First Things Last

“I make a list of titles after I’ve finished the story or the book — sometimes as many as a hundred. Then I start eliminating them, sometimes all of them.” — Ernest Hemingway

“The title comes afterwards, usually with considerable difficulty. … A working title often changes.” — Heinrich Böll

“I have never been a title man. I don’t give a damn what it is called. I would call it [East of Eden] Valley to the Sea, which is a quotation from absolutely nothing but has two great words and a direction.” — John Steinbeck

“Titles as a rule do not matter much. Very good authors break down when it comes to the effort of choosing a title.” — D.H. Lawrence

“When I need a title I’ll usually reread the poetry of Hart Crane. I take a copy of Crane’s work with me when I travel. A phrase will catch my eye and seem right for what I’m writing. But there’s no system to it.” — Tennessee Williams

“I have a peculiar idea about titles. They should never be obviously provocative, nor say anything about murder. They should be rather indirect and neutral, but the form of words should be a little unusual. … As to publishers, I wonder if they know anything about titles.” — Raymond Chandler