Post no. 755

Why is it often such a nightmare trying to come up with the right title? Why can’t I just call my next article “Article no. 25,” my next short story “Short Story no. 3,” and my next novel “Fourth Novel,” and the one after that “Fifth Novel”?

Don’t you think that has a ring to it? Sixth Novel by Justine Larbalestier.

Or, better still: Two Hundredth and Twenty Seventh Novel by Justine Larbalestier.

Or, how about: Just read it, already! by Justine Larbalestier.

Or, It’s a Book, Stupid. What did you think it was? by Justine Larbalestier.

Stupid titles. I kick them all.


  1. Rebecca on #

    yeahhhhhhhh!! i likes the last one best. hehehehe. makes me laugh. titles are annoying. i call one of my wips “that damn vampire book.” because it is about vampires and it has been a source of writerly frustration for almost three years now. ha. and my nanowrimo novel will be called “the high school book.” because it is a book. about high school. yesss.

  2. lili on #

    oh i hear you. hate titles. hate them so much.

  3. Tole on #

    I’ve always loved your working titles, you should stick with them πŸ˜€

  4. Edward Willett on #

    The contract for my upcoming DAW novel Marseguro just read “Untitled Science Fiction Novel.” I asked if I could keep that as the actual title but they told me, no, they had too many books by that name in the works already… πŸ™‚

  5. Brooke Taylor on #

    Just read it, already!

    I like it, I’d read it for sure…but if I did–would that make me a spineless wimp?

  6. Gabrielle on #

    Hehe. I like “just read it already!” I hate having to come up with titles too. It is trΓ¨s annoying. I think it’s because I’m too perfectionnist. I hates it when my title isn’t perfect.

  7. Dawn on #

    I like the last one the best I think. πŸ™‚

  8. Kadie-Wa on #

    i like the last one the best too!! but i totally luv them all. πŸ˜›

  9. ariel cooke on #

    Oh, but titles are so important, justine. don’t you sort of figure out what you’ve written when you come up with the title? it puts it all into perspective. that’s why it’s so hard.

  10. kim on #

    i hate titles too. i school we have timed writings and our teacher tells us to call them timed writing and the number or TW#_.

    so much easier than having to came up with a title based on the prompt.

  11. Rebecca on #

    General Question!!: what are some of everyone’s favorite titles? could be famous, infamous, or a story you wrote, even.

    I like “sixth novel” actually. names are certainly tricky tricky things. I think that’s why I see so much fic named from songs (heck, even i do that). but honestly, it’s a hard thing, because you have to find a defining moment in the book, or an overarching theme, or even the most seemingly mundane factoid to create a really great title.

    I love the title “The Illustrated Man” which is Ray Bradbury’s amazing collection of short stories. the title really captures the preternatural aspect of collection’s bookended segments. “Catch-22” (Joseph Heller) is lovable because now it’s been integrated into everyday language. I love love love “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. It’s a great title! “The Threepenny Opera” or it’s German equivalent by Brecht because it’s classic. And “the wonderful story of henry sugar: and six more” by roald dahl (who makes me sooo happy) mostly because the wonderful story of henry sugar is practically perfect in every way.

    Ayn Rand’s “atlas shrugged” and “anthem” [although i haven’t read the former, the latter is breathtaking] “And then there were none” by agatha christie. and so so many by Joyce Carol Oates: “zombie”, “because it is bitter, and because it is my heart”, “the collector of hearts”. “their eyes were watching god” by zora neal hurston. and perhaps the plays “ripen our darkness” by sarah daniels and “blasted”, “crave” and “cleansed” by sarah kane.

    because this is so long, i won’t jump into poetry. okay, maybe one: “admonition” by sylvia plath because it’s simple just like the poem.

    lastly, of my own scribblings I like “Broken Temple, NY” for some reason, and this monologue I wrote about pigeons. It, however, has no title.

  12. Courtney-chan on #

    oooh, that”s a great idea! ^_^ lol. begin un-original to be original!!!

  13. ariel cooke on #

    joyce carol oates’s titles annoy me because they’re so title-y. (trying too hard.) random titles i like: moon for the misbegotten. the left hand of darkness. how the garcia girls lost their accents. flash of the spirit. my best title for my own work was weavings of war.

  14. Rebecca on #

    I’m surprised you don’t like jco’s titles. i don’t really think they’re title-y. ah well, to each her own.

    I am moved by the titles, though i’ve not read either, “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” and “the unbearable lightness of being”

    there’s another play with an unbelievably long name that i can’t recall, but i remember being completely flummoxed and overwhelmed by the title. alas.

  15. O.G.N. on #

    You could always imitate Isaac Asimov. Every hundred books he indulged himself and just numbered the book.

    Opus 100

    Opus 200

    Opus 300

  16. Lizzy-wa on #

    ok. im gonna have to go with “just read it, already!” or “It’s a Book, Stupid. What did you think it was?” or maybe even “sixth book” by Justine Larbalestier. yeah won a those. nice ring doesnt it? i sure would read a book that started yelling at me. hehe.

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! 8)

  17. ariel cooke on #

    rebecca, you wouldn’t by any chance be thinking of the wonderful “oh dad, poor dad, mama’s hung you in the closet and i’m feeling so sad”? it was very silly and 60’s ish.

  18. ariel cooke on #

    p.s. i also just hate JCO because her books are so mercilessly depressing. i can feel my will to live slipping away as i read them. so i don’t.

  19. Rebecca on #

    Ariel, why no. That’s definitely not the play I’m thinking of. But it sounds… well, it sounds less depressing than ‘night, Mother actually was. Sigh.

    okay, and to your jco remark, life is depressing. that’s just the way it is. lol.

    she does a good job at depressing, but if you don’t like the sad, I’d try her horror/scary stories. They are soo so sooo good. “Collector of Hearts” is a collection. They’re terribly disturbing.

  20. capt.cockatiel on #

    I am not good at titling anything I write. But after a while the title grows on me and suddenly it seems amazing and perfect and them someone says, “Well, what’s the book called, then?” And they laugh. Or tell me I need a new title. Sad.
    I like “Sixth Book,” personally.

  21. Caroline on #

    i’m not sure but maybe its an aussie or kiwi thing? i’ve never been able to come up with great titles though yours are good! i’m a new zealander and we do make jokes here about how we aren’t great at naming things especially places. we tend to go for the obvious name, eg. bridge 1, bridge 2. that’s probably why i liked “sixth novel”, nice and simple.

  22. mark on #

    “This book needs no title” is a book about logic games (I think) y Raymond Smullyan. He also wrote “What is the name of this book?”

    “Just read it already” sounds like the name of one of those cheesy self-help books from the ’90’s.

    “sixth novel” sounds like a story that countains at least six novels. Maybe a murder mystery where the killer imitates the kinds of murders in six murder mysteries; maybe a Bridget-Jones-esque romance where over the course of the novel, the heroine writes six progressively happier novels and has found the right guy shortly after finishing #5. Maybe a bizarre fantasy story about something else entirely. It also reminds me of the beginning of “Kill Bill”; everytime I see that line, I think, “What were the first three?”

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