Posted by: Phil Anderson | November 17, 2014

The Title Caught My Eye

Last week Disney and LucasFilm announced the title of the next Star Wars film, due out just over a year from now. It will be called (trumpet fanfare) Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In the days since the big announcement, I’ve enjoyed reading reactions to the title from various places around the internet. Not because I’m a die-hard fan of the franchise (although I do enjoy the series so far) but because of the in-depth analysis that goes into analyzing the title and parsing what it means.

What is a title for? What does it do? What makes a good title?

A title is basically part of marketing. At most publishers and movie studios, the marketing people decide on the title. It has to catch the attention of a potential buyer/reader/viewer and make them curious enough to go the next step and pick up the book or movie. It has to sum up the whole work in just a few words without giving too much away. It makes a promise to the consumer about what they can expect.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a good title. It raises questions: Has the force been asleep? Why has the force been dormant? What happens when it awakens? Presumably one can only find the answers by seeing the movie.

The title of my first book, Pirate Journey, tells the reader fairly clearly what to expect. The characters are on a journey, both physical and moral, working at honest business and trying to live a good life, but tempted by the lure of piracy.

The working title of my work-in-process is Conquest of Theran. The story (or series) is about a trio of characters trying to protect their kingdom from those trying to usurp control. The title may be a little vague and maybe there’s something better. But it’s a good description for now.

What titles catch your attention when you’re looking for a book to read or a movie to watch? What is it that piques your interest? Have you ever been disappointed by a story that didn’t live up to the promise of its title? Let us know by leaving your comments below.

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