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I've gotten pretty far into a story that I'm writing, but I can't for the life of me think of a name. I've never really been good at making names. Any tips on how I can come up with a good name for my story? It's a Fantasy if that helps.

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  • Hey, welcome to Writing.SE! Nice to have you here :) Be sure to check out if you're question has already been answered, especially with very common questions like this one, which has undoubtedly been answered on this site before (as linked to in F1Krazy's comment). You'll probably notice your question being marked as a duplicate soon, but don't feel discouraged by that. Just always check ;) – A. Kvåle Dec 28 '19 at 22:46
  • Ok, thanks for letting me know, and thanks to everyone else who helped me with thinking of a name. I may not have thought of a permanent name, but I have a good idea of what to think of and I am planning it out now. Again, thanks! – Kai Dec 31 '19 at 12:03
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Look at existing names, and try to figure out how they came up.

One strategy is to name it after your main character; in movies Superman, Indiana Jones. Hancock, Jerry Maguire, Erin Brockovich. In books, Harry Potter, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, Anna Karenina, [The Adventures of] Tom Sawyer, [The Adventures of] Huckleberry Finn, [The Adventures of] Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe. Carrie, by Stephen King. The Great Gatsby.

Or multiple characters; Little Women; which also conveys some theme of the book; young girls growing into adults. The Justice League.

Or characters indirectly: The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings. Divergent (unusual teens that do not fit into standard cultural roles and are therefore labeled "divergent" and may be killed for it.) Inglourious Basterds (intentionally misspelled).

You can name it after a theme: Star Trek, which Roddenberry originally pitched as "Wagon Train in the Stars", basically heroes encountering one-off stories on their travels (one-off meaning the central characters in each story seldom resurface, but there are recurring roles).

Or Star Wars; rebels fighting an evil overlord in sci fi setting.

Many books offer a name and a mystery: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone (Most Harry Potter stories are mysteries Harry must figure out to save the day). Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Your title is often about the theme of the story, or the central source of sparks and conflict in the story. "When Harry met Sally" is a romantic comedy named after the Inciting Incident in that story, literally when Harry met Sally (as college kids sharing expenses of a road trip, an opposites-attract love story).

Some titles are about the END of the story; Stephen King's "The Stand" is 700+ pages leading up to a final confrontation of good against evil, "The Stand".

But that said, your title doesn't give away the ending, it is just there to intrigue, and make readers curious what the story is about. It should be on point, meaning the Title should make SENSE when somebody reads the story. It should be relatively short, some say 7 words or less. Ten words is probably too many, but famous authors could probably get away with it (and dead authors).

Some titles include the setting, when the setting plays a central role in the stories: Star Wars and Star Trek and The Expanse come to mind. Or a character and the setting: Alice in Wonderland. The Wizard of Oz (movie) or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book).

Figure out what is most intriguing about your story. The main character? The setting? The mystery or problem to be solved? A McGuffin (a central object everyone wants, like Sauron's Ring, the Ark of the Covenant, The Sorcerer's Stone, etc). A relationship? (Harry/Sally).

The title is a tease, something to make readers wonder what the book is about, often with a curious allusion. (The Bourne Identity). It doesn't summarize the story, it often summarizes a juxtaposition or central conflict or crucial moment (When Harry met Sally).

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Wait until you finish writing. Then let it sit a couple of days and reread it. Often the name will jump off the page and smack you in the face.

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