Day 1: 10 Book Titles

If you missed it yesterday, I’ve decided to switch out my editor hat for my writer hat for a couple of weeks to follow a 12-day writing prompt challenge posted last year by Writer’s Digest. My goal is to get myself and others to think and write creatively, freely, consistently, and entertainingly for several days in a row. You can check out my plan here.

Today’s challenge was quick but more painful than inspiring: “Write 10 potential book titles of books you’d like to write.” Gulp.

books without titles

Give us titles, please!

I have to admit that I cheated a bit on this one, because there aren’t currently 10 books I’d like to write. Instead, I wrote multiple title options for a couple of books I’d like to write, ranging from cheesy (Feel My Hair in the Breeze) to boring (Blue Way). For some of those books, I’d like to see the story finished before I discover the title. My WIP, Moment of Fire, is the exception. The title came to me early on, and I can’t picture thinking of the book by any other name, at least while it’s still in my hands.

With only three novels even on my radar, I used the remaining few titles to label a story collection or two that I might write as well as a nonfiction short story that has been waiting patiently to be born. I’m not particularly happy with my list, but this was only the first day.  Titles aren’t supposed to be easy.

What about you? When do you come up with your titles? Where do they come from? I have some clients who work on picking the perfect title before they finish the first draft, but others make it clear that their title is simply a working title. Some even change it multiple times while I work with different versions of their book! I’d love to hear when and from where your titles come.

Do you have your own list of ten titles? Post your favorites in the comments! Then, come back tomorrow to see what happens when I try to create a character based on prompt #2.

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5 Responses to Day 1: 10 Book Titles

  1. Lara says:

    I don’t think that’s cheating! I plan on doing the same.

    • Elizabeth says:

      You’ve probably had more title experience than I have, both with writers you interact with and now your own work. Have you noticed any patterns of where they come from (and when)?

  2. Caity Buege says:

    I had similar troubles finding titles for books that don’t even exist in idea form. There were a few titles that I have had in my head, like “Memoirs from the Missionfield: Snippets and Stories from the Midwest to the Far East,” but most of them were made up on the spot and don’t make any sense, such as “A Game of Marbles.”

  3. SS Kuruganti says:

    Coming up with titles is one of the most difficult things for me! I, too, find that I need to finish writing the first draft before I can come up with the title – or discover it, as you say. Lovely description – sometimes it really does feel like the title was in my mind all along, just waiting until I finished writing. Sadly, such instances are vanishingly rare.

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