Titles are sometimes the strangest things. There are times when I’ll write an entire story and never come up with a title. In fact, my novel was half way through the editing process before I had a title for it, before that I just called it ‘the journal story’. Then there are others times that I have the perfect title, like above or ‘Dark Voices in the Deep’ and no story to go with it. In these cases I often try to write a story around the title (don’t worry, I’m not going to do that now), but that generally doesn’t turn out very well.
I’ve always found that a story, or at least the outline of a story, has to come before the title. I think, and this is just a guess, that this is because the story needs to be its own living, breathing organism. Trying to write a story to fit the perfect title doesn’t work well because you start from the beginning by confining the story. For instance, ‘the demon took it’ obviously has to be about a demon taking something. A story about ponies saving the world with magic rainbows doesn’t make a lot of sense with that title. Similarly, a title like ‘What Happened to all the Unicorns’ doesn’t really fit a story about dwarves slaughtering goblins.
So, how do you come up with a title? I have yet to figure that out. Maybe someday I will. Honestly, I keep meaning to rename Among The Neshelim to The Duty of a Priest, because I think that the latter is a better title. …I never get around to it though. However, I am firmly in the camp that argues that a story has to pick its own title. Almost every story has a name, sometimes its obvious, but sometimes it takes a long-time for the name of the story to reveal itself. However, I do think that there are some stories that don’t actually have names… and probably don’t actually need names. Crugg is a good example of this. Those of you who’ve heard Crugg will know what I’m talking about… those of you who haven’t aren’t missing much. However, when I first wrote the Crugg story I tried to give it a name. Actually, I forced a name on it that didn’t, and still doesn’t fit, because I felt like it needed a name.
However, the more I think about it, I realize that Crugg doesn’t need a name. It speaks for itself, it is what it is, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Every so often I run across a story like this. A nameless story that speaks in its own language, and then I wonder if the story ever had a name? I wonder if a demon took it?
… … …Do you see what I did there? Do ya? Do ya? Okay, you can laugh now.