Monday, 8 November 2010

There's something about a title . . .

With a proliferation of fantastic stories over on Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers at the moment, all with titles comprising of a single word, I began to wonder.  A lot of my stories also have single word titles.  I like them. 

I hardly ever have a title in mind when I begin a story.  Mostly, they come when I've finished.  I read the final draft through and wait for the title to reveal itself.  Sometimes a single word will do - a word that captures the mood of the story, sort of encapsulates everything I'm trying to say.  Sometimes it might be a phrase or a sentence. But until I get that title, until I happen upon it, nothing else makes sense.  The title is the thing that brings it all together.  I can't go with those working title wotsits.  Feels like I'm writing on ice. 

What about you?  How do you come up with your titles?  What is your process?


  1. I use working titles but I dislike them. I agree that it's crucial for a short story or a flash piece to have a good title--it doesn't even necessarily have to fit what happens in the piece, just has to sound good and fit the mood. Didn't used to care about it as much, but now I do--especially since when I'm perusing the web for things to read, that's what catches my eye for a writer who I don't already know. (Though I guess shouldn't assume that others do the same thing.)

  2. Okay, I'm weird, but I can't get started without a title at the top of the page. The thing to remember is that the title isn't set in stone. Chances are, if you don't change it yourself, an editor will.