My creative writing students often find it difficult to compose effective titles. In an attempt to get them to think emotionally and find their story’s emotional center, I had them draw visual representations of their stories. Some students chose to draw literal objects, such as a pair of hands, while others chose to use abstract shapes and colors. After they finished their artwork, I had them give these representations to their fellow students and had their classmates compose prospective titles for the short stories based on the images alone.
The moral of the lesson: when it becomes difficult to step outside the text, think in terms of images, of color, of shape and texture. These images can often provide a new way of thinking about a story and allow you to find a title that otherwise you might not have been able to “see.”