How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

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How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby UnseenTerryPratchett » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:36 pm

I need help with finding a title for a Wattpad story I am writing and I like Terry's titles so I just want to use his technique to decide one for mine. Thanks :D
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Dotsie » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:57 pm

Well, I should imagine that they just come out of the same brain as the novels themselves. I don't think there's any kind of formula. Sorry!
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:59 pm

There have often been stories that he was writing the book under another title and then the final title was chosen later. I'm trying to think of some examples, but can't at the moment. :?

I don't know how much say the publishers have. I know that with Bernard Cornwell's books (both published by Transworld here and Harper Collins in the US) he has had to change the titles on several occasions. So, for example: Harlequin over here was The Archer's Tale in the US. His book bout Azincourt was going to be called Slaughteryard, but was changed to Azincourt in the UK and Agincourt in the US. His book 'Captivate, Kill and Destroy' became The Fort in both countries.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby pip » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:24 pm

Never mad on the whole changing of titles from one region to another. It only causes confusion in the longrun.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby chris.ph » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:44 pm

ir certainly does when you find a book by an author youve never heard of thats really good then go and buy another book AND ITS THE SAME BLOODY ONE :twisted: its happenend to me twice now :roll:
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby ChristianBecker » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:21 pm

Yeah, used to happen when I bought Kishon books. Since they're all collections of short stories, you end up with the same or nearly the same collection under different titles.

On topic: Some titles are puns or allusions to other works, such as Equal Rites, The fifth Elephant and some others. But I wouldn't say there is a consistent theme that unites all the books. So you'll have to use your own imagination, I'm afraid.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby MongoGutman » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:09 pm

Back to titles - they should be easy, but I think a lot of people overthink them. I don't know what technique TP uses, but lets see - I'd say a good way is to ask yourself what the story is actually about and then encapsulate it in as few words as possible, possibly incorporating a well known saying.

A book about cinema - Moving Pictures
A book about witches - Wyrd Sisters (if there's any way you can pinch from Shakespeare do it.)
A book about the postal service - Going Postal

If the setting plays a large part then a phrase or word that brings to mind the setting

A book set in an ancient Egypt like society - Pyramids
A book set in an ancient China like country - Interesting Times.

- Or alternatively you could read your finished story through and go with your best line. I'm pretty sure some people do that, though nothing actually springs to mind.

I don't mean to pontificate, just trying to be helpful.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Molokov » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:56 am

I do recall that Interesting Times had the working title Unclear Physics - but I guess because the story became more about Rincewind in the Counterweight Continent and less about what the Faculty Wizards were doing, that Terry eventually went with the Chinese-Curse inspired title. At other times, he has mentioned working titles which did eventually become the final title, and a few times where it's changed (e.g. Dodger's working title was Happy Families).
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Toothy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:25 am

One example, Tony, is The Long Earth, which ran with the working title The High Meggas.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby MongoGutman » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:38 am

Another alternative is just to name, or give the nickname of the strong central character - The Hogfather, Reaperman, The Godfather, David Copperfield, etc.

or the opponent that the protagonist is faced with - Alien, Predator, The Mummy, etc.
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Tonyblack » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:08 pm

I think 'I Shall Wear Midnight' is a reference to the poem: When I am Old. :)
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Re: How does Terry Pratchett decide the title of his novels

Postby Del » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:05 pm

Not all book titles are a referal to the context of the book.....

For example .... I have a book called: The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing


girlsguide.jpg


The contents can be summed up by the author's note in the slipcover....

"I don't admit to myself what I'm doing when I put my bike helmet on and ride over to the bookstore. I pretend that maybe I;m getting myself another Edith Wharton novel. But I bypass Fiction and find Self-Help. Self-Help? If i could help myself I wouldn't be here. There are stacks and stacks of How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right!, and I take my copy up to the counter as furtively as if it were a girdle or a vibrator....."

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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