Editor Neil Clarke is editing a number of magazines that accept short stories, including Clarkesworld Magazine, a Hugo Award-winning and World Fantasy Award nominated science fiction and fantasy magazine, and Forever Magazine.
He recently reported they had just crossed the 50,000 point in their submissions system sometime in April, and thought it might be fun to do a quick analysis of the most popular story titles submitted. Turns out that, although some 88% of the titles authors used were unique, others were rather popular.
Here is Neil’s list (the silly comments underneath are my first thoughts when I saw the titles, I’m afraid):
- At 1st Place – with 18 entries, was the following single-word title: Dust
Do I detect a Howey influence here?
- 2nd Place – with 16 entries: The Gift, Home, Hunger, Homecoming
The Hunger Games come home.
- 3rd Place – with 15 entries: The Box
Which reminds me of the need to think outside of it when picking a title.
- 4th Place – with 14 entries: Monsters
- 5th Place – with 13 entries: Lost and Found
Throw in a Paradise there and you get Milton’s work. Abridged.
- 6th Place – with 12 entries: Sacrifice, The Hunt, Flight
I’m thinking of an Elton John influence here.
- 7th Place – with 11 entries: Heartless, The End, Alone, Legacy, Adrift
Wasn’t there a song called Alone by – ironically – Heart?
- 8th Place – with 10 entries: Red, Reflections, The Visit, Broken
I think “The Visit” was the original title of my “I Come in Peace” short story – the very first thing I got published. Good thing I changed the title…
- 9th Place – with 9 entries:
The Other Side, Rebirth, Voices, Genesis, Awakening, The Collector, Disconnected, The Wall, The Prisoner, Deus Ex Machina, Hero, Skin Deep, Memories, Skin
- 10th Place – with 8 entries:
The Machine, The Tower, Coming Home, Rain, Going Home, The Dark, Inheritance, The Door, The Choice, Happiness, Perchance to Dream, Last Call, The Fall, Night Terrors
As someone pointed out on Clarke’s site, a great idea might be to combine these into single titles. Anyone willing to write The Dust Monsters’ Broken Gift Box of Reflections?
Hopefully, my children’s book’s highly original title, Runaway Smile, will entice you to read it online for free!