Saturday, December 01, 2007

First impressions

Psychostick.jpgDid your NaNo novel finish the month titled "NaNo 2007"? Except for my first NaNo which was always called Flight, the other two were named at the last moment before I uploaded. If you still need a title, here's some title naming strategies.
  • Use the name of a character, place or significant object
  • Name plus some element from the story
  • Phrase from the novel
  • Line uttered by a character

  • Play on words (common in the mystery genre, often indicates a lighter tone) (Tea and Curses, No Time or Treason)
  • Play on a recognizable title (War and Pieces, Withering Heights)

  • There's a good brainstorming process to use at Write a Good Book Title and Greatly Increase the Marketability of Your Book!.

    The author suggests writing a paragraph description of your book. From that paragraph list all the nouns and verbs. Then for 5 minutes make combinations of the two. Don't worry if some don't make sense together! If you don't like any of the combinations together, then spend 5 minutes brainstorming words related to your nouns and verbs then repeat making combinations. When you find a verb and noun pair you like, then spend 5 minutes brainstorming phrases using that pair of words.

  • And another more focused brainstorming process at Title Creation on DeviantArt, which helps you play around with character names, settings and themes.

  • Here's a couple of random title generators. The first, Random Book Title Generator, is completely random but comes up with some surprisingly intriguing titles like "The Missing Night", "Living Tales", and "Widow of the Prophecy". The second, Title Generator by Aabashenya, asks for some help like a verb ending in -ing, a plural noun, which, if you did one of the previous two brainstorm processes, can be well focused for your book.

  • Alter phrases, epigrams, cliches, aphorisms, idioms: Cliche Web and CLICHÉS: AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE

  • Use phrases from Shakespeare, Bible, and Nursery rhymes:

    A short Shakespeare list
    A longer Shakespeare list
    More extensive list (with links to sources)
    Several thousand (with links to sources)
    Probably the most extensive (listed by play)

    Bible
    Old Testament extensive (Bartlett's)
    New Testament extensive (Bartlett's)

    I want Bartleby's results to be better displayed, but there's a wealth of searchable books there (Bartlett's Quotations, Columbia Encyclopedia, Brewer's Phrase and Fable, Bullfinch's Mythology, author's works in the public domain and loads more.) (The books have nicer formatting. It's just the engine that searches all the books that returns some ugly results.)

  • Be inspired by titles in your genre. The most likely part of your book to be changed by an editor is the title. Readers expect genre titles to conform to a certain feel, that is The Elemental Fire Queen of Goronji probably isn't a mystery. ;-) Here's some lists of books:
    Fairy tales
    Fantasy novels
    Science fiction
    Horror
    Fictional (not fiction!) books
    Best sellers
    Also try Amazon. Type in some key words from your book and see what Search turns up.

  • And finally, here's a Fantasy Novel Title Generator. You can generate from 1 to 50 titles at a time. Here's some examples:
    Child's Discord
    Desert of the Shining Stone
    Eladian's Lady
    Dalisrte's Emerald
    Demon's Discord
    Heart, Autumn and Stone
    Hirorte's Winter
    Mistress of Pride
    Secret Hero of Enijil
    Spell Sea of Ortanor
    Spirit Citadel of Redudiel
    Storm's Fate
    The Destiny of Quainill
    The Elven Master
    The Faerie Demon
    The Fire of the Citadel
    The Illusion of Hirotanor
    The Iron Faerie
    The Trisimene Winter
    The Legend of Reduldas
    The Night of the Spirit
    The Pillana Master
    The Prophecy of Pilmene
    The Orbar Wizard The Repetidian Sun
    The Rogue and the Master
    The Rune Ruby
    Unholy Heart of Egibar
    Valdiriel's Spirit
    Winter and Prophecy
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