Get Your Writing Gears Going: Titles

Get Your Writing Gears Going

Get Your Writing Gears Going

brainstorming ideas & finding inspiration for fiction stories


Today’s post is about titles. They are a great source of inspiration.


Even if you have some awesome ideas already, it’s fun to think of more. And, if you need some help getting started, this is another method that will help get your writing gears going.

How to Use Titles to Inspire Book Ideas

You can take any book or movie title and try to come up with your own idea about the story. It works best if you don’t know what it’s actually about. That way, your creativity isn’t limited or tainted by what you already know about the book or movie.


Shadows on the Lake is a title of several books. One is by Leona Carr. Another is by Giovanni Cocco. If you’ve never read a book with this title and you don’t know what it would be about, follow the steps below.

  1. Write the title on the top of a blank piece of paper. Think for a moment about what you think this book would be about if you were to read it.
  2. Write “plot” and then list three points for a story called Shadows on the Lake
  3. Write “characters” and then briefly describe three characters who need to be in this story
  4. Write “genre” and then list at least three elements that would be in the story that would help readers identify the genre
  5. Now that you know a bit more about your idea, write “synopsis” and then come up with a more detailed idea about your new story

This is a great place to start! You’ve gotten your writing gears going. Now go write that novel 🙂

My Example

I’m not going to give my own example for the same title, because I don’t want to interrupt your creative juices. But, here’s one for another book called A Child Went Forth. I have not read this. I didn’t even read the blurb before I did my exercise.


  1. A young woman receives a quest to obtain a magical artifact
  2. Her journey is hard and she is forced to learn hard life lessons
  3. She fails at obtaining the artifact, but has gained valuable experience and insight


  1. A young woman with magical heritage
  2. A sidekick who helps her on her quest
  3. A mentor-type character who provides guidance along the way


  1. A system of magic
  2. A well-developed fantasy world
  3. Mythological or supernatural creatures


The main character is supposed to graduate from her magic school at the end of the semester, but the headmaster is very ill because of a curse. Because of her heritage, she is informed that she is the only one who can obtain the artifact that will save the headmaster. She is told she must leave the school and begin a quest. The professors will do their best to keep the headmaster alive until she returns. She may or may not be able to complete the school year. Although she is young and immature, she faces the quest with bravery. She starts out as a child, but becomes an adult during the quest.


This is VERY different from the actual book.

Here’s the real blurb for A Child Went Forth:

A CHILD WENT FORTH follows thirteen year old Charlie Griffin’s evolvement from boyhood to manhood in the summer of 1855 as he carries money from Brooklyn to Missouri to give it to the abolitionist leaders there. All the while he is being hunted by a ferocious crew of adversaries.

It is an entirely new look at the era, at slavery, racism, political and social corruptions and the cast of people in the novel are an illustrious roll call of characters from the real to the reimagined. From Walt Whitman to P.T. Barnum, to the Brooklyn evangelist and abolitionist Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe. The infamous and ghostlike undertaker and anti-slavery insurrectionist Erastus Eels. The millionaire gunfighter and freestater Butler Philips to his dashing and Oxford educated counterpart, the assassin Dixie Jack. And then there is Annie Pie, the heroine of the story, who at thirteen is brave beyond her years, and it is left to her to save Charlie Griffin, the boy she has come to love.


Please share your ideas in the comments!

For anyone interested in writing fiction, we have a writing resources page. You can also find posts about writing by clicking articles in the main menu under features.


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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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