working on some besides this Trilogy... 😅
    jeniquablog.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's such an accurate description of what titles are! XD Ooh I shall try that some time (when I have a new idea). I love your titles. <3 Thank you, I'm glad you found it helpful! Hahah, it will happen eventually. Right? XD Thanks so much for commenting Jeneca! :D

      Delete
  6. These are great tips! I love when I'm reading a book and suddenly come across the title and I have that, "Oh, that's where they got the title from!" moment lol. And your second suggestion is something I'd never have thought of, but I can definitely see that sparking some great ideas. Not sure the last one would work for me though since, of the three stories I've got spinning in my head, only for one of them do I have even the slightest idea what I want for the cover lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kristen! :) Yes, it's such a great feeling! It makes me feel quite clever! XD Hopefully my second idea will help you out with your own titles, as it did with mine. Fair enough! Maybe the third idea is for those who have a set idea about what they want their book cover to look like? :D Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting!

      Delete
  7. This is a great post! I primarily use method one. I like finding sentences or words signature to my my book for titles. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Victoria! :) Yes, it's always lots of fun to find the perfect sentence or word to use in your title! Thanks so much for commenting! :D

      Delete
  8. Awesome post! :)
    I'm terrible with titles! Most of my old stories are called 'story', or 'story 2' etc., because I literally couldn't think of anything interesting. I'll definitely have to try some of your tips anyway, because they seem to have worked for you. All your book titles sound very intriguing, and I especially like Draped in Deception and Splintered Crown! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura! It was the same with me, except I was more too lazy to think of any good titles. XD Hopefully my tips can help you out! Thanks so much for commenting! :D

      Delete