Titles are either simple to come up with, or they’re difficult. There’s not a lot of in-between about them. I’ve already gone over one of the ways to come up with and generate titles, but those suggestions don’t always feel right at first. Titles can take time, and that’s where the working title comes into play.
A working title isn’t much more than what you call your story while it’s still a work in progress. Dependent on your publishing route, an editor may suggest a title change for marketing purposes, or just based on style. It’s also possible that you’ll go through several titles before finding the one that fits your story.
You don’t need to put much thought in a working title. In the case of very early drafts when you’re still feeling out the rest of the story, you can simply use the first thing that pops to mind–the wizard boy, or the hobbit’s ring or something else to help you denote which story is which. Alternately, you can use the working title as a note to help, a la I Write Sins Not Tragedies.
You might also find it helpful to use the working title as a way to test out your actual title. It can help to put WT at the end so you can avoid attaching to any titles that don’t work for that story.
What are some of your working titles?