Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » question about a title for my story

   
Author Topic: question about a title for my story
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I’m getting my short story originally titled “After Life” ready to send off but I think the title is too bland. Here are a series of alternate titles I’m considering. I was wondering if any of them sound more enticing/interesting.

After Life
Crossing the Line
Stepping Back Over the Line
The Heir’s Hunt
A Hunt Among the Living
A Dark Day on Ymris
Hunting ReBirth
Losing One’s Self
It Happened Under the Red Sun
Redlight Is Always a Transition
Redlight Heralds a Transition

There aren’t 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).]


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
annepin
Member
Member # 5952

 - posted      Profile for annepin   Email annepin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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 Heir’s 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 One’s 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.


Posts: 2185 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With 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.

And yes, none of them is really a WOW!
The story is a rather quiet one on one level though it does have action in it.


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cheyne
Member
Member # 7710

 - posted      Profile for Cheyne   Email Cheyne         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
None of the titles you've mentioned really grab me.

How about shortening some as in--Under the Red Sky
or -- Stepping Back

You could use something like -- Redlight Transitions-- or --
Transition Line

The title needs to grab and refer to the story so I can't really offer better ideas without reading the story.
Good luck


Posts: 340 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rickfisher
Member
Member # 1214

 - posted      Profile for rickfisher   Email rickfisher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.


Posts: 932 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not too fond of the titles, either. These are much better because *I* thunk'em up

Life After (Or Life After Life)
Over the Line
Lifeless in Ymris
Red Sun Dark Day
Great Divide (Extremely different from "The Great Divide")


Posts: 746 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nothing really grabs me.

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.


Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
None of the titles really grab me either. To be honest I think this is (curse me if you will!) a pointless exercise.

As IB states above the title in my opinion should reflect and refract key elements of the story, making it an essential part of the the process of authorship.

Stringing together somewhere between one and five words to create something snazzy when you don't even know the story becomes pointless, fun (in a nano-fiction kind of way), but pointless.

Just my opinion.


Posts: 2995 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ArCHeR
Member
Member # 2067

 - posted      Profile for ArCHeR   Email ArCHeR         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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


Posts: 341 | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Antinomy
Member
Member # 5136

 - posted      Profile for Antinomy   Email Antinomy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"The Other Side of the Mirror"
Posts: 147 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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

Evocative, hmmm?

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited January 26, 2008).]


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
annepin
Member
Member # 5952

 - posted      Profile for annepin   Email annepin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.
Posts: 2185 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In my humble opinion, some of the best titles come from the author's explanation of the story:

quote:
it's not really "back" to where he came from but crossing forward into something new

So I'd recommend "Crossing Forward."


Posts: 8541 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
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.

...Unless it's a story about prostitutes.


Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
wet willy said...unless it's a story about prostitutes
hah hah

it's a story about redemption
no humans in it
some nudity though (not that the characters noticed that!)


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ArCHeR
Member
Member # 2067

 - posted      Profile for ArCHeR   Email ArCHeR         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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
Posts: 341 | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ArCHeR
Member
Member # 2067

 - posted      Profile for ArCHeR   Email ArCHeR         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Eh... it's kind of hard to say, really. It's about growing out of following and thinking for yourself and not letting the church do the thinking for you.

It's also about killing people and sucking blood.

So yeah...


Posts: 341 | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
smncameron
Member
Member # 7392

 - posted      Profile for smncameron   Email smncameron         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.


Posts: 161 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
shimiqua
Member
Member # 7760

 - posted      Profile for shimiqua   Email shimiqua         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Archer what about

Faith Sucks

I think thats funny
~Sheena


Posts: 1201 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluephoenix
Member
Member # 7397

 - posted      Profile for bluephoenix   Email bluephoenix         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
'The Heir’s Hunt' is the only one that particularly grabs me. That said, it's quite a typical title, and might make your story blend into the crowd.

Without reading it, I can't really suggest any better titles I'm afraid .


Posts: 153 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ArCHeR, all I could think was: Take, Drink, for This is My Blood.
Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ArCHeR
Member
Member # 2067

 - posted      Profile for ArCHeR   Email ArCHeR         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, "Communion" would be a good title if it weren't for the theme of breaking away from others of the same faith (in a sense).

Maybe a sequel

And I still think it's odd to have two uses of the letter H so close like that. Maybe "The Heir's Search", or some other possibly more relevant synonym...


Posts: 341 | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm. How about "Converging Lives" --???

But that isn't very evocative of anything.
It only sort of means something: two people are going to run into each other.

Converging Dangerous Lives -- promises more, but it's awkward and still kind of...bland.

I'm really starting to like the long title --
When the White Sun Leaves the Red One Alone in the Sky

It's awkward, but doesn't it stir "something?" emotionally when you read it? More so than "Converging Lives" does?


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Merging is similar to converging, but is perhaps more evocative.

Merging Dangerously
Converging Dangerously
Crossing Dangerously

Some related terms: join, marry (as in Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"), mingle, meld.

This is pretty tough without more insight into the story.


Posts: 746 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rickfisher
Member
Member # 1214

 - posted      Profile for rickfisher   Email rickfisher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.)


Posts: 932 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Red Sun Alone

implies that it isn't always alone, maybe?


Posts: 8541 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not sure. Anyway, I think I'm going to go with plain "Redlight."

With the change in the opening paragraph, that makes sense moer quickly. It also describes a bit what happens in the story -- redlight:when people are confused and sometimes make bad choices.

A big thanks to everyone who helped me work through the title for this story. It's an important story for me and deserves as good a shot at publication as I can give it.


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2