Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: April 2015

The truth about short story titles

The title frenzy continues. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here are posts one and two about the most common titles and words in titles in the Clarkesworld slush pile.

I posted both sets of data because I found them interesting, nothing more. Some people (here and elsewhere) have opinions about the use of those titles and the people who use them. They do not speak for me.

Here are some facts:
  • I have never rejected a story because it had a common title
  • I don’t even pay attention to the title until I’ve decided to purchase a story
  • Changing a title is EASY, so if I don’t like it, I’ll discuss that with the author
  • There are plenty of good and bad stories with those titles, but the title is not what made them good or bad

Short Story Titles Meet Wordle

I’ve been a bit surprised by all the attention to my list of top ten most frequently used story names has received. I spent some time trying to find the most common words used in titles and then it occurred to me… drop all the story titles we’ve ever received into wordle:

wordle 3

Top Ten Most Common Short Story Names

I just noticed that we crossed the 50,000 point in our submissions system sometime in the last month. I thought it might be fun to do a quick analysis of the most popular story titles in that pile. Here’s the results:

1st Place – 18

2nd Place – 16
The Gift, Home, Hunger, Homecoming

3rd Place – 15
The Box

4th Place – 14

5th Place – 13
Lost and Found

6th Place – 12
Sacrifice, The Hunt, Flight

7th Place – 11
Heartless, The End, Alone, Legacy, Adrift

8th Place – 10
Red, Reflections, The Visit, Broken

9th Place – 9
The Other Side, Rebirth, Voices, Genesis, Awakening, The Collector, Disconnected, The Wall, The Prisoner, Deus Ex Machina, Hero, Skin Deep, Memories, Skin

10th Place – 8
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

More on story titles here and here.

Forever Magazine – April 2015

The April 2015 issue of Forever Magazine is now available!


Editorial by Neil Clarke
The Wedding Album by David Marusek (Novella)
A Few Words with David Marusek (Interview)
The Surface of Last Scattering by Ken MacLeod (Short Story)
Slipping by Lauren Beukes (Short Story)
Cover Art by Ron Guyatt

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