Hiyo, everyone! I’m making a brief post today. Recently, I’ve had to choose a title for the piece of sample fiction I intend to release here soon, which got me thinking about titles in general. I’ve always had some trouble selecting them, and I figure others probably feel similarly, so I thought I’d share my findings. To emphasize, I am in no way an expert concerning this matter!
Here are some things to consider:
- Important characters, objects, places, or concepts in the fiction are often used as titles. For example, Lirael and Abhorsen (both by Garth Nix) simply borrow their names from a character or a rank (respectively) already present in the book. Similarly, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins uses the name of the event around which the book is based. If your work contains appropriately intriguing names or terminology, a key word or phrase central to the work may serve as an effective title.
- If your work is part of a series or existing franchise, a title that ties it to that franchise may be appropriate. This works especially well for longer series.
- If you’re looking for something deeper, reflect on the themes of your work. A title tied to a key theme can impart a certain weight upon the reader. Many literary works, such as To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, derive their titles from some theme.
- Tone is important. If your work is a comedy, a silly title may be appropriate. Not so much if your works centers around solemn darkness. The title of your work is something of a promise to those who decide to experience it, so make it reflective of the content within.
- Unless you’re purposefully trying to convey a sense of complexity (or something similar) in your title, simple is probably better. People often look to fiction for enjoyment, and people generally like things they can relate to, or at least understand to some degree. Unless it works against your purpose, you’re better off with a title that’s intriguing enough to inspire interest but concise enough not to appear entirely alien. I may not be doing a good job of articulating my point here, but the gist of it is that you want to choose a title that appeals to as many people as possible without sacrificing the identity of your work.
And, for now, that’s all. I told you this post would be a short one!
Have any of you struggled to come up with a title for something before? Do you have any tips of your own, or do you disagree with any of my advice? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below! I’m eager to hear from you. Happy New Year!