Coming up with a good title for a book is the second hardest thing about writing. (The first? Writing the back cover blurb. Wow, I can write a 106,000-word, coherent, interesting story but the 106 words to describe it? Pffff…) That’s why I usually skip the idea of chapter titles. One title is hard enough.
There are, of course, rules about good titles. According to The Rules, titles should be…
- related to the plot
- devoid of uncommon foreign words
- devoid of made up words
Is it any wonder some of my works go through several versions of titles before we find a good one?
So, how did the Hugos & Nebulas in my challenge do?
- Dune: Hey. not bad. 6 out of 6.
- Left Hand of Darkness: 4 of 6. Sorry but I can’t give it short or plot related (unless you pick up on the obscure reference to the alien proverb)
- Gateway: 6 of 6.
- Fahrenheit 451: If you happen to know the spontaneous combustion temperature of paper, you’ve got 6 of 6.
- Starship Troopers: 6 of 6
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 5 of 6. Definitely loses on the length requirement, wow.
- Rendezvous with Rama: 5 of 6. “Rama” appears to be made up, but it’s actually foreign (The name of a Hindu god). Either way, it breaks the obscure (to most Westerners) foreign word/made-up word rule.
- Ender’s Game: 6 of 6, but iffy. Ender is the kid’s name.
- Ringworld: 6 of 6 If you count a made-up compound word built from common words.
- Dreamsnake: 6 of 6, with the same caveat as Ringworld.
So, really, the “experts” did a pretty good job with their titles.
Here are my existing and forthcoming titles. How did I do?
- Lines of Succession
- Remnant in the Stars
- The Hat
- The Last Mission
- The Loudest Actions
- The Condemned Courier
- Urushalon 1: Like Herding the Wind
- Urushalon 2: Into the Open
- Mindstorm: Parley at Ologo
- Jewel Among the Stones
- Hand Knocks
- The Fall of the Invincible Man
- Dragon’s Bane