In search of a good story title
Last month I wrote a post about the impact of book covers on your reading choices. This month I am thinking about titles.
I am a fiction writer who has a hard time selecting titles for her stories. I am somewhat in awe of people who create clever titles. A writing colleague once told me that it is the titles she thinks of first and they become the inspiration for the rest of the piece.
I usually have a working title, but it is rarely something I consider appropriate for the final version. Even after the story is finished, edited and rewritten many times, I struggle to select a title. I want something catchy that speaks to the theme. I look for symbols within the story. And yet, I am rarely satisfied with my choices.
Good book titles capture a potential reader’s attention and provide insight into the content of the book. In 2008, Goodreads created a list of 276 best book titles based on votes by readers. Many titles on this list are sure to get your attention.
Books on my bookshelf with interesting titles include Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews, In The Hands of the Living God by Lillian Bouzane, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. (All are excellent reads, by the way.)
If you are a writer, how do you come up with titles? Readers: Do you have a favourite title? Have you ever read a book where the title didn’t seem to match the content?