March 19th, 2014

Leafy Oregano

Go Ahead — Write This Story: Titles

A good story or novel needs a good title. You might be able to take it from famous works in the public domain, like The Undiscovered Country (taken from Shakespeare) or For Whom the Bell Tolls (taken from John Donne). You might find a suitable phrase or expression inside the story, like “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” or The Color Purple. Or you can take key words from your work like names or themes and play with them, like Pride and Prejudice or “Sonny’s Blues.” (You can find an expanded discussion of how to find the perfect title here.)

If you need an idea for a story to title, here are a few:

• This is a young adult story (but not a dystopia) about a child whose IQ has been artificially accelerated and who can now memorize anything, but understands little – for example, the child can memorize mathematical theorems but cannot solve a math word problem.

• This is a gritty urban fantasy about a person whose mere presence makes people happy: a curse, perhaps, considering what happens when this syndrome and its cause become widely known.

• This is a space opera thriller about secret agreements meant to prevent another interplanetary war, but of course they only make things worse.

— Sue Burke