Titillating Titles



Girl with dangerous and moody eyes standing next to a box labeled "Ferocious Beast - Stand Back"

ferocious beast - stand back by Lin Pernille Photography CC 3.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/linnybinnypix/498856257/

When I’m working on a new piece, short story or novel, I usually have an idea for a title. However I’m very open to my potential future editor changing it.

In fact, when I talk about my stories, I never actually use the title. I never even use the titles when naming my documents. Everything is labeled and referred to by the main character’s name: Julia, Ephraim, Ruby, Jeff and Rosemary… None of which would make arresting book titles.


When I pass out copies of scenes to my writer’s group, I rarely remember to put page numbers on the pages. And it’s even rarer that I remember to put the working title on there. However, my group knows the story well enough that this doesn’t seem to bother them. I’ve even noticed that when I do put the working title on there, someone will always say something like “Oh, good, more Julia.”

That makes me feel better about not being ferociously tied to title.

But what about you? How important are titles to you when you’re writing a piece?



4 thoughts on “Titillating Titles

  1. I guess it depends on how we’re defining a “piece”. Since I’m not a professional writer of any stripe, I often start with a title, write the piece, and then go back and edit the title if I feel like I need to. I do that with my blog all the time. I also do that on internet discussion boards. But, if I were writing fiction or something more substantive than a quick blog, I’d probably be more careful about titling.

    • No need to be a professional writer of any stripe to think about titles!

      Titles are interesting…we’re not supposed to judge books by their cover, but come on. We all do. And same with titles.

      It sounds like you’re more tied to yours than I am to mine…at least concerned about how they connect to what you’re writing. It’s good that you put so much thought into it.

  2. Good post! – And good question.
    I am not good with titles for long stories. All of my novel projects have a working title at the moment. (Lots of them in the “Christopher’s story” or “Sean’s book” category.) I know that one or two of them may stick because I’m actually fond of them, but I search for that little extra, that perfect title …
    I’m better with short fiction and blog entries. I spend some time thinking up a title, and then I can lean back and let it go.

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