Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday #67: Picking Titles

You can find the challenge here: YA Highway

The prompt for this week asks how we pick our titles.

I'm going to write this from a choreographer's perspective, because I've titled more dances than stories.

Usually when I'm choreographing a dance I have no idea what I'm going to call it. I don't decide until the very last minute. I don't like to use song titles as dance titles. It feels like the easy way out. Occasionally a song title will be so good that I have to use it. (example: Furnace Room Lullaby. How could I not use that title?) But, mostly I try to come up with something new.

In one of the shows I produced each dance was named after a type of tea. This made titling a bit easier. Some of my favorite names still come from these dances. Earl Gray Arsenic Tea was set to a slightly off pitch German song. Dragon Eyes Black Tea was a trio with creepy hand gestures.

Crazy Heart is one of the classic dances. Yes, I titled it prior to the movie. The title is a translation of Spanish lyrics. I like it because it perfectly expresses the movement. Crazy, over-dramatic, romantic, and fun.

Usually when I have to title a dance, I sit in front of a word document typing a bunch of random phrases. Sometimes I'll translate a phrase into another language via babel fish, then translate it back to English to see what changes. I mess around with a lot of adjectives. Many of my titles consist of an adjective and a noun. I use a thesaurus. I consult with my dancers to see if any of them have interesting ideas.

Ooh, one of my other favorite titles from way back: Green Ping Five. Love it.

Titling isn't something I enjoy. Occasionally a brilliant idea will pop up, but most of the time my titles are merely sufficient.

What about you? What is the best title you've ever come up with? Do you like naming things?

By the way, if you're up for it, I'm doing a Smashwords expedition in the entry below and I'd love your involvement. I'll be updating it periodically.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Dragon Eyes Black Tea is an awesome title. It definitely coveys creepiness!

    (I'm now a follower, btw. Really enjoying your blog!)

  2. I never thought of going through Babel fish for titles. I should try that next time.

  3. I'm not good at titles but I'm getting better at it. A title for a picture book I was working on came from a non writer friend when I told them about it.

  4. I'm in love with the Early Gray Arsenic Tea title. That just sounds like something awesome :) I like how you go about getting to titles, too. I might try that language translation idea. Pretty clever!

  5. I love your take on this topic. It's fun to read about your dance titles. My favorite: Earl Grey Arsenic Tea. That sounds really cool.

  6. This was so fascinating! And I LOVE that you're a choreographer! I dabble a bit myself - choreographing high school musicals and I tap. BUT I never heard such an interesting take on titles - wonder if my dance teacher does the same. Hmmmm.

  7. You are great at titles! Me, not so much. My titles will change ten times before one sticks. It's a slow and painful process.

  8. I love the idea of dances named after types of tea!

    And I'm definitely going to have to try your Babel Fish idea. It would be great for poetry as well.

  9. Oooh, Green Ping Five sounds cool! :)

  10. ^^ Love the translation idea-- and the tea-themed dances!