A story never seems quite concrete until it has a title. Download this worksheet to help you brainstorm some ideas. If you’re working on a series, this worksheet can become a valuable reference for generating further titles, so keep it safe!
How to Find a Story Title
A title serves as more than just a convenience. It can also:
- Hint at the story’s plot. (A Series of Unfortunate Events; Things Fall Apart; Death in Venice; Looking for Alaska)
- Tie together or bring to light themes that are central to the story. (Pride and Prejudice; War and Peace; The Bell Jar; Gone With the Wind)
- Give the reader a sense of the story’s genre. (Cotillion; The Silmarillion; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
- Indicate the central character or group of characters. (The Great Gatsby; The Handmaid’s Tale; Dombey and Son; Ulysses, Frankenstein)
- Indicate the story’s setting or milieu. (The Two Towers; Pompeii; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Memoirs of a Geisha)
- Allude to a key text. (His Dark Materials; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Stranger in a Strange Land)
- Pique the reader’s curiosity. (The Body in the Library; If on a winter’s night a traveller; The Neverending Story)
Sub-titles are also a valuable opportunity to provide more information about a story, especially its genre. For example:
- Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
- She: A History of Adventure
- The Monk: A Romance
- Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy’s Progress
- The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer
P.S. If you are in need of more titular titillation for sci-fi, steampunk or regency, my genre mindmaps can help.
P.P.S. Need help with character names? Here’s a worksheet for that.