Common Story Names (revisited)

Back in April 2015, I celebrated passing 50,000 submissions in the Clarkesworld Submissions System, by blogging about the most common story titles. In response, I also blogged about The Truth About Short Story Titles and a Wordle that represented the most frequently used words in all 50,000 titles.

Since then, we’ve picked up nearly 32,000 more submissions, so I decided to take another look at the data and see how things have changed. There were many ties in this group, so this time I’ve only listed the top six places. If a title is followed by a number in parentheses, that’s its top ten placement from the first 50,000.

1st Place (14)
The Hunt (6th)

2nd Place (12)
The Interview

3rd Place (9)
Trapped, First Contact

4th Place (7)
The Box (3rd), Seeds, Monsters (4th)

5th Place (6)
Flight (6th), The Awakening, Skin (9th), Stranded, The Visitor, Home (2nd), Mercy, Reflections (8th), All That Glitters, The Dragon, Choices, Hunger (2nd), Broken (8th), Contact, Worm, Homecoming (2nd), The Bridge, The Forest, Transmission, Going Home (10th)

6th Place (5)
Alone (7th), Happy Birthday, The Pond, Jump, The Wanderer, Redemption, Daddy’s Girl, The Sacrifice, Skin Deep (9th), Lost and Found (5th), Descent, The Door (10th), Snow, Harvest, The Gift (2nd), Stay, Second Chance, Adrift (7th), Legacy (7th), The Void, Shift, The Tower (10th), The Well, The Machine (10th), The Caretaker, Rage, Escape

And because it’s fun, here’s another Wordle with the most common words from this group of 30,000 titles:

 

It is mentioned in one of the above links, but it bears repeating: The title of a story has no impact on whether or not it will be accepted at Clarkesworld. If I really don’t like a title, I’ll suggest a new one/work on it with the author.

 

4 thoughts on “Common Story Names (revisited)

  1. Anony Mole says:

    Neil, how about you take a different tact on this theme… Instead of just frequency, use a factor of success and frequency.

    Rank all the titles, 1-30000 for *quality* or grade or whatever it was that signified the #1, #2 spots, etc. Then assign inverted values to each title (#1 gets 30000 points per word, #2 gets 29999 points per word…) THEN, total up the points per word and build a Wordle from that. Now that would be truly useful for understanding title frequency as applied to success.

    • Neil Clarke says:

      The places listed were entirely based on frequency of the complete title. It wasn’t an indicator of preference or perceived value. The wordle app only deals with word frequency, so there are limits to what we can do with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *