Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Killer Titles

*Two K posts today people! Two! Scroll down if you want to see my post on Killer Scars!*

A couple months back I read Save the Cat—it’s a screenwriter’s Bible, but it’s great for any writer. Author Blake Snyder talks about four things every logline should have. One of them is a Killer title. What exactly constitutes a killer title? Well, according to the fabulous Mr. Snyder: “A great title must have irony and tell the tale.”

In other words, you must have a title that's completely selling and telling.

Think about it—if you never saw a preview for a movie or read a book flap. You skip the TV Guide. You ignore the one line pitch. What grabs you? What makes you want to read THAT book? Or see THAT movie? With thousands of movies to see, a katrillion books to read—in today’s ADHD society, you need a killer title to make people stop and go hmmmm.

So, some killer titles?

Here are some of my fave movie and book titles—ones that “had me at hello.”

Legally Blonde
Bruce Almighty
Dead Man Walking
Back to the Future
True Lies
Die Hard


Paper Towns
Swim the Fly
Maximum Ride
The Lovely Bones
Living Dead Girl

Does every fab novel have a killer title? No, but in an age where a lot of talented people are auditioning their manuscripts for Agent Idol, having a killer title can be the hook that reels you in.

SO –what are some of YOUR favorite titles?


  1. I just read that book! LOVE it! I also just finished "Your Screenplay Sucks" by William Akers. Excellent!

    How about a list of NON-Killer Titles:
    What's Love Got to Do with It?
    Something's Gotta Give
    He's Just Not That Into You
    How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Life is Beautiful
    Love Story

  2. Ooo! I love Back to the Future and Maximum Ride! Very nice. Titles are curious things. They can pack a REAL punch! (or...not)

    Happy Wednesday!

  3. I originally saw the title of this blog post as "Killer Titties". I was instantly intrigued.

  4. Great post. Titles are so important. I really need to download Save the Cat.

  5. Amongst all that is written, something has to grab you and when you can't see a picture the title does the trick.

  6. Epic titles ... I'll add The Lord of the Rings, The Green Mile, The Wizard of Oz, and To Kill a Mocking Bird.

    Great K post (s), btw!


  7. So true. And can I add that I LOVED that book! It's awesome...even if it is for screenwriter's. Every novel writer should read it. Just sayin'.

  8. I am so happy to see so many writers embracing Save the Cat! and other screenwriting books. I think they are invaluable.

    I love my book titles but I would interested to see if they would be changed in production.

    As for a movie, titles that intrigued and delivered on their hook: Slumdog Millionaire, Final Cut and 10 Things I Hate About You.


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