[Untitled Blog Post]

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I really struggle with titles. I can have a story laid out in my head, filled with nuance and themes and dramatic scenes, but what to call it?

Often I’ll come up with a working title and end up just sticking with it – by that point, I’m used to it and I can’t think of anything else. Or I’ll have three different titles all based on the same root. Or I’ll have a pun-based title that sounds good at first and then stops being funny.

Perhaps I could program a random title generator. Throw the entire story into some sort of analysis engine, let it figure out the most important words and make a title from those. But then, every story might end up being called something like “The he a said of”. Or just pick random titles that have nothing to do with the story but just sound good. “The Killer Dustbin” would be a striking title, even for a story that contains no dustbins, murderous or otherwise.

The only way I’ve found to reliably get a title that fits the story is to start with the title. If I’m starting out with something like “Fred’s Journey” (not that I would; that’s a terrible title!) then at least I know what the entire plot is about before I start. Or what about “The Demon Gardener of Neptune”? It doesn’t really get any better. Any more subtle titles would be weak in comparison.

Oh well. Maybe a title will come to me before I finish redrafting “Untitled Thriller #47″… there’s still time.

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