Titles?

Sep. 1st, 2013 12:46 pm
ladytp: (by Giovanni de Campo)
[personal profile] ladytp
Snoopy

Hi all!

Moony's recent contemplation about the title of her fics made me wonder: How do you guys choose titles for the stories you write?

Is it a long and tedious process, going through multiple options, or is it whatever comes to mind first? Do you choose something that describes the story contents, or do you go with an abstract notion? I know many titles come from snippets of poems or songs - is that the way you go?

Just curious...

As I mentioned in my comment to Moony, I have deliberately named my stories as minimally as possible, using only one or two words (except the very first one, when I had no clue or idea or plan). I like the minimalist approach, although trying to come up with one word only that summarises the story is not always easy. Also, simple names are more common across the fandoms and can cause confusion, which I didn’t think at first. Who knows, eventually I may change tact and start choosing over-flowing, multi-sentence monsters that take half the page just by themselves!

Anyone?

Date: 2013-09-01 07:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maracuyakongeen.livejournal.com
I usually don't do much thinking. I've got a concept of a story, and then the title is suddenly there. For my last story I remembered how I learned "Beware of the dog!" in Latin in class, and I remembered a mosaique picture in my study book - and everything was settled. In other cases I don't even remember how I came to choose a title.
There is only one exception so far: my original story whose start I've posted here. For the first 50 pages I only used "fragments" as a working title, then I tried various titles, and nothing felt right. Only at a very late point I finally decided in favour of the one I use now, but as I said: that was an absolute exception.

Date: 2013-09-01 09:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladytp.livejournal.com
Oh, that's what it is! (Cave canem) For some reason I didn't really think much about what it could be, maybe 'Cave of the dog', LOL!

So how did you came up with the name, in the end?

Date: 2013-09-01 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maracuyakongeen.livejournal.com
It was pretty much the procdure I described above. I had a concept (= story set in ancient Pompeii), then I thought: "A title in Latin would be suitable then. Ok, what do you remember about it from your lessons? 'Canis' means 'dog'. Ah, there was this saying "Cave canem", I remember. Sounds fitting." That association chain was a matter of a minute. I've found that I often do it like that, often without noticing: concept, brainstorming, mindmapping, following one line of thought, result. I love mindmaps. *grin*

Date: 2013-09-01 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladytp.livejournal.com
Nice process - I too like mindmaps!

So how about your longer fic, I assume you mean 'The Day is Dark and Full of Questions'? References to R'hllor there, perhaps?

Date: 2013-09-02 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maracuyakongeen.livejournal.com
That title came into existence along with the idea about the story. "The Day is Dark" represents Sandor's blindness as well as the dark tone of the story, the "Questions" represent Sansa's choice as a husband as well as Sandor's insecurity of what is happening to him and how he should treat the Little Bird. Since it's still a WIP I cannot say any more. :-)
Come to think of it - I tend to use longer titles.

Date: 2013-09-01 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yavannie82.livejournal.com
Urgh, don't talk to me about titles. It's almost as bad as trying to think of a band name (and I've had to try and think of two of those as well, with pretty lame results).

Redemption Song. What the fuck was I thinking? Oh, I know what I was thinking, and it's a good song, but it's a shitty title. Can you change titles in AO3? Still, if you can, I wouldn't know what to name it.

The First Day of Spring feels better, and it's just about pretentious enough to go with the style of the story.

How did I choose them? I suppose it happened when I sat there, ready to post, and sort of just had to think of something.

I like your titles, lady. They're short, to the point, and give you a good hint of what you're going to read about. A lot of short titles come across as, hmm... Very brooding and angsty, which I find to be a bit off-putting. Yours don't, though.

Date: 2013-09-01 10:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladytp.livejournal.com
Yeah, it is funny how naming things sounds fun when you don't have to do it, but once it is in front of you, everything sounds bad... And not even talking about proper business or product names; all the good ones are taken and trademarks and such can really screw one over... Luckily those are not a hindrance in fanfiction!

Although - I wonder how well received a story in AO3 with a title "Bible", "Game of Thrones" or "Great Gatsby" would be...?

'The First Day of Spring' is a really good one and has a double-meaning as well; it is set on the first day of spring (I believe?) and it is all about a "day" (again, and again, and again) (now that I think about it, same as "The Wedding Day"!)

You are too kind to my titles! But I take the compliment anyway and embrace it against my chest...

(P.S. I have no idea if it is possible to change the title in AO3 - anyone else? Although it might confuse the hell out of readers, especially if it is an established fic...)

Date: 2013-09-01 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-moonmoth.livejournal.com
I think you can, but as ladytp said, it's probably a bit too late now ;)

Date: 2013-09-01 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-moonmoth.livejournal.com
Re choosing titles, I seem to have an all or nothing brain - I either know right from the beginning what to call something, and it often shapes the story itself, or I haven't got an effing clue and go through the entire thing right to the end not knowing. Usually at this point I run crying to my beta to lend me her imagination, and she always comes through. Alas, my novel has fallen prey to this brain!fail of mine, being about a third complete and still called Untitled.

As for where I get my inspiration, when I do come up with titles - song lyrics and poetry are good, yes, but I still try to use something that reflects the contents of the story. I am not fond of those long fic titles (often with parentheses... like these lol) that are just a random line of lyrics from a song that don't seem to have any bearing on that actual fic. I find they often just end up looking pretentious. But then, I have a pretty pretentious streak myself, so who am I to criticise...

Just over a third of my SanSan fanfic is also titled with a single word, so clearly I lean in that direction to a certain extent too. It does have a certain impact, I think. But if I were you, I wouldn't limit yourself to only ever using single words forever. Titles are important because they're often the first judgement people can make about your story, and whether or not it piques their interest. Personally I would always go for something interesting over something that fits a particular pattern.
Edited Date: 2013-09-01 03:56 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-02 11:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladytp.livejournal.com
I find they often just end up looking pretentious. I have to say I feel like that sometimes when viewing a title...but then again, if it has a link to something meaningful or important to the author, it's all good and I may just misjudge it because I simply miss that link...

And I agree it is not good to bind oneself to too strict rules! So my next fic could be called "Tame the ghosts in my head that run wild and wish me dead, should you shake my ash to the wind"... :-)

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