What’s in a Name? Titling Your Novel



At some point in the novel writing process, everyone will approach that moment when they will need to decide what they want to title the book they have been working on for so long.

Some may want to create a title before they ever get the first words on the paper, but I feel this is the wrong approach.

In fact I think advancedfictionwriting.com has some of the best advice I’ve come across for titling a new book.

The gist of the article is that you should not worry about the title of your book until after you have written it.  The fact of the matter is, most book titles that will work for your book will often come as an inspiration as you progress through the story or once you finish it.  And the idea can come from anywhere; whether you are working on the story itself or performing some menial task.

Ultimately, the quality of the story is far more important than the quality of the title when it comes to the stories people remember for years.

That said, there are a few factors you may want to consider when you are working on that perfect title for your novel.

You want your title to be dynamic.  It should be something that uses strong words that emote a certain feeling in the reader when they look at the title.  This might be one of those times you pop out your thesaurus and find words that go with the idea you are trying to portray.

An example:  Would you be more likely to read a book titled Under the Tree, or would What Lies Beneath the Willow be something that catches your eye better.

If you look at books across the multitude of genres, you will notice that each genre seems to have it’s own variations of titles that tend to do better in their field.  For instance, a Mystery thriller might fair better with a single word (such as Monster by Frank Peretti).  Whereas an adventure might do better to list the Hero, or the source of the adventure (think The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas)

Ultimately, more than style of the title, you want it to follow the feel of the story you are offering to your audience.  You wouldn’t want to name your book Shadowfall and then have it be about Unicorns, sunshine, and rainbows.  It would create a large amount of cognitive dissonance.  Yet, if that was the intention of the story to create that dissonance, then the title might work perfectly for your novel.

Make your title easy to remember.  Most people will want to share the good books they have been reading and word of mouth is your best advertisement as an author.  Be nice to your audience and keep the titles simple and easy.  Keeping it simple like that means that your reader’s associates who might be interested in your novel will have an easier time finding it and partaking in the story.


That’s all I got for now.  See you lot next week!


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