When I start a story, nine times out of ten, I’ve already figured out the title. Every once in a while, I end up having to change it midway through. (Forged in Flood, for example, was The Blacksmith even after I’d finished it then I had to change the title. The Misguided Confession also went through a name change midway.)
My latest holiday short story definitely fit into the one time out of ten.
It went through several different titles.
First, it was Screw You Santa Clause, but the story changed enough the title didn’t fit.
Then came a few different ideas I bounced around with my beta readers: Dim The Lights, Broken Baubles, Holiday Heartbreak. None of those fit the story that was developing. I find it really difficult to write without a title. Almost every time, I have a title beforehand.
So, three chapters into By The Fire, I just hated Broken Baubles as a holiday title. It wasn’t working. Every time I pulled up the word document, the title annoyed me so much.
I spent an entire day looking through holiday phrases, listening to songs, etc.
And then, By The Fire hit me.
It was perfect.
It said what I wanted to say. I wanted this holiday novella to be about romance and comfort. What’s more comforting than sitting beside a fireplace?
If you’re an author, do you start your story with or without a title already decided?