Iím getting my short story originally titled ďAfter LifeĒ ready to send off but I think the title is too bland. Here are a series of alternate titles Iím considering. I was wondering if any of them sound more enticing/interesting.
After Life Crossing the Line Stepping Back Over the Line The Heirís Hunt A Hunt Among the Living A Dark Day on Ymris Hunting ReBirth Losing Oneís Self It Happened Under the Red Sun Redlight Is Always a Transition Redlight Heralds a Transition
There arenít many other aspects to the story I can draw on for a title. After all, the title has to mean something in relation to the story.
[This message has been edited by arriki (edited January 25, 2008).]
I haven't read your story so I don't really know which one might resonate more. Since you asked, though, I'll choose just based on how the title affects me:
The Heir's Hunt--this has a sort of high-fantasy feel to it. A Hunt Among the Living--this feels a little more flexible in genre.
Other thoughts: After Life--cliche Crossing the Line--cliche Stepping Back Over the Line--a bit cumbersome The Heirís Hunt A Hunt Among the Living A Dark Day on Ymris--hm... "dark day" sounds a bit unsophisticated. Hunting ReBirth--not sure what this even means. Losing Oneís Self--cliche It Happened Under the Red Sun--too clumsy--what happened? Also, sounds a little like an Agatha Christie novel. Redlight Is Always a Transition--Feels unsophisticated. Redlight Heralds a Transition--a bit clumsy and too functional. Lacks artistry.
quote:Since the title is the first thing you read of a story, I'm looking for how much of a draw the these titles are. Whether they truly represent the story is an entirely different matter.
I couldn't disagree more. The title may incline people to read a story, but if the story isn't what the title led them to expect, they won't like it. They'll forget it. The purpose of the title should be to attract the people who will like the story, and as few other people as possible. That way all the initial word-of-mouth is positive. You also want people who like the story to remember the title. They won't if it isn't terribly relevant.
I'd suggest "After Redlight". It's not a grabber (but really, not that many people read a short story because of the title, they read it because it's the next one in the magazine, or because they've heard of it. For novels, it's more important from the start), but mention of redlight does permeate the story. It would work from the point of a person who just finished the story, liked it, and thought, "What was the name of this? Oh, yeah, After Redlight." I was originally going to suggest just "Redlight," but that would probably make people think of a certain district of town.
At LH, a while back, we were discussing titles and how we formed them. Some people choose a key phrase from the story; some pick the protagonist's name; some an event; some a metaphor; some the idea that sparked the story. While all methods work, someone quoted an author (I wish I could remember the exact quote and to whom it was attributed): The name should make the reader think consider the story from other aspects long after it has been read.
Whatever you do, don't use the Heir's Hunt. It feels like it should be alliteration so I just can't get past it. I can't get the image of a wig with a bow and arrow out of my head...
Anyway, After Life is just fine if you ask me. If you ask me, a good title should be short. There are plenty of classics in all mediums out there with long titles that are quite awesome (I don't count subtitles. Star Wars is Star Wars, not Episode _ the ___ ____ ____, and Dr. Strangelove is Dr. Strangelove, not Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).
That said, the name shouldn't be misleading and yet it should be vague. I'd also advise against introducing new terminology in the title if it's an awkward and/or bulky term. In other words, we don't know what the Matrix is, but matrix is a cool and easy word. If it had been called The Sub-Mental Transitional Mainframe Relay nobody would have bought a ticket.
That said, I'd go with something along the lines of:
After The Hunt Red Sun The Line Crossing The Heir
Just my thoughts... I love working out titles. I find it easier to write when I have a title. It helps set the mood of a story...
Heh... this gives me an idea for a thread in the other forum
The words/ideas which seem to come out best from the story are
Redlight Crossing After Life Hunt
Most of the other ideas from the story are too alien to evoke an image or feeling in an, ahem, "human" reader.
I think maybe some form of "crossing" is the way to go. It implies action, movement, a significant change.
Crossing Back -- ? Stepping Back Over the Line -- ?
Hmmm...but it's not really "back" to where he came from but crossing forward into something new.
Crossings -- ? Crossroads -- ?
Hmmm...bring in the redlight idea
Crossroads Under the Red Sun aack! Too unwieldy. Crossroads of the Red Sun better?
Once again, the title is static, but it flows when read out loud which is an improvement.
shorten it to -- Redlight Crossroads
A couple of paragraphs into the story the reader learns what redlight is -- when the white sun leaves the red one alone in the sky: redlight. A confusing time when day sight and heat sight are mingled, confusing these people's vision.
Redlit Crossroads -- ?
Long, but could I get away with -- When the White Sun Leaves the Red One Alone in the Sky
[This message has been edited by arriki (edited January 26, 2008).]
The term "redlight" immediately conjures up images of prostitutes, so I'd avoid it, even if you have a different definition for it in your story.
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Would you mind if I hijacked this thread for a similar cause of my own? I have a story about a Christian vampire whose name is Christian. I thought about titling it Christian, but I didn't want to bang it over the reader's head
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The only Christian vampire I ever saw was in a Japanese movie. He was the main character. They were running around crucifying Japanese christians...can't remember much else. It was very intense. Or how they finally killed him.
So what words/phrases/ideas are paramount in your story? Aside from Christian and vampire?
Hmmm..... Obviously it's hard to recommend titles when I haven't actually read the story. So any comments here are just extrapolations.
'red light heralds a transition' reminds me of my Grade 12 physics class. Under the doppler effect waves moving towards an observer will have their frequencies compressed (blue-shifted), while those moving away will have their frequencies stretched (red-shifted).
To make a long story short. Doppler Shift would be a good title for a story.
quote:When the White Sun Leaves the Red One Alone in the Sky
It's awkward, but doesn't it stir "something?"
I'm afraid it only stirs my "Are you serious?" response. It sounds, if anything, childish. Any of the others would be better.
As for Redlight sounding like prostitutes: anything that doesn't make clear that it's a time will have that effect, such as "Redlight Crossroads" (although that one actually sounds more like a stoplight). But I don't think a title that puts it in the context of a time would do that ("During Redlight", "When Redlight Falls", etc.) (Not suggestions, by the way, just pointing out that it's hard to interpret the Redlight in those as referring to the district.)