Need advice


Hey, all you geniuses. And all you hard workers who surpass geniuses. And any random armchair critic with an opinion. I’m talking to you!

I suck at titles. How do you come up with titles? Usually with poetry I can cheat and use the first line, thus not having to really title anything at all. I’ve only ever really written one title of which I’m proud. Everything else has just been a filler line to remind me of what the contents are, and has no real impact or meaning to the story.

If it helps you to have an example, this story had no title. I literally blanked out and gave up. That was my process. What would you title it? What is your thinking process? How do you do it!?














  • I think of my audience and then try to come up with a title that will interest them. Failing that, I try to come up with a title that describes the contents in a way that’s attractive to me.

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  • Writing great headlines is HARD! I think it best to consider how the headline will evoke an emotion – irreverent, curiosity, thought-provoking. I also prefer alliteration. Hope this is helpful!

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  • I am responding not because I am a genius but because I suck at titles too! My title is usually about the theme or topic of my poem or the last line. I know this doesn’t help but just wanted to let you know there are more like you!

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  • Sacrifice ~ title for your untitled piece.

    I am good with titles. Everyone says so. Feel free to ask me for help anytime ~

    Sacrifice is because of the double play. The mom sacrifices treatment to keep the college fund intact; then the son sacrifices his headache meds. Always go for layers of meaning. Try not to give away the ending however.

    I often use humor in titles, a serious title for a light piece and vice versa. A misdirect. It depends on my feeling about the tone I’d like to start with. The reader sees the title first after all.

    I also like alliteration.

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    • That’s a good title! That’s the kind of title I’ve been going with, if I manage to think of the perfect layered word. All too often it eludes me.
      Very good point about the misdirection! I find myself considering that every time I try to title something now. It’s added more possibilities. Thank you!

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  • Sarah, If I recall correctly — and I do — you helped me come up with a title for one of my posts last year. I believe I ended up calling the piece, “Itchier Than Sparkles in the Asscrack (Thank You, Sarah Silvey – not that Sarah gave me Sparkles in My Asscrack – She just came up with this title – which begs the question: Sarah, how many times have you had sparkles in your asscrack?)”

    It’s one of my favorite titles even if it is a little long-winded.

    With that said and all remembrances aside, I like to use a play on words when possible or a play on a common saying or innuendo or something where the meaning could have more than one meaning or even the opposite meaning. sometimes I steal the way someone else comes up with a title when it seems like a good idea for a specific post. I’ve borrowed from Big Bang Theory once or twice and also from Friends once or twice. So I’m hardly a genius or even good with coming up with names for my posts. Sometimes my posts have names that I can’t even pronounce, especially if they’re written in a different language than I speak.

    So however bad you think you are at naming posts, rest assured, my friend; I’m awful. Also, sometimes artists do title their works with “Untitled” and will often put a number after it such as “Untitled No. 42,” which of course, is the answer to everything. I hope this helps. If you ever need help with a title, you can run it by me anytime. I really like Paula’s title, “Sacrifice.” That fits nicely with the story she’s referencing. I think “Need Advice” works well for this post. To the point. Sometimes that’s good. We have a common friend who I think got an idea for a title in a fevered dream not too long ago.

    Spend some time reading titles and think about what resonates with you and why. I think you have wonderful ideas and I know you’ll figure this out! Hugs, Mona

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    • Thank you Mona! Look at us, the blind leading the blind here, helping each other with titles! The world will never be the same…
      I went and looked up some poetry titles as you suggested. I took comfort in the fact that at least half of them had really boring titles like Sonnet 23, or obvious titles like Annabelle Lee. The other half were amazing but I’ll just stick to low goals for now….
      Thank you!


  • Sometimes I leave the key line
    till last. Then that becomes the

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  • I always thought I was terrible at titles too, and still think that, but I think they do help draw the reader in. Your Wood Child drew me in, as did Feral Muse. Both were intriguing. A bit of intrigue helps. I often start with something and change it by the time I’m finished, which sometimes means that it’s saved under a title that it is no longer its title but oh well. Usually I try to think of what will make someone want to read the piece. Simple as that. Will someone keep going once they read the title? Same for the first few lines actually, but that’s somewhat different. Like a first impression — if someone meets me, do they want to keep talking to me or do I get the idea that they have better things to do. I do like Sacrifice, very fitting, though I had read the story, and read it again before reading comments and the title that came to me was As Tough As Mom. Most people have a mom (or a mom image) so that is a relatable point. (Once I was watching a harassment awareness video with a group of new hires and the guy in it said, “If you wouldn’t say it to your mom, you probably shouldn’t say it.” One lady in the group said, “You don’t know my mom.”) There was also the repeat action on the part of the son, trying to live up to/ follow her example.

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    • You think you’re terrible at titles too? I never would have known. I like the title you made! For some reason I’m always stuck on one- or two-word titles. I forget about whole phrases or concepts as titles. Thank you!


    • Also, great point about making it compelling. I am asking myself that question now whenever I title something, thank you again ❤️


  • i usually think of a title i really like & then try to write a story around it. i tend to do everything backwards though. mostly, i’m just trying to make myself laugh. (i know this was thoroughly unhelpful…but didn’t want to ignore the question)

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