Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#49) -- Creating Titles

How do you come up with titles?

For me the titles most always have to be in place before I feel comfortable writing the story. I know that's backwards from a lot of writers who can put placeholder titles up and then get to work on the story itself. But for me, the title is part of the map that helps me get there. (There being the end of the tale, of course.)

Occasionally I have been able to work that way, but I think that (in my mind anyway) the stories suffer for it.

I spend a lot of time get the titles, working through quotations to find just the write sequence of words, or sometimes pulling it from bits of dialog that came to me during the character creation.

A few times even, the titles have come from song lyrics while I'm listening to the radio or CDs in the car.

Twice, and only twice, I've had titles sitting in reserve just waiting for the right story to come along.

The important thing, though, is that the title must do two things:

1. Compel a reader's interest to read the story.
2. Broaden the understanding of the story itself to the reader as he or she reads.