Short Story: Finding the perfect title

In a valiant attempt to focus on nano this year, I decided to chronicle my journey creating a humorous short story as a series of blog posts I could schedule over November. (And beyond Bawhahahaha)

At this point I have an idea, a character, an archetype, at least thought about the ending twist, reviewed some humor approaches, wrote a first paragraph, and layered in the tray fail cycles. I had a week to get a first draft and the week was almost gone.  I have a story, but it has the lovely title of Claudia’s short story.

How does one come up with titles?

I think this is an art not a science.  I’ve read different articles on the how to’s, but honestly nothing has stuck.  The advice ranges from see what ‘sells in our genre’ to ‘find the essence of your book’ to ‘listen to song lyrics’.  Sigh.

What should you do?  First I give myself permission to have a sucky title while I’m writing the story.  I can’t let that block me from writing.

My title may be perfect for the story in my head, but since I’m a pantser the story I get at the end may not match the original idea.   That’s okay.

When I am done, I reread the story one last time.  Sometimes the title pops, other times I have to try brain storming techniques.

Did I pick the perfect title?  Maybe.

What do you do to pick your title or what have you read that you thought was wildly mistitled.?

4 thoughts on “Short Story: Finding the perfect title

  1. I like to use alliteration when I can – Dana’s Dilemma, Jordan’s Justice, Triple Trouble in Texas. Only the first one has been published. The other two are still in the works. The title should reflect the story – Dana’s a police officer and gets into a fix. Jordan’s book was changed to the Christian series and the justice will now have to come from God; I haven’t worked that out yet. Triple Trouble is about triplets. Another way to create a title is using a play on words. “A Sign for Love” refers to sign language and not an omen. I hope this helps you come up with a title. Don’t forget to ask the characters if they have one in mind!

    • It’s hard to come up with that special sauce that helps a reader want to pick your story to read. All great suggestions. Thanks quirkywritingcorner.

  2. I’m with querywriter and I love alliteration. I’m fond of shorter rather than longer titles, a couple words usually. I like querywriter’s idea to ask your characters. I’m going to try that too. Coming up with titles can be fun. Often I make a long list, at least twenty ideas and see if something works or if two can be joined or twisted together. Thanks for the cool post.

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