RTW: What’s In A Title?

Writing Song of the Day: “My Name Is” by Eminem

Those of you who are familiar with how we are know that we probably shouldn’t be writing a post on titles. I mean, we did have a contest before where asked people to title our NaNoWriMo projects…but it’s Wednesday, YA Highway Road Trip time, so we’ve gotta play along!

So, how do we come up with titles?

We put a bunch of different phrases in a hat, shake it up, and whatever we pull out that’s what we title our work.

That would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?

Well, it’s not true.

Titles are pretty much secondary to us in the writing process. We just want to get the words out first and then we’ll go through that terrible task of creating a title. *shudders*

We both look for a central theme (or recurring theme/place/topic) that shows up in our work and then we try it out on each other. Some of our titles didn’t sound right at first until we went through the work and it all sunk in.

Also, we may look at a piece of dialogue that one of our characters says and sees if it’s universal enough to apply to the whole story. We heard one of our faves Courtney Summers used this tactic to title Some Girls Are and everyone knows that she RAWKS!

So, what about you- how do you come up with your titles?

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16 thoughts on “RTW: What’s In A Title?

  1. Great tip with the hat idea. I think I'll name my children that way. Here's to hoping my husband doesn't put Voldemort in the mix. :)I'm with you: It's more important to get the story out than find the perfect title at first. Besides, the story can serve as great inspiration for titles.

  2. I agree, it's more important to write the story first. I hate thinking up titles, either they've been taken or they sound lame. My title's often come after I've gotten to know where the story's going first.

  3. Oh, definitely write the story first. In fact, I usually pick out the title from a meaningful, used-once phrase in the MS, and it does serve as great inspiration, as Tracey said.

  4. Hope the surgery went well! It's always good to have someone to discuss titles with. It can make things so much easier! I hadn't really thought about dialogue, but very true. Thinking about it, there are a lot of fantastic titles that use a particularly telling line of dialogue.

  5. Can I just say, I love how you girls joint-blog. It must be so nice to have someone close to bounce ideas of off. And you're right, Courtney Summers is fab, and I've noticed that same thing about her titles. I like how you look for themes when deciding on your titles… I try to do the same thing. 🙂

  6. Homer FTW! <3Would you believe I haven't read any of Courtney Summers books? (I will remedy this with a browse on Book Depository, however!)Hope Pam is on the mend!

  7. With the book I'm writing right now it was a word that I liked which kept recurring as a theme. With "Story of a Rag Doll" I came up with the title beforehand and worked the story around it LOL, not good. Before THAT it was a word that encapsulated a theme and before THAT with my war story it was a theme that kept recurring in war poetry, "Dust".

  8. I use one of two ways. Sometimes I'll write the story first, then worry about the title. I often like to let it come to me organically. I might here a word or phrase and think, "that's it!" OR I might here a phrase and think that it would make a great title. Once I have the title, the story manifests from that. 🙂

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