Editor’s note: I hope you enjoy these fun ways of picking titles from Daily Writing Tips–a fabulous resource for writers.
Picking a title can often be the hardest part of a writing project. Sometimes the title just comes to you, but more often than not, you have to put quite a bit of work into finding just the right one. You may even have to sift through several titles before you find one that sits well with you. Here are a few suggestions to try:
1. Mad Libs
Think of a couple adjectives, nouns and verbs that describe your story. Write them all down on a sheet of paper and combine them into different phrases. Sometimes you can pick up on a title that works.
2. Pick a Part
Look for an important turning point in your novel or just focus on the climax. Describe this event on paper. Pick out the words or phrases that stand out to you in your description. Mix and match these words to see what works for you.
3. Live by Example
Pick out novels or short stories that run in the same genre as your project. Study the titles and how they relate to the story as a whole. Then, look at your project as a whole. Think of the theme or overall message of your book. Write down some words that go along with your theme and work them to see if you can find a fitting title.
4. Go for the Obscure
Avoid the obvious “The” titles like “The Pink Slipper” or “The Brown Dog.” Look for slight recurring themes or undercurrents in your novel and try naming your novel after those subtle nuances. JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is a genius with titles. The titles, especially the Half-Blood Prince, all highlight under-riding themes that later play a large role in the series as a whole.
5. Appeal to the Higher
Poets usually have a way of weaving words in a beautiful tapestry of art that put prose writers to shame. Read some famous poetry and write down words and phrases that stick out to you. Song lyrics often have the same effect. You can find some powerful titles by mixing, matching and combining words from powerful lyrics.
6. A Writer’s Best Friend
Consult your thesaurus and look up synonyms for commonly occurring words in your novel. Write down as many synonyms as you can to try and get a fresh point of view on an event in your novel. Look up these synonyms in the dictionary to get a better understanding of their meaning. Use different words in context to find a combination that you like.
7. Super Easy Way
Type “title generator” into Google and see what pops up. There are several websites that will either have you type in a couple descriptive words and scramble them for you or they’ll just generate some random titles for a variety of genres. Some, like guywiththecoat.com, just generate extremely random and funny titles. Mostly, these titles are just good for a laugh, like “Pants ride the Bus,” but you may actually be able to find something that works with your project.
Reprinted from Daily Writing Tips, Dec. 16, 2011