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Titles

Java

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Okay guys, I have questions about titles to your stories.

How do you come up with them? Do you start with a title? Do you usually end up changing it? How much planning do you put into them? Ever want to change the title in the middle of the story?

In short, what goes into your titles?

I'm having difficulties coming up with titles...
 

TogetherAgain

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Ah, titles! My archnemeses...

Usually I come up with a climatic scene, then a story line to go with it, then I start ironing out details, and hope I can think of a title before I start posting. ...I know, not very helpful... But I do completely understand the difficulty of coming up with a good title!
 

Leyla

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Yeah, titles can be tough... and yet they can be fun. Usually I have enough of an idea of where a story is going that I know what the heart of it is, and that's where the titles come from. If you know some of the really important scenes, or the dialogue, you can use that to help. Sometimes I use songs or poetry to help too. That's just what I do... I don't know if it helps though...

Hang in there!
 

theprawncracker

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Ooh titles, gotta love those. I usually prefer my title to be "Master Ryan" but you know, not everyone agrees...

Oh...Fan-fic titles...Ri-ght...Anyway, for my past...What...Four fan-fics I've used song lyrics as titles. But before that I just sorta went with the main theme of the story, e.g. Muppet High and Revenge of Elmo.
 

muppetwriter

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I try to allow my titles to explain what the story is all about. If you look closely at the overall title of my recent fanfic series, "The MARVELOUS Muppets", you'll know that the title pretty much explains to you what kind of partnership the Muppets and the Marvel superheroes have throughout the series.

I came up with that particular title because it shows how I feel about the two franchises. The Muppets are a marvelous group of characters, and the uppercase letters in the word "marvelous" just tells how immense, chaotic, and thrilling this crossover is. It's also an homage to the titles of the Marvel heroes themselves (i.e. "The AMAZING Spider-Man", "The FANTASTIC Four", "The UNCANNY X-Men", "The INCREDIBLE Hulk", etc.).

As for the titles of the stories within the series, I tried having them just be based on the superhero involved in the story, such as a Spidey/Muppets story being titled "The Amazing". But then I just went for the titles that poked fun at the story (i.e. "Hulk-O-Vision") and often spoofed the titles of Muppet movies, like "The Great X-Muppet Caper".

The title of my other series, "Sesame, DC", is just an amalgam of Washington, DC and Sesame Street, yet the series doesn't take place in DC (it just involves characters from DC Comics with SS characters).

Sometimes your title doesn't even have to be in words. It can just be a symbol, like the "Superman" title. When I was writing that SS/Superman story, I could've just gone with this....\S/.:smile:
 

Java

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For stories that I'm not posting anywhere it doesn't make a difference because I can always change the title. I just worry about a work in progress...

It appears that there as many different approaches to this as there are writers!
 

Ruahnna

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Ohh--titling is one of my favorite parts. As others have mentioned, song titles are a GREAT source, especially if you mix them up a little. I used "Can't Help Loving That Frog of Mine" instead of "Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine" for example. Also, takes on famous literature or movies make great titles, i.e. "To Have or Have Not" (which I've used) or "It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times" (which I might use one day).
Sometimes, my working title will tell me more about what the story is about until I've nurtured it sufficiently to figure out what the "real" title ought to be. For example, Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day Lewis, the poet laureate of England writing under a pen name) wrote a mystery that was known as "The Corpse in the Snowman," but since the story dealt in large part with the search for the missing person (who turns out to be not only missing, but a corpse inside a snowman), that title wasn't really very effective since it gave the plot away. They changed it in later printings.
Often, the idea for a great story comes from a title. If, for example, I said to you (and all other writers lurking out there) "Hog Wild," I'll bet dollars to donuts that most of us would start smiling immediately and come up with our own unique (although possibly similar) plot line. If I said, ""Rainbow Confection," for example, that might lead you off in an entirely different direction.
Two of my favorite title stories:
#1 There is a book called "Bimbos of the Death Sun" by Sharyn McCrumb. It's a murder mystery set at a science fiction convention. One of the two main characters is a scientist who teaches at a college; he wrote a theorhetical paper about a phenomena he observed and hypothesized on--that the radiation from the sun of a distant planet was having a negative effect on the female population of the planet while the males went relatively unaffected. Since it wasn't hard science, he couldn't publish it as such, but his colleage and friend, a lady who was a big science-fiction reader, encouraged him to have it published. The publisher liked it and said, "What's the title of your story?" He gives them a blank look and said, "Duh, I don't know--YOU title it." So when his book comes out, he is horrified to see that it is titled, "Bimbos of the Death Sun."
#2 I cannot improve upon Wikipedia's description:
The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialised in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (September, October, November 1956, with covers and interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas) and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements.
The title was triggered by a remark that Heinlein's wife had made; in the novel itself, the protagonist's cat refuses to leave their house through any of its numerous doors when he sees snow on the ground: he is looking for The Door into Summer. Heinlein wrote the complete novel in only 13 days. No rewrite was needed, only some light editing that Heinlein did himself.
 

CommanderD

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Oh, titles! I have so much trouble with those! If I don't have a cool play on words, I usually just pick through my story and find a phrase that I like and that fits the story well. (I did that with a SpongeBob fic of mine, "Bigger Than That", for example.) Sometimes I'll name it after a song that I think fits. Songs by Journey seem to be my faves for that.

Titles are always the things I trip up on, however. Most of mine are pretty lame. :sympathy: (Heh, cute Rowlf smilie there.)
 

RedDragon

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I don't write famfic....but I usually come up with a title long after I start writting...You just have to let it come to you...If you try to force it, you won't like it...
 
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