One of the biggest challenges an author faces is picking the perfect title for their work. Some authors really get hung up on what seems like such a simple task.
When choosing your own title for your book, short story or even poems, it’s important not to dwell on this one aspect of your overall writing goal. A title can come to you when you least expect it.
From the beginning of literary time, authors have used various methods to come up with titles. Believe it or not, there are those who’ve known the title of their work before they even had a solid plot in place. Others have stumbled across great titles while writing a sentence within their masterpiece.
If you’re on the hunt for a title, there are several creative avenues you can use to spark a good title:
Listen to your favorite music. Songs often contain beautiful lyrics you could use or even play off of for your own work.
For example, let’s pick a couple of songs at random.
Beatles – Yesterday
Lyric: There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Possible Book Title: Hanging Shadows
Electric Light Orchestra – Turn to Stone
Lyric: The city streets are empty now.
Possible Book Title: Empty City
Or you could even mix the two songs to come up with really unique titles such as Yesterday’s Stone Shadows, Empty City Shadows or Stone Shadows.
Another creative and even fun alternative to choosing titles is by creating a word basket. This exercise is also effective for your writing sessions as well.
Create a word basket with words you find interesting, unusual or even some of your favorite words. You can use anything to hold your slips of paper like a bowl, candy dish or a handwoven basket.
Use the back of old business cards or notebook paper. Write a word, cut that slip of paper and stick it in your word basket.
Come up with great nouns, verbs, adjectives. Any word you think is solid will do.
Your word basket is a great place to come up with unlikely metaphors, interesting phrases and, you guessed it, book titles. Just pull out a few words, without peeking, and see what you come up with.
Don’t forget, you can always use “Working Title:” and then add a generic title to your work for the time-being. You’ll still be able to move ahead with your project without having to be 100 percent sold on a specific title.
And don’t beat yourself up over picking the perfect title. Just when you think you’ve produced a captivating name for your work, an editor may come along and change it on you.
So don’t let titles hang you up!