It’s been a lot of fun to read how titles fit into everyone’s writing process. No matter where you are on the spectrum, it’s a great feeling to have picked out the right title for your story. Here are a few of my favorites, from my own stories:
1. Out of Shape, because it fits perfectly with the plot on two levels, one of which you can see right away in the first paragraph:
Thaddeus Pudgekin, middle-aged accountant, paunchy and balding, ran for his life through the gloom of Blackburn. Sweat plastered his thinning hair to his scalp and stained the underarms of his silk suit coat. Acrid air scoured lungs, blood bludgeoned heart and brain, skin strained against shirt. He cursed his flabby body and all the food it had ever consumed; the buckets of deep-fried eels, trays of trembling soufflés and luscious bonbons, even the two biscuits with his mid-afternoon tea.
2. Singing for the Enemy, because it contains one of the twists of the story. There’s a lot of things you can imagine doing for an enemy (all unpleasant), but singing isn’t one of them. It took me a while to come up with this one–Poisoned Lullaby was stuck in my head for the longest time–but I love it.
3. Here Comes the Bride. I took a well-known phrase and used it as a title for a story that twists the concept of bride walking down the aisle in a couple of different ways.
4. Beauty, Unraveling. One of my recent stories, a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t want to name the story just plain Beauty, because that’s overdone (and Robin McKinley wrote a novel-length retelling with that same title ). Then I noticed how much I used the words and imagery of coming apart, and this title was born. It’s literary-ish, which is a fun mask to don once in a while.
Have you come up with the perfect title? The one that completes the story, that zinged your nerves when it first popped up? Please do share.