Writing Titles – a 2021 Update

In 2014, I wrote a post about writing titles, based on a Facebook post I had written five years earlier. I think it’s time I did an update, as fashions in titles for genre novels has changed.

Longish titles are back in fashion. This isn’t to say that one word titles have disappeared. However, the longer titles are no longer as rare. Last year, among the most acclaimed speculative fiction genre novels were How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang; When No One Is Watching: A Thriller by Alyssa Cole; and The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. As you can see, a long title is no longer an outlier on the bookstore shelves. Feel free to give your own stories detailed titles.

I said in my previous post: ‘What a writer wants from a title is a cluster of words that are memorable. Something that encompasses the theme of the work, without giving too much away.’ These longer titles may give away a smidge more of the story, but still are memorable and distinctive. And that’s what a good title should be – something that makes it easy for your audience to remember when they are looking to talk about it or recommend it to friends.

It used to be the Victorians who favoured long titles for their fiction. Not any more. Everything old is new again.

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Filed under The Writing Life, Titles, Writing Style

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