There is not a bit of creation that is not named. Can you imagine the task God gave Adam, the naming of every single creature?

Not having had children, I can only imagine the process parents go through when naming their offspring.

Biological children I do not have, but I do have children of another sort. Those that are just as agonizing to give birth to, my stories. And like children, I must come up with names, or more commonly referred to, titles.

Sometimes titles come early, sometimes they appear somewhere further along the process. I imagine when one has a contract with a publishing house, the title may be out of the author’s hands. But all writers have a working title. Sometimes it is the name of the main character, for example, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (my personal favourite), at times is an event, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, or something more obscure such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Recently, I sent my newsletter subscribers a short story that introduces the heroine of the novel I am currently revising in hopes of publishing it.

It took me a while to come up with the title, but eventually, events and themes within the story gave way to the formation of a title.

I have a few novel projects that I have started but are currently on hold whilst I try to have at least one finished and ready for public consumption.

My historical novel set in the twelfth century has had several working titles, none which I am happy with, so I know it will most likely change a few more times. When I actually start working on it again.

Another contemporary story has the title of the name of the main character. The title, or rather name of the person, became the theme of the story.

Titles are a rather intriguing concept. They must be short, simple, easy to pronounce and indicative of the genre in which it is written. That’s just to give you an idea of a few of the guidelines.

For those writers who write books in a series, coming up with a title can be two-fold; the series title, and the title for each individual book.

Such series examples are The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins or the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Each book in the series has its own distinct title, but the series is named after the first book in said series.

Presently, I am in this position, my current novel project is the first in a series. Now I have a working title for the first book, but as the second and third books are only vague ideas at this point, I don’t have titles for them as yet. I can certainly see the title of the first book is the overall theme of the series.

All That It Takes

I kind of like the title at this point as it works well for the overall theme of the series. A fellow writer suggested to me recently to google the title to see if there are any other books out there with the same title. I’m happy to report, as of this week, there isn’t. Phew!

My title is based on a popular quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Unfortunately, its attribution is not clear, it has frequently been attributed to the 18th-century Irish Statesman, Edmund Burke, but with no original source to verify. Scroll to the bottom of this page for possible attribution.

While I’m trying to give diligent attribution, I must thank Shakespeare for help with the title of this blog. See Romeo and Juliet for What’s in a name attribution.


4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name, or Title?”

  1. Titles are tricky to come up with. I had a working title for my manuscript (Murder at the Marina) which I always assumed I would change in due course, but, during the writing process, it somehow grew on me and now I’m keeping it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Ellen. I like the alliteration of your title. As I live next door to a marina, your title would grab my attention for sure.

  2. Hi, I had 3 titles for my first book,before I settled on the title it was published under: Encounters on the Frontline. It was more concrete than the other 2 options but still had a ring of mystery. What kind of encounters? What frontline? Now for my second book I have gone through 7 titles! Sitting with Almost There at the moment. Almost where? No, Almost There.
    Good luck with settling on yours, Kelly.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *