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Chapter Titles

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:55 pm
Stori says...



This is one of my pet peeves when using the computer to write. I'll usually choose a boring or irrelevant title just so the document can be saved. Does anyone have a strategy for naming chapters/documents?




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Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:45 pm
Rosey Unicorn says...



I usually come up with a one to three word summary of what's going on in the chapter, if I decide to name it. Sometimes I come up with names and keep them in mind for plotting purposes, because it sums up the contents rather well.
You know you're a writer when you're not alarmed at hearing voices in your head, you can't read a book without analyzing it for plot & characters and you consider something you nearly killed yourself to write the most rewarding.

Guilty as charged.




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Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:17 pm
RachaelElg says...



I don't know what I'll do with my current novel, but in previous novels I'd usually wait to name a chapter/document until I the title occurred to me, as it usually would. But, I always saved the document originally as "Part 1", "Part 2," or "Chapter 1," "Chapter 2," anyway, and later, when the title came to me, I'd make it "Part 1" or whatever title it was. Having the Part #/Chapter # structure kept things nice and organized in my files, but I still got to name them.

As for how I came up with the actual name...I don't know. I write by plot lines instead of plot points like normal people, so Rosey's content method doesn't work too well for me... usually. More often, there'd be some sort of thematic element that kept occurring, so I'd use the symbol. Or there'd be some sort of problem presented or solved, and so I'd research something from mythology and find a name that applied. And thus, in general, I guess I went for titles with meaning, with each chapter/part a mini-novel of sorts.

There were a few times when I went with something more plot-oriented. In one of my novels, there's a Part where there's a gigantic rainstorm and a massive flash flood as a result, and so the Part was named "And Not A Drop To Drink" because there was water, water everywhere.

So, that's what I did. That, and I'd always try to avoid titles that'd give away what happens, titles that'd make since once you got to the chapter or maybe not even until you finished the chapter or the novel. Mainly because, as a kid, I spoiled Harry Potter for myself multiple times when I'd read the Table of Contents ahead of time. I vowed that I'd never a) read the Table of Contents again and never b) have chapter names that gave everything away.
If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
—James Thurber




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Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:04 pm
Dynamo says...



The only title I ever concern myself with is the title of the book. In the first draft of my book when I first started experimenting with my story idea I liked to put titles for each chapter. At first I thought the titles I made were clever, but as time went on it started getting harder and harder to think up titles until it became more of a chore than it was worth. Now, I just put "Chapter #" at the beginning of each chapter. Another reason why I choose not to give chapters individual chapters is because it can tip off the reader to an approaching conflict or plot twist.

But if you're looking for a strategy for writing chapter titles, it's really just as simple as making it something that corrispondes with whatever is happening in that chapter.
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Take that, science!