The Title or the Story: Which came first?

It’s something I find interesting to hear from other authors. Did your story stem from the title you came up with, or did your title inspire the story in the first place?

Some create their new world full of characters that’s all their own, and the title stems from the story itself. Others become inspired by their title, and the story starts from there, taking on a life of its own.

For my book, it was the story that inspired the title, though I wasn’t even thirty pages in when the title hit me full force out of nowhere. It helped inspire the story even further and ended up foreshadowing a theme I hadn’t even realized I’d begun.

Has that happened to you, or are you still stumped with what to name your work? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on this, fellow authors!




Filed under Writing

5 responses to “The Title or the Story: Which came first?

  1. It is a perplexing quest. Just like the chicken came before the egg, I find it easier to write the story first and the title last. To me, the chicken is the plot, and the title is the name of the plot’s egg.

  2. It depends. For academic papers, oftentimes, it’s the title that comes first–a witty take, usually, but for short stories…usually the title comes last.

    • It’s interesting to me that it’s often the title that comes first for you on academic papers, but not for short stories. Proves inspiration comes in different places for different things. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Carol Smith

    What I meant was the metaphor of the plot (chicken) and the title coming afterwards – the egg.

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