Copyright 2013 by Paula S. Jordan
Thank you all for a very informative discussion last week on naming characters. I enjoyed it, and I learned a lot.
For many writers, and I tend to be one of them, “finding” a title is as hard as, or maybe harder, than finding the story itself.
The style of a title is often suggested by the style of the story—tough titles for tough stories, poetic titles for romances and evocative fantasies, gritty titles for down-to-Earth/hardscrabble stories.
But what about this one: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold?
Or Gone With the Wind? I’ve read that Mitchell went through many other titles before finding the obvious winner. How quickly would you pick up these others she considered: Tomorrow Is Another Day, or Not in Our Stars, or Bugles Sang True?
And then there is the actually rather simple murder mystery, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Got to admit, the range of characters and sub-tropical mystique of the story did make the mood of that title not so unexpected.
So, what’s your preference in titles? Think of books without cover art and stories without illustrated title pages—what sorts of titles draw your eye and hand to one story and not another?
Is it the title that addresses the overt action or conflict of the story? Or the one that suggests the deeper driving issues? Is it the explicit or the evocative? The tough, or the compassionate? “Just the facts, Ma’am,” or the poetic? Or are there other titling styles that I have missed all together?
The first SF title that comes to mind: The Ship Who Sang. Both evocative and a literal reference to the story.
Then there is “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.”
Looking forward to another good discussion!