How Do I "Title?"

Ah, titles. One of the most important parts of a book, yet also one of the hardest to write.
I hate coming up with titles. Sometimes they come to me out of nowhere (which is rare and awesome) and other times I have to dig through my brain for months to figure out anything that could closely resemble a title.
But, a lot of you have asked me for help with titling and/or some of the methods I use to come up with titles. So here goes nothing!


When I start thinking up a title, the first thing I do is take a look at my story itself and ask three questions:

  • Who is my protagonist?
  • Where does my story take place?
  • What is my story mainly about?


This is a good place to start because, odds are if you can't answer one or more of these questions, you aren't ready to come up with a title. Instead, focus on developing your story and worry about titles later. (Unless you are one of those writers who prefers to come up with a title and then develop your story around said title. In that case, carry on.)
Once you have those three basic questions answered, take out a piece of paper and write down everything you think of when you think about your book. This list doesn't have to be pretty, and it doesn't have to follow any rules. You can write down words, feelings, places, people, etc. Whatever you want--even if you don't know very much about your story yet. Just write down everything you know about your plot, characters, and world. For example, when I think about my book, I think of:
  • Perfection
  • Avalon
  • Society
  • Deja Vu
  • Reset
  • Dandelions
  • Unperfection
  • Mind games
And much more!

Now that you have a good sense of your book, it's time to play around with different kinds of titles. Titling, essentially, is using the information you already have and playing with it until you have something you like. So now that you have all of your information in one place, use it to write down any potential title you can come up with.
Some kinds of titles you could experiment with are:
  • One word titles
    • (Divergent, Unremembered, Crescendo)
  • Alliteration
    • (The House of Hades, The Great Gatsby)
  • Place names
    • (Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables)
  • Character names
    • (Every Harry Potter book, Hamlet, Charlotte's Web)
  • Titles that hint at the plot
    • (The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, A Wrinkle in Time)
But of course, you don't have to stick to the basics. Your title can be anything you want it to be! 
Also keep in mind that titles can be changed anytime. If you come up with something before you write the book, and by the end of the story it no longer fits, don't be afraid to change it! Titles can be changed and edited just like the rest of the book.

What about you? Do you love or hate titling? What methods do you use to come up with titles? Let me know in the comments below!

Comments

  1. Resets mostly make me think of Undertale. I don't remember there being a lot of resets in your first book when I beta read it..but you have been changing a lot of things recently, haven't you? And then there's the other two to consider...dang, now I'm really curious!

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    Replies
    1. Haha I've made an insane amount of changes! It's been super freeing. I've resolved a lot of the original issues with the plot.

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