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When I write short stories, novels, novellas and poems two areas I always struggle with are titles and endings. Okay let’s be real, we know I struggle with a heck of a lot more than that, but for the sake of this blog post let’s stick with those two.

What’s in a name?

I can get away with not naming my poems if a good title doesn’t come to me or if it doesn’t need one. And maybe not having a name works for celebrities too — remember this guy?

Image of Artist Formally Known as Prince

But it would be hard to market a story called ‘Novel Formerly Known as WIP #2.’ Usually, I keep writing hoping something a character says or does will spark a good idea for a title, though this tactic hasn’t worked so well for my two recent novels. At least with the current one (WIP #2), I’ve got all of Part III to go for a good title to reveal itself.

How does it end?

I hate to admit it but I usually have no idea.

As someone who is in-between plotter and pantser I have a general idea of where my stories are heading but I often only have a vague, hazy idea of how they will end.

Woman looking crystal ball

Except last week, out if the blue I saw it – a good ending for my current Work in Progress.  At least I think it’s a good ending but I won’t know until I actually write it out.

I’ve jotted down the idea in my journal and when I get to that scene in my first draft I’ll turn to it and see if I still think it will work for the story. I’ve made a lot of progress with this story though I feel like there is so much left to tell. I’m hoping that having a clear ending in mind will help me close the distance to ‘The End.’

That movie stole my idea!

Ever watch a movie and think to yourself, ‘Hey, that’s my story idea!’ This happened to me recently and it made me question whether I should even bother writing it. I came close to giving up and had to really think myself through this feeling.

I know they say there are no original stories out there. That most are just retelling of other stories but when you see your idea (the one you’ve been working on since way before the blockbuster movie came out) up there on the big screen, it’s hard not to be discouraged.

I gave myself a reality check. I thought about authors who write about time travel or love and romance. These are common themes and yet they can be written it in an original way. I had to get over my reaction and tell myself to stick with it.

I have to tell my story my way and let the readers (if I ever have any) decide what they think of it. Anyway, although my concept was in this movie (which shall purposefully remain nameless) it played a fairly small role, so I have no excuses! I have to keep writing and now that I actually have an ending for my story, I hope I can actually come up with a better title than “WIP #2.” Wish me luck!

Your turn:

– How do you decide on titles for your stories?

– Do you ever struggle with how to end your stories?

– Have any techniques to share?