Draft 0

When writing there is the initial problem of what to call the manuscript. A working title should always be something that you as the author are not attached to. That way, when the manuscript is finished and goes through editing, you won’t get emotional when the title is scrapped.

Even so, it’s nice to have some backup ideas of a potential title. You want to grab that publisher’s attention and Draft 0 just isn’t going to cut it.

A working title should describe the entire manuscript in a couple of words, generate interest, and start with a letter that sits in a good spot on the shelf. Before you start to come up with one for your piece, be sure that you have a clear understanding of the central thesis of the piece, the themes, your point of view on your thesis, and basics such as character and place names.

As an example, I’m going to use an already published title, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and rework it into different potential titles.


Personal Name: for a character driven novel use the first name (only use the last name if it is famous).



Place Name: the central place of the text.

District 12


High Concept: a combination of descriptor and noun that describes the main message.

Burning Hunger

Emblem: a specific detail from the text.

Girl on Fire

Sculpting 02 - Girl on Fire (Katniss Everdeen)



Paired Emblems: contrasting emblems that show the central paradox in the text.

The Girl on Fire and the Boy Who Disappears


Sentence Fragment: a phrase/clause cut short that picks up the emotion of the text.

All For Her Sister

Pun: a play on words that describes the thesis.

How Katniss Cared


Humour: a joke that shows the author’s point of view.

Don’t Eat the Berries

These were just a few examples of how to come up with a working title. If you have any questions please email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *