Titles, titles everywhere

Today’s topic is: How do you come up with your titles?

Oh boy. I’m pretty terrible at titles. My completed manuscript is titled FOUR STONES because, well, there are four stones that play an integral role in my book. Awe-inspiring levels of creativity, I know. For the longest time, the manuscript was titled ASHES as a play on “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” since my book also focuses on a group of immortals (of the non-vampiric variety). But then I discovered there are no less than eleventy billion books already published with the title ASHES, so that was out. I’ve since come up with a handful of alternate titles to replace FOUR STONES, but I’ve been shot down every time. So FOUR STONES is staying!
I do have another manuscript I’m working on, and I have to say that I’m really very fond of the title. The entire project is staying top secret for now, but I will say that the title is borrowed from a song (which seems to be where a lot of us get our titles from)!
What about you? How did you come up with your titles?
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18 Responses

  1. Alicia Gregoire says:

    It sounds like the majority has titling problems. Maybe we should have a support group for that.

  2. Sarah says:

    I do like Ashes, but I get what you're saying. I did a search and realized eight million people have already used my oh-so-original one-word title. Sigh. Rethinking.

  3. Connie says:

    I usually go with a motif from my book.

  4. Michael Offutt says:

    Four stones sounds good to me.

  5. Aleeza says:

    Four Stones–melikes it too! πŸ™‚

  6. Marquita Hockaday says:

    I like Four Stones, I would pick that up in a bookstore- sadly not Borders since the one close to me is closing πŸ™ But, I think the title is very clever. As for me, I go over my manuscript and look for things that keep making a return throughout the story and that ends up being the title- pretty simple, really. Songs are an awesome go-to!

  7. Tracey Neithercott says:

    I like Four Stones, but I also like Ashes, too. I have a thing for one-word titles. For me, the title kind of just comes to me along with the idea. I usually know it before I start writing. Of course, now that I've said that I'm going to have a hell of a time coming up with a title for my next project!

  8. Alison Miller says:

    My books all have theme songs for some strange reason and my last one – the title may be inspired by it's theme song. Maybe. I'm still wrestling with some ideas.

  9. Pam Harris says:

    I love simple titles. Usually I try to look for just one or two words that pretty much sums up the story, which isn't very easy! Ooh, I'm intrigued about this secret project of yours–can't wait for you to share more. πŸ™‚

  10. Leila Austin says:

    True! Nothing better than a reference to an awesome song πŸ™‚

  11. Ben Langhinrchs says:

    I'm great with titles. Seriously, I write awesome, clever, catchy titles. Writing the books is a whole different story, sadly.

    Ah well. Anyway, here crusading and thought I'd put in my two meager, well-worn cents. Nice to virtually meet you.

  12. Kari Marie says:

    Songs! *slaps forehead* why didn't I think of that? I'm horrible with titles.

  13. Katy says:

    I like titles that are intriguing and paint a picture in my head, and Four Stones totally worked for me. I'd pick it up in a bookstore. πŸ™‚

  14. K Bradey says:

    I love the sound of Four Stones. Makes me think of the four elements — earth, fire, wind and water.

  15. Michelle Schusterman says:

    I'm with everyone else here (apparently!) – Four Stones is a really cool title!

  16. Meredith says:

    I love validation! πŸ™‚

    Thank you, everyone. Four Stones is here to stay then.

  17. Kate Hart says:

    Songs are a great place for title inspiration. I can see Four Stones having a cool cover.

  18. Claire Gregory says:

    Hey Meredith- fellow Crusade Group 30 member here popping by to say hello πŸ™‚ I love the title Four Stones! I think it's clean and catchy, and doesn't try too hard. I'd totally keep it if I were you- and just so you can stop worrying, I know for a fact that when you get an agent, if they don't like the title they'll get you to change it then. Ditto a publisher. Out of your hands at that stage, so no need to worry in the meantime. I get *my* titles from long, hard brainstorming- but funnily enough, I also have a book playing on ashes to ashes, dust to dust (check out my stellar creativity- I titled it "Ashes to Dust"). Who knows if that'll stick? πŸ™‚

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