The Importance and Fun of Story Titles

The title of a story or book is like a headline. It either grabs you in some way (not literally, of course) … or it doesn’t. Take the following ten titles – what images, feelings, or questions do they bring to mind?

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Enchanted Wood
  • A Game of Thrones
  • The Kite Runner
  • A Discovery of Witches
  • Swallows and Amazons
  • The Winter Ghosts
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Gone With The Wind
  • The Hobbit

In my opinion, choosing a title for a book or short story can be almost as much fun as writing the story itself!

It got me thinking about how Ron and I came up with the titles for our published books and short stories.

 

The Cordello Quest

Cordello Quest

In the course of writing our first novel, the name Cordello popped into my mind from nowhere. That, of course, became the magical parallel world in which Keira unexpectedly finds herself.

It wasn’t until we’d finished the first draft and realised we wanted to ‘make this a proper novel’ that we considered what we’d call it! Having Cordello in the title seemed an obvious decision!

It took us a little longer to work out the rest of the title, one which we felt honestly conveyed the heart of the story.

The word “quest” conjures up a journey, a search … and, by extension, a seeker; that seemed to reflect both the story itself, and the alchemical process of writing our first novel together. We knew The Cordello Quest was perfect as soon as we hit on the combination. It was a keeper!

 

The House of the Stormwind and Other Short Stories

The House of the Stormwind and other short stories

We love this title, which was taken from our short story of the same name. The word stormwind was inspired by Welsh rock band Dare, who remain a firm favourite of mine!

I like the way House of the Stormwind inspires a sense of elemental power and mystery – perfect for a house which is seeking resolution to ‘the Stormwind curse’! The title certainly captured the imagination of some of our readers!

This title seemed a good fit for the book as a whole, right from the point we started bringing this collection of tales together.

 

Crystal, Fire and Water

Crystal, Fire & Water bold 1600

Our free ebook contains many micro-stories and four short stories of around 1000 words, but none of their titles felt right for the book. Perhaps that’s because Crystal, Fire and Water contains so many individual and diverse stories written over a number of months.

In this instance we therefore decided to entitle the book based upon a few of its themes: the fire of the trainee magician and of Three Matches; the water in which Keira and Jason see lovelight; the crystal cave which draws Keira’s attention and imagination inward.

 

Mosaic of Light

MoL Light Front JPG

The title of our second novel was a natural consequence of the story’s own progression. Although I don’t plan the novels, for once, I knew ahead of time that there would be a “mosaic of light” featured in the novel, and that it would be key to the story’s development.

So this time the title was fixed long before the first draft of the book was finished. Being a lightworker, it also felt really good having the word “light” in the title. Our cover designer certainly seized on that when he was crafting Mosaic of Light’s cover!

 

Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow

Dark Perfume 3D paperback Mock Up (cropped)

Dark Perfume is not the longest story in this collection of tales, but we believed it gave the right “feel”. (It also piqued Ron’s imagination when it came to designing the book’s cover, and I think he did a grand job!)

Light and Shadow also suggests to readers that in this volume of short stories, darker tales lurk between the lighter-hearted ones.

Here’s a screenshot of Dark Perfume’s Table of Contents.

Dark Perfume ToC

Of the 33 titles listed, are there any that you particularly like?

Many of the short stories we publish were originally written for Writers’ Circle meetings, where the word limit is 1000. Our year’s ‘schedule’ gives us a choice of two titles for each meeting; it can be surprising where a word prompt like this can lead for different writers.

Of those particular tales, some have retained their ‘original’ titles e.g. Rose Gold, Behind Closed Doors, Ebb Tide, The Wanderer. Other stories felt more comfortable wearing a new title e.g. The Wanderlust Girls, and The Quiet Invasion.

It can be fun to pick a title (either at random or by design) and let a story flow from there, just to see where it takes your imagination. It can be just as much fun to write an entire book and then ponder what to call it. 😉

At the end of the day, it’s all about the words, your imagination, and the pictures you make in your mind …

Which Lazuli Portals titles are your favourite(s), and what other book titles have teased at your imagination?

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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10 responses to “The Importance and Fun of Story Titles

  1. Great post, Jo and Ron. Of your novels, I love the title The House of the Stormwind best and loved all the tales within it. Dark Perfume is also a wonderful title and I must read that too, it’s on my Kindle, especially Of Ghosts and Moonlight. I love tittles too and often pick a book based on title only – found some marvellous reads that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it, Shani! I knew that if you commented, you’d mention The House of the Stormwind, haha. I hope you enjoy Dark Perfume when you get to it.

      There are some beautiful titles out, and, of yours, I particularly like The Haunting of Highdown Hall, and Rise to Me (that’s in my next-12-to-read folder, eek!)

      I’ve noticed a preponderance of ‘Girl’ titles lately – Girl Gone, The Girl on the Train, etc., and must admit that to me, they all sound a little too alike.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

  2. Fabulous. I couldn’t agree with you more about how visual titles are.

    Would it be ok for me to link your post on #TalkoftheTown on Saturday Jo? x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve made a note to myself Jo. No, no problem at all. You don’t have to do a thing 🙂 The linky is viewed between 200-400 times so hope you get a click through! x

    Like

  4. I really enjoyed this. You’re right, titles are SO important and can really draw you in. I’m about to start ‘At Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’. I’ve just got to find out why…I love Margaret Atwood’s titles: The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace, The Robber Bride…all so intriguing. #TalkoftheTown

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love the “popped into my head” moments, and agree: titles are important. So are covers. One of the things that drew me to your work is the word Lazuli and the color, since I’ve always loved lapis lazuli.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Natalia! Yes, titles and covers combined can make quite an impression, can’t they?
      I love the word Lazuli as it stands, but of course my love of crystals – and their prominence in the series – led to our trilogy/business name 😀 We don’t go far without our lapis lazuli stones! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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