Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's in a Title?

A title is crucial.  Whether it's for a story, book, movie, or article, that small collection of words needs to reflect your work while attracting your audience.  That's no small task.

I remember one of my philosophy professors in college had a bit of an obsession with titles.  He even wrote his own epitaph for his gravestone and shared it with the class. I guess he wanted to be in charge of summing up his own life, and I can kind of understand it.  This professor also had a passion for subtitles.  He liked to give things lengthy subtitles, which if nothing else, made papers and books sound more intelligent.  I'll admit there's something catchy about them.

Now here's my predicament.  I've already mentioned on this blog before that I'm hoping to self-publish a book sometime in the near future.  Right now I'm in the middle of learning about the process.  I have a good idea how I want to go about doing this, though I have plenty of writing and revision left to do before I even get that far.

Though I'm nowhere near done with the writing process, I'm already agonizing over the title.  It's a compilation of a few stories, including the short novel that I used to post for the Hookers and Hangers Blogfest.  These stories are all science fiction, but they have something else in common, and that theme is something I want to express through my title.  I feel like having the title will help me keep that theme in mind as I keep working and really help me concentrate on the elements of these stories that I find most important.

So here's my idea for a title, and I welcome any opinions.  

Prices Paid

I like a short title, and I have a thing for alliteration.  I think this one rolls off the tongue well enough.  In this book, the stories each illustrate something that is lost or sacrificed when something changes, whether it be public policy or the way a certain kind of technology is used.  When society changes, there are beneficiaries, and there are those who pay the price for that change.  There is always a price to pay.

Anyway, that's my idea.  Is the title a good one, or should I change it.  Would a subtitle help me better make my point, or would it just be cumbersome?

Would anyone like to share their favorite title (from movie, book, anything really) and say why it works? 

Oh, and before you go, can you tell me which of these you like better?  The Great Divide, or Divided We Fall.  They're the possible titles for the short novel in this compilation.  I think they'd both work, but I'm struggling to decide which would have more impact.



  1. I am terrible at coming up with titles and they usually just come along during the editing process or randomly pop into my head. I like Prices Paid, as you said it rolls off the tongue nicely. Between the other two I prefer The Great Divide, but that's just my opinion :P
    Good luck with self-publishing :)

  2. I'm really bad with titles, I usually just go with the obvious. I like Prices Paid, it makes sense with the theme of your stories. I also prefer The Great Divide, it just sounds better to me :)

  3. I may not be the best at titles, either. I'm not sure Prices Paid is the best, though. Is there some sort of symbol that stands out as important in the story? You might consider using that as the title. Titles sometimes work best the more concrete and tangible they are as concepts, something we can envision in our minds.

    The Great Divide is a good title.