Friday, April 27, 2012

Tackling title trouble

I always have a title in mind, whether it’s a short story of 1000 words or a novel of 50,000 words when I start writing. Without a title in place I just cannot write. It’s like the titles open the flood gates of my mind and unleash my creativity.  With a title in place I have a clearer image of both the story and the characters. So far I have been lucky as none of my titles have been changed by either the editors or the publishers.

For my current WIP, about half-blood angels and devils, I do not have a title, not even a working title. I find this pretty restricting. I think I am spending more time brainstorming a title than working on the story.

Last month while exercising, a lovely title popped into my mind ‘Forever More.’ I spent the entire day basking in the warm glow of peace and happiness that the title had filled me with. I even decided that my title will have the words followed by ellipsis: ‘Forever More….’

The next morning unable to believe my luck at coming up with what I considered an awesome title, I googled it. My heart broke into a million pieces. A book by that name already exists. I even checked on Amazon. There are two books by that name.

 Now I am back to square one, unable to think of a title. This title trouble is driving me crazy. I know that the need of the hour is to write the first draft and not worry about a title. In good time a decent title will appear at my mind’s doorstep.

Are you all like me where titles are concerned? Do you all need to have a title in place before the words start spilling on to the  computer screen? Or can you all write an entire story without having any clue regarding its title? Does anyone have any suggestions for me where my title trauma/trouble is concerned? Any advice is welcome and appreciated.
             
           

20 comments:

Rahul Bhatia said...

While penning articles, I rarely ever have a title in place! This is always an after thought:)

Lynda R Young said...

For me it varies. Sometimes the title will inspire the story, sometimes the title will fall into place while I'm writing the story, and sometimes I'm doomed and it's like pulling teeth to find the right title, lol.

Slamdunk said...

Awww, that must have been a bad feeling.

I struggle giving things a title. I wait until it is done--I am sure that I could improve that process.

Jim Murdoch said...

I don’t need a title but, certainly as far as the novels go, I prefer to have one in place. As soon as I knew that my last book was to be called Left I started thinking about all kind of aspects of leftness and grafting them into the book. I don’t have a title for what I’m working on just now—okay I have a working title but I don’t like it—and I have to say that it’s bothering me. Until I have one I won’t really know what the book’s about. Too many of us—me included—use titles as labels (I’m especially guilty of this when it comes to poems) whereas they are a real opportunity, not only in a marketing sense, but in getting your reader in the right mindset for what they’re about to read. I wouldn’t worry too much if I learned that a book or a film had the same title unless it was a biggie where there would be genuine confusion. My second novel is called Stranger than Fiction which is now a film but it was the right title for the book. It was already a book too by the 19th century writer John Joseph Halcombe but I don’t see any problem there. The film, too, is now history.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

I posted a comment to this and it's disappeared. Boo hoo!
Check out 'Choosing a title' here: http://www.mslexia.co.uk/shop/goodies.php#
It's fab advice.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Well, Rachna, at least you are thinking along the lines of those who have been published... so kudos to you!!

The title will come, don't worry. Maybe let the story unfold and the title will surface!

Bless you.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi friends..I am a lot like Jim, unless and until there is a title in place I am unable to get the story moving. For me titles inspire the story in a big way.

Robyn Campbell said...

Most of my stories have had the title first. That is usually where I get the idea from. That and hubby. Titles are all around us, Rachna. I even found a title one time in something someone said. Also, from a name in the phone book. They're everywhere. :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

After studying the link I had on my blog today about creating titles, I spent two hours the other night working on mine. I had one already, but I wanted to come up with something else.

The next day I proudly told my choices to my CP and a beta reader. Um, well, lets just say, I'm sticking with my old title. Neither thought anything of my new ones, and both really liked my old one. Go figure!!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My first book had a title and I was fortunate that my publisher wanted to keep it. For the second book, I had no idea what to call it. My publisher suggested two titles and we ran with one of them. The other one is now my working title for the third book.

Richard said...

I usually have a title, though it may change over time. I've never been hung up on titles.

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't have to have a solid title for a project--though I dislike having to refer to the story with one that really doesn't sit well.


The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Medeia Sharif said...

When I'm planning I don't always have a title ready, but once I start the draft I must have a title. It would seem like I'm talking to a person with no name.

alexia said...

I come up with a title at the beginning, even if it's more of a nickname I know I'll change later. But when I get to working on coming up with a real title, I make a list of keywords that represent my book, and then I start combining them until I come up with something cool. Good luck!

Life Unordinary said...

I use Google Adwords sometimes for keyword suggestions, but thats for my blog. I'm sure books work differently.

gargimehra said...

I am totally like you Rachna! I cannot proceed on a story, whether it’s a novel or a short piece, without at least a working title in place.

Bikramjit said...

:) hmmm well I generally write what i am thinking of or have heard or seen first and then think of a title to the post ..

but i guess what you are saying is quiet tricky to find a good title , I have never thought of it that way ..

All the best in finding one ..

Bikram's

michelle said...

Titles seem to 'open the floodgates of your mind'. Wow.
Title in place = story flow... that's a major advantage for any writer... you are so fortunate...

Lydia Kang said...

I often have a working title before I start writing, but it's never the one that I end up with!
Leave your title as Forever More, especially if it inspires you. Later one, you'll stumble across a better one while you write. :)

Lauren S. said...

I sometimes have a title, sometimes not. I like to take titles from the end of my story, so sometimes I wait until the story is finished to pick the title.

I actually wrote a post on the different types of titles here: Lauren and the Post About Titles