Choosing titles – Writing nightmare #2

I wrote about choosing names for characters  a few posts ago, now I’m writing about choosing titles. Well… I’m just a little better at that than at deciding names, but not much better.

Probably you are thinking “what kind of titles are we talking about?”. Novel’s titles? Chapter’s titles? Section’s titles?

If you can’t think of nothing effective, the problem with sections and chapters is easily solved. No sections and chapters named with a number. I know, it’s not particularly original but I noticed, as a reader, that I pay very little attention to chapters titles while reading a novel. If the story is absorbing, I don’t really need hints to go ahead.

The matter is entirely different if we talk about books titles. It’s a serious matter, one of essential importance, that has the power to rise or sink the popularity of a novel. I’m not saying that the title is more important than the content, but a good title is essential to attract readers. A good title (as a good name for a character) must be evocative, must raise curiosity and expectations and must not be too revealing. Not an easy effect to obtain!

Think about… “Pride and Prejudice”. That’s a title! It gives you an idea about the “moral” of the story without revealing nothing about the plot. If you plan to write a saga you should find a kind of title with something you can repeat at every new episode. For instance, Harry Potter and…, or Agatha Raisin and….

There are so many option that when I have to pick one I am lost. My NaNoWriMo project is a romantic story written from the point of view of the main male and female characters, with the addition of a different kind of point of view: the one of the female character’s handbag. I choose the title “Secret memories of an handbag“, in Italian (since I’ll write in Italian) “Memorie segrete di una borsa“. Not overly original, isn’t it? But I couldn’t come up with nothing better.

The other project I’m working on is a story that in my original idea was a fantasy, but at present it has nothing magical or supernatural, so it seems more a story that takes place in an invented-sort-of-medieval-world. The main characters are called Aspar and Sera and the world they live in is the Realm of Deeh. What title should I choose? Tales of the Realm of Deeh? Sounds a lot as Tales of Beedle the Bard. Chronicles of the Realm of Deeh? But translate in Italian is Cronache del Regno di Deeh, that sounds exactly as Cronache del Mondo Emerso (a series of beautiful fantasy novels by Licia Troisi). Maybe I should decide on a more simple Aspar and Sera or Sera and Aspar, but it seems the title of a mushy romance and then what kind of audience would attract?

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’m not even near the point of thinking about my audience, because I’m not even half the way of writing the first draft. So it seems I have plenty of time to think about the title.

What do you think about titles? How do you choose them? How important is the title when you decide to read a book?

Let me know what you think! For now, thank you for reading my post!

3 thoughts on “Choosing titles – Writing nightmare #2

  1. Titles are so tough. I have am on my… fourth title. I call it a working title, because I don’t know if it will make it on the cover. It’s just something for me to get used to, see what reaction it gets.
    Whispers from Deeh… How does that sound?
    “segreti di una borsa” or Secrets of a handbag? It’s a little shorter and crispier, and the memories are implied. Might work.
    Good luck!


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