I, Title

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Someone has recently asked me to do a quick article on titles. If you’re like me, it’s hard to come up with a title for your work: it has to be just…right. I normally have a “working title” that I use until I can think of something better. For example, I used to call Silver Scales the “Dragon Story”. I never actually planned on calling it “the Dragon Story”— it was just a name until I thought of something better.

So, how do we think of something better?

Titles are very important to a book. Everyone knows the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, yet you know everyone who is going to read a book is going to judge it by its cover, and by extension, its title. Titles give the readers a glimpse into your book, and can turn down a potential reader before they even read the synopsis.

If you’re completely stumped for a title, I recommend you write a list of all the words you can think of that are central to your story. Don’t judge any of the words, just write them all down. Think big. Be creative.

Many titles have adjective-noun structures, such as:

The Bourne Legacy

Little Scarlet

Weekend Warriors

Hunger Games

The Lovely Bones

And yet others have more unusual structures:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Secret Life of Bees

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer

Others are just the first name of the protagonist:

Harry Potter

Maximum Ride


Peter Pan

Percy Jackson


Whatever you choose, make sure it fits with your genre. For example, you don’t expect to find a book called Atonement in the chick-lit section.

The two most important things about the title of a novel are that it makes the readers interested in reading it and that it is a true window into the story.

~☼Writing time! ☼~

Make a list of titles you love and think about what makes them great. Think about how the word structure gave you a glimpse into the story, and try to think about what makes your story great, and try to capture that in as few words as possible. 

And now it’s the time where I give you multiple ideas in rapid-fire format!

An Alliterative title (example: Batman Begins, Pride and Prejudice)

Character Name and the Noun Phrase (Example: ANY HARRY POTTER BOOK)

I, Noun (example: I, Robot)

MacGuffin Title (Example: The Pink Panther, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Deathly Hallows)

The Noun and the Noun (example: Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

One Letter Title: (Example: Airplane! Aliens, Brave, Cars, Click, Elf, Jaws, Ratatouille, Taken, Up)

The Title Saga (Example: The Dark Knight Saga, the Twilight Saga,)

Keep writing everyone!

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