Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Useful Links for Writers - Part Four

Part Four: Titles

Naming a book can feel a lot like naming a, but challenging. A title has to be original, attention-grabbing, and relevant to the story. No matter how decent a story is, if the title is lousy, people are less likely to read the book. The title is the first thing people will know about your book, so needless to say the title has to make a very good impression! In regards to naming books by their genre, it is important to note that certain words or phrases are more common in some genres than others (think words like "sword" and "kingdom" in medieval fantasy, "cold" and "shadow" in suspense or horror, "temptation" and "kiss" in romance, and so on.) This is also true for phrases. Finally, when naming a title, think about how easy it will be to find, since you don't want a title that is very similar to one already existing; for example, think how silly it would be give your book a title like "Hunger Game" or "To Kill A Canary".

For me, personally, I decided to name my book "Resistance" for two reasons. First, the book was heavily inspired by British rock band Muse's 2009 concept album, "The Resistance", so I wanted my book and the album to have a strong connection. Second, the book's main theme is on the topic of people constantly "resisting" something: resisting bankruptcy and life on the streets, the pull of crime, a system or a tyrannical leader, and most of all resisting fear and despair; so the title in essence summarizes the whole story.

Since you can't exactly "pick" a book title from a list of selections (unlike picking a name for a character), coming up with a title that sticks, again, can be a challenge. That is why I have posted links - some are lists, others are articles and more - that have helped me when it comes to naming stories. Have fun!

The Phrase Finder
(A wonderful archive to find all kinds of sayings and phrases. If you like the idea of using a phrase - or even better, a twist on a phrase - for your title, this website will be perfect for you.)
English proverbs
American sayings and phrases
Sayings from Shakespeare
Nautical phrases
Famous last words 
Phrase Thesaurus (Note: I have linked to the free sample version of the Phrase Thesaurus. The website offers a full version that requires a paid subscription, which you can read more about HERE.)

(I love using this website to find synonyms - or antonyms - for a word I'm looking for. It could be most helpful when looking for words to use in a title.)

Genres (Goodreads)
(This archive lists books by their genre. I find it helpful to browse multiples titles of the genre I am writing in, as you start to notice recurring words, phrases, and word arrangement. Below I have linked to the genre lists that are most relevant to writing novels. Note: some of these, especially Fantasy and Science fiction, are also split into multiple sub-genres.)
- Crime
- Historical fiction
- Horror
- Humor and comedy
- Science fiction
- Thriller

Random Book Title Generator
(Once again I am not a big fan of online generators, but this can still be helpful if you're short of ideas.)

Best Book Titles (Goodreads)
(Back to Goodreads! It's very fun to get ideas for naming your book based on titles other authors have used. This is a great list of some of the most creative, original, inspiring titles out there.)

17 Unusual Book Titles
(A continuation from the previous link. Goes even deeper in regards to title originality.)

How To Title Your Book
(A decent article with steps on how to come up with a good title.)

Choosing the Right Name For Your Story
(Another great article; offers lists with good examples of titles.)

Naming Chapters
(This fits here as well. This is my favorite article on the topic of naming chapters in a book.)

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