01 July 2012

Good Titles

I've written a couple of times about my problems with titles. My very first post about 18 months ago was on trying to come up with a name for the blog.

Over the weekend we've watched some films from a few years ago, one being State and Main.  I was wondering what the film title meant, and how it fitted when I got the answer. The car accident happens on the corner of State and Main, and later the accident becomes a pivotal point of decision and change for the character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. I liked it the way they used an almost insignificant item (intersection of two roads) as the title of the film, as what it stands for becomes highly significant.

That got me thinking about other film and book titles that I've liked for various reasons. The ones I've mentioned here aren't necessarily the greatest films or books, just that the titles have resonated with me for various reasons.

Back to the Future - the film has been around for so long and we're all so used to the title we don't think about it, but initially it took me a while to get my head around the idea of going back to the future, after all don't we go forward to the future.

I liked these next titles because they pull together items that don't usually belong together, but have meaning in the film/book. The Hurt Locker. The Devil Wears Prada. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I thought The Time Traveller's Wife was an excellent title as the idea of time travel is always an interesting one, but this adds something more specific. Who is the time traveller? Who is his wife?  What impact does the time travel have on her/them?

Thank you for smoking - a twist on the usual sign - Thank you for not smoking.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - we're used to Lonely Planet Guides, and travel guides to various countries, but the Universe!  Though obviously the title does need to have something to do with the book content, rather than just being a brilliant title.

Looking at these titles, and the reasons I think they worked, gives me a few pointers for selecting a title. Taking a critical choice or action from the manuscript, or looking at disparate items/names/places and using them together. 

Now I'll have to get working on a title for my current work in progress!

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