Tuesday, May 4, 2010

finding a good title

It can be challenging to devise a good title for a book or other piece of writing. Here are a few thoughts on the process:


1. Sometimes a title idea can spring from browsing titles of other works that have something in common with yours. For example, say your book is about mining. You can search library catalogs for books on mining and perhaps find something that triggers an idea. And/or you can search online books-selling sites such as Amazon.com.


2. Poetry or song lyrics may provide an inspiration. For example, the title of Khaled Hosseini's novel A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is from a poem. The title of Rudy Wiebe's novel SWEETER THAN ALL THE WORLD is from a hymn.


3. I've sometimes invented words and used them as titles; e.g. for my series of short-story books titled YESTERSTORIES (published by Prentice Hall and Globe/Modern).


4. Sometimes one can devise a unique title by using a unique name in it. I did this for my picture book NEWTON MCTOOTIN AND THE BANG BANG TREE (published by McClelland & Stewart).


5. I try to use titles that are different from what's out there. One way to check is to search on Amazon.com. If you don't find a book, DVD, or whatever under your proposed title, you know you probably have one that's unique—for now.





1 comment:

  1. As an avid reader of cozy mysteries (among others) I find that quite a few mystery writers pick a title that is similar to famous movies (like for instance ‘Dead Man Cooking’-Dead Man Walking or ‘This Pen For Hire’-This Gun For Hire) or everyday sayings (like for instance ‘For Better Or Hearse’-‘For Better Or Worse’ or ‘Just Murdered-Just Married’). Some can even be very creative, naming a character (and the book) ‘Legs Benedict’ after eggs benedict, which ties in nicely with the setting of the book (a bed and breakfast) where guests might just order the eggs!