Finding a Title

Finding a title for a piece of work is one of the most challenging parts of writing for me. Sometimes, the title shows up just like that and there’s no doubt or question. But other times the title is elusive, refusing to be tied down.

So how can you discover a title?

Well, it’s not at all an easy process by any stretch of the imagination. I think a lot of times finding a title is more of intuition than any real scientific process. So here are a few brief ideas that can help in finding out a title.


  1. Is there something particular the reader needs to be thinking about while reading?   Titles set the tone for the entire story, it needs to be relevant and add something.
  2. The title should stand up on its own.   Don’t pick a title that’s weak and has to have the rest of the work to survive. They need to relate to one another but not have to support one another like a crutch.
  3. Think of the title as a type of landmark for your work. This is what people will refer to your work as, make it something good.
  4. Generally titles should be short.  Now this is not an always, but just a general rule of thumb.
  5. Engage the reader. The title should make your reader want to read.
Now, I admit I have a hard time with titles so I’m looking for some help. How do you come to a title?


  1. randallweiss Said:

    I don’t know that I agree with #2. If it’s too “strong” and specific, then it does all the work my writing should do.

    • True, I think there is a line between a title overwhelming and underwhelming something. I guess what I mean is that the title shouldn’t feel like an afterthought. It should belong there just as much as every other word. It needs to be equally strong.

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