The Perfect Title


OK. You’ve looked at your notebook which is brimming with random thoughts and ideas. You’ve decided on your characters, your setting, and your plot. You’ve sat in front of the computer screen. Getting going may have been difficult, but in the end you simply went for it. And now you have a story. It might need a bit of editing, but it’s coming along, and you’re almost/fairly/quite/very pleased with it. (If none of these apply, don’t give up. Put this story down to practice and experience.)

P1140933Before you send your story off to a competition, or read it out to your writing group, you need a title.

Finding the perfect title may be easy for some, but I speak as one who struggles with the task. In other words, I need all the advice I can give!


One or more of these perhaps:

  • Catch the reader’s interest

  • Intrigue the reader

  • Give a clue as to what the story is about

  • Tell the reader the theme of the story

A single word

Really good for echoing your theme; preparing the reader’s mind.




Two words, which could be words which don’t usually go together

Crystal Night

Ivory Bird

Rainbow Laughter

A phrase, perhaps from the story itself……

The Disaster Equation

Hitting Trees With Sticks

The Love of a Good Woman

…or perhaps a well-known saying, a title from a song or film……

(NB There’s no copyright on titles)

A Stitch in Time

The very Thought of You

Last Man Standing

…or something more unusual may be more appealing

Half-mown Lawn

Hitting trees with sticks

The Breakfast She Had

Family Furnishings

(The four titles above were chosen and used by Dan Powell, Jane Rogers, Zoe Lambert, and Alice Munro)


I know I’ll continue to struggle! Why is the perfect title so elusive? Too much choice? Nothing quite right? A reluctance to send the story out into the world? A fear that no-one will like it; that no-one will appreciate the effort that’s gone into creating it?

Do you find choosing a title easy? I’ll be interested in hearing your views.P1140195


Frog: (kindly demonstrating the perfect title:

The Days of Whine and Roses)

OK, they’ve got the joke. Now GET ME DOWN!